Hate crimes against mosques ‘more than doubled’ in past year
Categories: Latest News
Monday October 09 2017
An investigation launched by the Press Association reveals a dramatic increase in hate crimes against Muslims, The Independent reports.
Figures show that between March and July this year, police forces have recorded 110 attacks against Muslim places of worship, up from 47 over the same six month period in 2016. Smashed windows, offensive graffiti, as well as physical attacks against worshippers, are among the most common hate crimes recorded across the country.
Commenting on the figures, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: “Attacks on any religious group or minority are abominable… These anti-Muslim attacks will be condemned by all decent people.”
Manchester and London, where deadly terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS have occurred earlier this year, are the two cities with the biggest increase in hate crimes directed at mosques. Nine crimes (up from zero) were reported by Greater Manchester Police, and 17 crimes (up from eight) were reported by London Metropolitan Police.
The trend is worryingly familiar. Greater Manchester Police recorded 224 anti-Muslim hate crimes in the month after the Arena attack in May, compared with 37 in the same period in 2016. London Metropolitan Police reported that following the London Bridge attack in June, hate crimes increased by 40% compared with the daily average this year.
While the 2016/17 Home Office Hate Crime Report is not yet available, figures from the previous year showed that of the 62,518 offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, 53,819 (86.1%) were racial and religious hate crimes.
Despite the troubling and steady increase in Islamophobic crimes, much of the legislation that covers religious hatred remains arguably inadequate. The law regulating incitement to religious hatred (Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and the Public Order Act 1986) only covers threatening words or behaviour (not insults or abuse) and only covers such words or behaviour that is intended to stir up religious hatred (thus omitting words or behaviour that are likely to stir hatred).
Ms Abbot called on the Home Office to publish data on hate crimes, saying: “Politicians have a particular responsibility in the language they use, the policies they advocate and the climate they create.
“There should be a unanimous message that violence against any section of our society is unacceptable.”
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced a new fund of £375,000 to encourage the reporting of hate crime in January this year, in addition to the £1 million of support directed at young people as part of the Hate Crime Action Plan announced last summer.
The Government announced that an additional £1 million would be made available to provide private protection outside places of worship.
To combat Islamophobia in your local community, consider hiring MEND’s Islamophobia exhibition.
MEND has an Islamophobia Response Unit where you can get advice and help. For more information click here.