According to newly released figures by the Scottish Government the number of Islamophobic hate crimes in Scotland has almost doubled in the space of a year.
The Government report Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland in 2014-15 shows that in June last year there was 134 hate crimes, which were determined to be derogatory to Islam. This is an 89 percent increase in comparison to 71 hate crimes in 2014/15.
The human rights campaigner and lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “The rise in attacks is extremely alarming but hardly surprising when sections of the media and politicians have deliberately smeared a whole community, giving the green light for such racist attacks to take place. Sadly they have created an atmosphere where Muslims are seen as fair game.”
The figures show a slight increase of hate crimes as a whole. The Scottish Government report on the figures was unable to attribute the rise to any single event or pattern and “appears to reflect a general rise in the reporting of these types of changes”.
While racially motivated hate crimes have fallen to 3,712 and is at its lowest level since 2003-4, religiously aggravated hate crimes have rise 3 percent to 581 instances.
Roman Catholicism is the most targeted religious group as it accounts for 51 percent of the recorded hate crimes. This is followed by Protestantism with 24 percent and Muslims with 23 percent.
The recently released figures also showed a 14 percent rise in disability motivated hate crimes and a 20 percent rise in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation.
Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson, said: “There is no place in Scotland for any crime motivated by prejudice, be it racial, religious, homophobic or any other form of intolerance.
“While I am concerned at an increase in the number of charges on last year, including the rise in alleged offences against Islam, it does indicate an improvement in the willingness of the public to report these crimes, and that should be welcomed.”
Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan, of Police Scotland, said: “Tackling hate crime is a priority for Police Scotland and we are committed to rooting out crimes motivated by prejudice.”