Hate crimes targeting British mosques more than double in a year

Hate crime incidents targeting mosques across UK have more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, according to police data.

Police recorded 110 hate crimes directed at Muslim places of worship between March and July this year, up from 47 over the same six month period in 2016.

Incidents have included offensive graffiti, bacon left on door handles, violent assaults on worshippers, bomb threats and arson, according to a Press Association investigation.

The report, based on data obtained under Freedom of Information requests from 42 police forces across the UK, shows that 25 of them saw an increase in hate crimes while 17 did not.

The biggest increase was seen by Greater Manchester Police which recorded nine incidents this year after recording zero last year.

There have been five terror attacks on the UK this year which have claimed dozens of lives and it is thought that the spike in anti-Muslim hate crime may be partly down to a racist, Islamophobic backlash.

MPACUK’s Imran Shah blamed the “culture of Islamophobia” for the attacks.

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He said: “This is nothing new, this is the general daily experience of the Muslim community. We need some real change in policy and culture and attitudes or we will see more headlines like this.

“We have a situation where Muslims are constantly blamed for issues that they are not responsible for. Yes, there is a problem with terrorism but it is such a small minority – less than 1 per cent – who are involved in that. But this is amplified in the media and that has a real impact on how people relate and respond to us, and how they are motivated to create violence from these headlines.”

Meanwhile, the National Police Chiefs Council lead for hate crime, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said: “We know that terrorist attacks and other national and global events have the potential to trigger short-term spikes in the recording of hate crime. Following the attacks in Manchester and London, both police forces registered spikes in hate crime.

“It is more important than ever that we stand together in the face of hostility. We may see spikes in intolerance and hate but we are also seeing communities around the country come together as we refuse to be divided by fear.”

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