Islamophic attacks to be recorded separately, says Cameron
HATE crimes motivated by religion have almost doubled in the last year, a Home Office report revealed yesterday.
A total of 3,254 faith-related incidents were recorded in the 12 months from April last year, compared to 2,269 reported in the same period of 2013-14.
This shows a rise in offences of 43 per cent, according to Office for National Statistics figures.
From now on, Islamophobia will be recorded separately from other hate crimes, in the same way that such incidents against Jewish people have been for some time, said Prime Minister David Cameron.
Because some victims do not report crimes and incidents can involve more than one factor — including race, sexual orientation, disability and gender — the overall number could be far higher.
Race, which is interchangeable with religion in the circumstances of many hate crimes, is the most common “motivating factor” for intimidating or violent thugs, with a whopping 42,930 cases reported to the police in the year ending in April.
Muslim women are more likely to be intimidated or attacked than men, according to interfaith organisation Faith Matters — which runs helpline Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).
Some women even resort to removing headscarves and men to shaving beards in order to hide their faith during times of high religious tension.
Hijab-wearing British Muslim convert Sarah told the organisation that she got “nasty looks, threats and abuse every day” and that Islamophobia is worryingly considered “normal.”
The Home Office denies that there is a “clear spike” in the number of Islamophobic offences committed following terrorist attacks such as the January shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris.
Improved recording of offences by police could be a “possible factor” in the increase, the Home Office report also claims.
But its graphs show obvious rises in religiously motivated attacks within a month after events such as the 2013 murder of soldier Lee Rigby and last year’s publication of a report on child sex exploitation among Asian gangs in Rotherham.
The Muslim Council of Britain said it “wholeheartedly welcomes” the government’s decision, after “many years,” to categorise Islamophobic attacks in the same way as anti-semitic ones
Dr Shuja Shafi, the council’s secretary-general, added: “We hope this is only the first step in treating Islamophobia seriously and ensuring all faiths are treated equally under the law.”