According to the figures published earlier this month by the Scotland Yard, Islamophobic crimes in London have rose by 70%, in the last 12 months,(July 2014 to July 2015). 816 Islamophobic crimes were registered in 2014/15, compare to only 478 crimes compared to the previous years.
The borough with the highest number of incidents in was Westminster, which had 54 Islamophobic crimes. In Merton, south west London, it increased from eight incidents to 29, rising by 262%. While in Richmond-upon-Thames’ it increased from one to nine.
The latest and most serious Islamophobic attack resulted in the death of an 81-year-old grandfather in Rotherham.
Mushin Ahmed died in hospital on August 21, 11 days after he was attacked on his way to morning in the early hours of August 10
The pensioner, described as “gentle and non-confrontational” was found slumped on the ground with serious head injuries just yards from his home.
Two men from the town have already been charged with assault with intent and were remanded in custody by magistrates.
The Muslim News asked Westminster City Council why Westminster has the highest number of Islamophobic attacks. The spokesperson failed to answer the question. Instead in a statement to The Muslim News the Council said it “takes hate crime very seriously” and are “committed to working closely with the police to reduce the number of incidents.
“Earlier this year we launched a new cross-party commission focussed on community cohesion. We want to empower our communities and encourage responsible debates among different groups.”
Speaking to The Muslim News, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain Dr Shuja Shafi, said the rise in Islamophobic hate crimes “should be a concern for us all. The fact that Muslim women bear the brunt of attacks is especially worrying. In London we take pride in the city’s diversity and tolerance. But these figures tell us that there is much more to do.”
Labour London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi, said that the increase is “a shameful blight on London’s reputation as a welcoming, inclusive and tolerant city. The situation is made even worse by the fact that 60% of attacks are reported to be against women, at times in front of their children.”
“If, as the Met say, local policing is the answer, its time the Mayor of London recognises the importance of local neighbourhood policing and invests to ensure it is able to work effectively.”
However, Scotland Yard has attributed the increase in recorded Islamophobic offences to the “growing willingness of victims to report hate crime, an improved awareness of MPS staff in identifying these offences; and work with partners to support victims.”
A spokesman for Scotland Yard added that, “World events can also influence a rise in hate crime incidents, as can High Holy days, due to increased numbers of visibly Muslim and Jewish people travelling to and from their place of worship.”