Politicians and the media are responsible for an increase in the number of hate crimes against Muslims in London, a report revealed on Thursday.
The report Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: a London Case Study authored by Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Dr Robert Lambert, of the University of Exeter, showed that hate crimes such as death threats, murder, assaults and racial abuse "are in part the result of media portrayals of Muslims as terrorists and security threats."
It also highlighted the negative impact of the BNP in stirring up race hatred, especially in areas such as Barking where fascist leader Nick Griffin is to stand for election.
The authors stated: "The BNP leadership legitimates anti-Muslim hate crimes in eyes of perpetrators."
They pointed to statistics showing a marked increase in hate crimes in Barking after the election of the BNP there.
It also examined the cases of convicted extremists such as Niel Lewington who was convicted of a bomb plot in 2009 and Terence Gavan jailed earlier this month for a string of explosives and weapons offences.
Both men had connections to the BNP and other right-wing organisations.
The authors call for anti-Muslim hate crimes to be taken more seriously by government, media and the police.
The report illustrated how perpetrators of hate crimes against Muslims were invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims acquired from mainstream or extremist nationalist media reports or commentaries.
These spread stereotypes and fears that stigmatise, alienate and isolate Muslims as threats to safety, security and social cohesion.
Dr Githens-Mazer said: "Anti-Muslim hate crimes in London have caused death and serious injuries and have generally inflicted suffering, fear and distress just like racist hate crimes aimed at other minorities in the capital.
"However, the motivation for anti-Muslim hate crimes is not as well understood by government, media or the police as racist hate crimes."
He added: "Additional problems arise because a significant number of Muslim Londoners don't report crimes to the police and that makes it difficult to assess or quantify the scale of the problem."
The evidence for the report arised from original in-depth interviews with victims of anti-Muslim hate crime and, in some cases, perpetrators of racist crimes.
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