Tories pledge to record anti-Muslim hate crimes if they win election

Islamophobia is deeply ingrained in our society

Every police force in England and Wales will be required to record anti-Muslim hate crimes and treat them as seriously as anti-Semitic attacks if the Tories win the next General Election, Theresa May has announced.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Home Secretary said that police will have to record Islamophobic attacks as a separate category, just as anti-Semitic crimes are recorded separately.

At present some forces, including London’s Met, do record Islamophobic crimes as such. Other forces categorise them as hate crimes or specific offences such as assault or grievous bodily harm.

Charities say there has been a steady rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes since 9/11. But after incidents such as the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in 2013 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, there are spikes in incidents in the UK, say experts.

Mrs May made her pledge in a speech on counter-extremism to the Foundation for Peace in London just before Parliament was dissolved On the same day, Mrs May answered a question from Labour MP Kate Green in Parliament, who asked what steps the Government was taking to record anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Mrs May said: “A Conservative government would require the police to be recording Muslim hate crime, anti-Muslim incidents, as well as anti-Semitic incidents.”

Home Secretary Theresa May was recently voted Islamophobe of the Year
Home Secretary Theresa May was recently voted Islamophobe of the Year

The Home Office does not publish national statistics for Islamophobic offences. But in 2013-14, police recorded 44,480 hate crimes, an increase of five per cent over the same period the previous year across England and Wales. The vast majority – 37,484 – were race-hate crimes.

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Tell Mama, a Government-backed group, said that more than half of all the victims (54 per cent) of Islamophobic incidents are women, perhaps because they appear more Islamic, wearing the burka or headscarf.

Tell Mama figures show that in the ten months after the Lee Rigby attack, a total of 734 incidents were reported to the organisation – an increase of 20 per cent on the same period the previous year.

The most serious incident is believed to be the frenzied knife attack on Saudi Arabian student Nahid Almanea, 31, in Colchester, Essex, in June last year. Detectives believe she was attacked because she was wearing Islamic clothes. So far no one has been arrested for the murder.

Last month Theresa May was voted the year’s worst Islamophobe at the IHRC’s Islamophobia awards.

May has been a driving force behind the introduction of yet more repressive legislation targeting the Muslim community.

This includes the new Counter Terrorism and Security Act which obligates professionals such as teachers and doctors to spy on Muslims and allows border officials to seize passports of people (read Muslims) suspected of travelling for “terrorist” purposes.

According to the IHRC, the continual targeting and scapegoating of Muslims using anti-terror laws and the government’s ever widening anti-radicalisation PREVENT programme has been responsible for creating a climate of hostility that encourages acts of discrimination, abuse and violence against them.ear

It has successfully “otherised” Muslims and created a popular perception of them as a security threat. Moreover, despite the explosion of such laws on the statue book in recent years the threat of terrorism in the UK has arguably increased rather than diminished in the same period.

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