Non-Muslim men experience Islamophobic hate crimes for “looking Muslim”

Sikh men are among the victims of Islamophobia because they "look Muslim".

New research has revealed how non-Muslim men living in the UK have been subjected to Islamophobic hate crimes because they “look Muslim”.

There has been a 29% rise in recorded hate crimes in the UK in the past year according to new figures released by the Home Office, which also showed a spike in offences following the EU referendum.

During a presentation at the House of Commons during Hate Crime Awareness Week, Dr Imran Awan and Dr Irene Zempi highlighted the experiences of non-Muslim men suffering Islamophobia because they “look Muslim” and elucidated their concerns that both official statistics and academic research fail to shine a light on this problem.

Dr Awan, Associate Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University, told The Independent: “Although it’s a case of mistaken identity, Islamophobic abuse should not be happening in the first place.”

He said the research showed how perpetrators of hate crimes target their victims “based on prejudice and stereotypes”.

The researchers interviewed 20 non-Muslim men aged between 19 and 59 from black, white and Asian backgrounds. They included those from the Sikh, Christian and Hindu faiths, as well as atheists. Their responses were made anonymous in order to prevent them from being identified.

Interviewees described how animal excrement had been pushed through their mailboxes and their shop windows smashed. Others said they were called “terrorists” or linked to ISIS because of their skin colour or their beards.

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