- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2016

A British man who sparked widespread backlash on social media this week for tweeting about confronting a Muslim woman on the street after the Brussels terror attacks has been charged with using social media to incite racial hatred.

Matthew Doyle, 47, was charged in London Friday after more than a day of questioning by police, The Associated Press reported.

He is charged with publishing or distributing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting and likely or intended to stir up racial hatred.

Mr. Doyle tweeted that he “confronted a Muslim woman yesterday in Croydon’” and “asked her to explain Brussels.”

“She said ‘Nothing to do with me,’” he wrote. “A mealy mouthed reply.”

He later used an anti-Muslim epithet to describe the woman, AP reported.

Mr. Doyle deleted both tweets but the images of the postings were captured and quickly went viral. “Croydon” also became a Twitter trending topic.

The Crown Prosecution Service said a person can be charged with inciting racial hatred if they say or do something which is “threatening, abusive or insulting and, by doing so, either intends to stir up racial hatred, or makes it likely that racial hatred will be stirred up.”

Mr. Doyle told The Telegraph Wednesday that his tweets were intended to be a joke. He said people who actually know him understand “that’s absolutely not who I am.”

“I’m not some far-right merchant, I’m not a mouthpiece for any kind of racism or radicalism,” he said. “If I was xenophobic I wouldn’t live in London.”

However, he said he does believe that Muslims aren’t doing enough to speak out against terrorism.

“The horror that happened in Brussels could happen here,” he said, “and you’re naive if you think London isn’t on some terror shortlist.”

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