Violence, assaults, arson and other hate crimes targeting mosques and Muslims more than doubled across the UK this year, a media report said today, quoting latest official figures.
Police forces recorded 110 hate crimes directed at Muslim places of worship between March and July, up from 47 over the same six month period in 2016, the Independent reported.
It said the crimes include racist abuse, threats to bomb mosques, attacks on mosques and worshippers, damage to vehicles outside mosques, graffiti daubed on buildings, arson attacks and physical assaults on Muslims arriving and leaving mosques.
Describing the figures as “deeply troubling”, Britain’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said attacks on any religious group or minority are abominable.
“We have seen a rise in anti-Muslim extremism and far-right activity online, with a very slow, dinosaur approach from social media companies to take off hate, and an utter denial for three or four years that this was their responsibility,” said Fiyaz Mughal, Director of Faith Matters which works to increase community cohesion.
“They are now taking steps, but they are baby steps.”
The latest data was obtained through Freedom of Information requests made to 45 UK police forces. The figures, based on 42 responses, showed that 25 forces saw an increase in hate crimes directed at mosques, the paper said.
The biggest increase was reported by Greater Manchester Police and the second largest increase was in London.
Threats, harassment and other intimidating behaviour outside mosques more than tripled across the country, from 14 crimes in 2016 to 49 in 2017, the paper said.
Violent crime against Muslims attending mosques more than doubled from five recorded crimes in 2016 to 11 crimes in 2017. Crimes recorded as vandalism or criminal damage increased from 12 in 2016 to 15 in 2017, it added.
A record number of anti-Semitic crimes were also reported in the UK in the first six months of this year, with 767 incidents recorded, according to the Community Security Trust.
A Home Office spokesman said: “All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable and the UK has some of the strongest laws in the world to tackle it.”
The government announced an additional one million pound would be made available to provide private protection outside places of worship.