Ahmed J Versi
Islamophobic attacks against Muslims in London increased by over 45% in March, more than any other type of crime, according to the crime figures released by the Metropolitan Police this month.
Total race and religious hate crimes increased by 9.7% [from 1,121 in March 2015 to 1,230 in March 2016]. Despite under reporting Islamophobic crimes increased by 45.3%, from 75 to 109, while anti-Semitic crimes went down by 31.7%, from 41 to 28 in the same period.
Last November, Islamophobic hate crimes increased by 171% in the wake of Paris terrorist attacks. In the 12 months to November 2015, the number of Islamophobic crimes recorded was 818, 63.9% higher than the 499 crimes recorded in the year to November 2014.
“The soaring Islamophobia, which has risen by 45% despite significant under reporting, can no longer be ignored. Politicians need to acknowledge this real concern, and the Government needs to devote the same amount of time and money to tackle the growth in Islamophobia as it does with other forms of hate crime and bigotry. As equal citizens in this country, we want fairness not favours,” Secretary General of The Muslim Council of Britain, Shuja Shafi told The Muslim News.
“The UK is a country that celebrates diversity, and where tolerance and respect underpin our values as a nation. In this light, it is hugely worrying to see how those who wish to sow division in our society, have to some extent succeeded,” he added.
A spokesperson of the Metropolitan Police said it was “committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms. We have long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and the hidden nature of this crime, which remains largely under reported.
“We believe an increase in recorded hate crime offences in London is due to a range of factors. This includes a 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.
“Specifically in terms of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic crimes, we recognise that world events can see a spike in reported hate crime. We work closely with community organisations to provide additional resources after such events to reassure local people and ensure we are able to act quickly and effectively when incidents take place.”
Commander Mak Chishty, MPS hate crime lead, said: “We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and arrest offenders.”
[Photo: Islamophobic attacks in London has increased dramatically. Photographer: Ahmed J Versi/The Muslim News. Copyright]