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Charges Against A Man Who Said He Asked A Muslim Woman To Explain Brussels Have Been Dropped

Matthew Doyle told BuzzFeed News his tweet was "hardly riot-inducing".

Originally posted on
Updated on

On Wednesday night, 46-year-old Matthew Doyle was arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred on Twitter.

Suspect arrested for inciting racial hatred on twitter #ZDERTD #WeStandTogether #Croydon #Community @CroydonAd

"A 46-year-old man was arrested at his home address in Croydon tonight, 23 March, on suspicion of inciting racial hatred on social media, " a spokesperson said. "He is

being taken into custody at a south London police station."

In an updated statement, they added: "At around midday on Thursday, 24 March, the man expressed concerns for his health. He was taken to a south London hospital as a precaution."

On Friday, Doyle was charged with an offence under Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, but following discussions between the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, the charges were subsequently dropped.

Matthew Doyle's tweet prompted a strong reaction yesterday from people angry with him for approaching the woman and expecting her to have an answer simply because of her faith.

Not a mealy mouthed reply, a sane reply. It literally has nothing to do with her. https://t.co/dnoxgu8671

Others believe the exchange didn't happen at all.

Most of my timeline seem to have fallen for a self-evident parody tweet about Croydon.

However, Doyle told BuzzFeed News he stuck by his account.

Thank you for your thoughts. The incident did happen yesterday - If I was anyway threatening - I would be reported. Confront is a bad word.

He said he'd gone to get a pint of milk when he came across a white Muslim woman who was walking in Croydon, south London, with her child. He said he was moved to approach her because he had watched the "unfolding tragedy and the death toll going up".

Doyle, who describes himself as feminist on his Twitter profile, described the exchange as friendly and said the pair would "say hello" if they ever saw each other again.

"She was really nice, a lovely woman, as English as you and I," he said. "She told me she'd heard about the attacks and that it had nothing to do with her."

Doyle insisted he didn't "confront" her as he originally tweeted, but simply said "excuse me" before asking her view of the attack in Brussels.

He added: "I'm not exactly a right-wing skinhead, I [was] a Labour party member."

When asked about the anger being shared on social media, Doyle expressed his fears over terrorism.

"All I'd say as a patriot is we all have to be alert, [to quote author Tom Clancy] this is a clear and present danger to everyone," he added.

Doyle said he left the Labour party shortly after Ken Livingstone's remarks on Question Time last year that he felt appeared to be supportive of the 7/7 bombers: "I was personally amazed."

Doyle said he found it funny that his tweet has become a meme in which people mock him for calling the woman's answer "a mealy mouthed reply".

I confronted an English man about the colonisation of Nigeria and the post-colonial unrest. He said "dunno mate." A mealy mouthed reply.

Confronted Shaggy yesterday about Brussels. He said "it wasn't me". A mealy mouthed reply.

"I didn't do this for PR," he said.

.@MatthewDoyle31 I'd confront the bloke who sold you them sunglasses first

Confronted He-Man at Grayskull. Asked him to explain this prick. "Nothing to do with me". A mealy mouthed reply.

I confronted myself in the mirror yesterday, explain the empty packet of donuts. 'Nothing to do with me' I said. A mealy-mouthed reply

Confronted this man about the porn on his cable TV bill. "Nothing to do with me", he said. A mealy mouthed reply

He said the fact he'd tweeted about the incident had "overamplified" the way it played out.

I confronted a man who went to LSE about racism and misogyny in UK higher education institutions. He said Not All Men. A mealy mouthed reply

Confronted a policeman today asked him to explain why Jack The Ripper was never caught.He said "Nothing to do with me" A mealy mouthed reply

"It's hardly riot-inducing," he said.

Confronted a self-service machine in Tesco, Asked it to explain Brussels. It said "Please place items in bagging area". Mealy mouthed reply

I confronted an Irish woman. I asked her to explain "Mrs Brown's Boys: Da movie". She said "nothing to do with me". A mealy mouthed reply.

"This wasn't about colour – people on Twitter are jumping to conclusions," he said.

I confronted a German woman yesterday in town. I asked her to explain Hitler. She said "Nothing to do with me". A mealy mouthed reply

I confronted a Scottish man at breakfast today & asked him to explain porridge. "Nothing tae do wi' me" he said. An oatmeal-mouthed reply.

Doyle later deleted the tweet, started retweeting replies, and appeared unrepentant.

Who cares if I insulted some towelhead ?? Really.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Victoria Sanusi at victoria.sanusi@buzzfeed.com.

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