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Muslim trolled for 'not being killed' in Barcelona attack

Aamer Anwar says he received several hundred messages of hate from online trolls [AFP]

Date of publication: 21 August, 2017

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A British-Muslim lawyer has found himself on the end of a campaign of abuse on social media after coming within a whisker of a deadly IS attack in Barcelona.

A Scottish-Muslim lawyer has spoken about the "horrific abuse" he has received on social media after reporting that he was near the site of a recent Islamic State group attack in Barcelona, which left 15 people dead.

The online trolls who targeted Anwar - who is also rector of Glasgow University - accused him of being part of the IS plot, among other racist messages.

"[There was] all sorts of vitriolic abuse about me being a Muslim, being part of the plot, the planner," Anwar told the BBC.

A video posted on Twitter by the father-of-three showed some of the messages from trolls who said they wish he had died in the attack.

"Karma is following you," wrote one Twitter user, implying that Anwar was involved in the attack.

"Shame he didn't get hit by the van," wrote another.

Anwar explained that the had been targeted online by British far-right hate figure Tommy Robinson, who "claimed I was an ISIS [Islamic State group] lawyer".

Robinson's tweet attracted several hundred responses, many wishing death to Anwar.

"I am a Muslim and I have said for many years that my community has no immunity from the bombs, from the bullets, from people who drive vans into crowds. I was caught up in it and for some reason they just don't want to accept that," Anwar said.

He said that despite the abuse he believes that people should "stand together" in the face of all forms of extremism.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the abuse as "sickening," saying on social media that Anwar's "dignity stands in contrast to their hatred".

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