Over 2,000 hate crimes reported near mosques

29th Apr 2016

Nadine Osman

Police investigated more than 200 reports of hate crime near mosques in one year – with one Midlands community leader claiming an increase in the incidents over the past six years.

More than 2,000 incidents have been reported over the last 15 years with the numbers hitting a record high in 2015.Statistics released on March 27 revealed police were called out to mosques and surrounding areas 235 times last year alone.

There were 197 call-outs in 2014, which accounted for the second largest number of crimes during the last 15 years, revealing an upward trend in such attacks.

The numbers, which hit a record low of 130 in 2002, had remained around the 140 to 170 region over 10 years.The spike in 2015 meant the numbers had risen by more than 100 incidents within 13 years, with the figures also showing a continued steady rise since 2012.

Dudley Muslim Association spokesman, Amjid Raza, said: “We have noticed a rise in such crimes during the last five or six years.“It is having an impact on the Muslim community, especially when there are major terrorist attacks across the world.

“Muslim women wearing hijabs are particularly targeted and when something like the incident in Brussels happens we actively encourage the community to walk round in pairs.“But we work very closely with the police and more people are willing to actually report such hate crimes these days because they have grown in confidence. There are multiple factors for a rise in such crimes but we think more people are willing to come forward and see action taken.”

An attack on the Bait-ul-Ata Mosque in Willenhall Road, Wolverhampton, was one such ‘hate crime’, which happened in August last year. A man reached over the gates at the front of the mosque to hurl a missile before returning a few minutes later with handfuls of other items.

Security was increased at the mosque in the wake of the attack, which now has round-the-clock surveillance with someone sleeping in the building each night to deter further vandalism.West Midlands Police said the figures, which totaled 2,390 since 2001, related to searches for incidents where the word ‘mosque’ had appeared in the location details, which meant the crimes may have occurred near a mosque rather than within or at the places of worship.

Police Commissioner David Jamieson said: “The number of hate crimes in the West Midlands is monitored closely. West Midlands police take reported incidents of hate crime very seriously and work closely with Mosques and other organisations to ensure that hate crimes are reported and investigated.”

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