LONDON: The number of Islamophobic hate crimes in London has soared by almost 40 per cent in the past year. There were 1,678 anti-Muslim hate crimes reported in the capital in the year up to January 2018 – up from 1,205 the year before.
Scotland Yard has warned that the figures, from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, do not show the full scale of “hugely under-reported” hate crimes in the capital. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned perpetrators they face arrest and prosecution under a “zero-tolerance” approach.
“London is a place where we celebrate, cherish and embrace diversity. I’m calling on all Londoners to pull together, and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.” In the days after eight people were killed in the London Bridge terror attack last June, Sadiq Khan highlighted figures showing a 40 per cent increase on the daily average number of reported Islamophobic attacks in the capital.
In 2016, Britain’s vote to leave the EU was blamed for a spike in hate crimes after a debate which focused heavily on immigration. Hate crimes include physical attacks, damage to property, bullying and abuse, according to police. Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer, Scotland Yard’s head of community engagement said: “The Met has seen a steady increase in the reporting of all hate crime, particularly racist and religious hate crime.”Despite this rise, hate crime is hugely underreported and no one should suffer in silence.”London is such a diverse and tolerant city, but too many still feel marginalised, or worse intimidated to go about their daily lives due to their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender or disability.”
Muslim leaders and police said the rise is linked to the terror attacks London Bridge and Manchester Arena last year. Iman Atta, director of campaign group Tell Mama which aims to combat Islamophobia, said the increase in attacks had “created a heightened sense of tension in Muslim communities”. Blaming terrorist atrocities in the past year for the rise, he added: “These attacks had ripple effects, triggering Islamophobic attacks and the large increment rise you have seen.”
Meanwhile, in a recent research, it was revealed that hate crimes targeting mosques across the UK more than doubled between 2016 and 2017. Muslim places of worship between March and July this year, up from 47 over the same six month period in 2016. Racist abuse, acts of vandalism at mosques and bomb threats feature heavily among the reported hate crimes. Smashed windows at mosques, damage to cars parked outside and graffiti were all recorded along with physical assaults on Muslims on their way in or out of the buildings, two cases of arson and two complaints of bacon being left on mosque doors.