New statistics have revealed that there were 3,530 hate crimes against Muslims in England and Wales in the last year, which represents nearly half of all hate crimes against religious groups.
In total, there were 103,379 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2018/19, an increase of ten per cent compared with 2017/18.
The majority of hate crimes were race hate crimes, accounting for around three-quarters of offences (78,991 offences). These increased by 11 per cent between 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Religious hate crimes increased by three per cent (to 8,566 offences); sexual orientation hate crimes increased 25 per cent (to 14,491); disability hate crimes by 14 per cent (to 8,256); and transgender identity hate crimes by 37 per cent (to 2,333).
Just under half (47%) of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims, a similar proportion to last year. A further 18% religious hate crime offences were targeted against Jewish people (1,326 offences).
Around twelve per cent of hate crime offences in 2018/19 were estimated to have involved more than one motivating factor, the majority of these were hate crimes related to both race and religion.
Over half (54%) of the hate crimes recorded by the police were for public order offences and a further third (36%) were for violence against the person offences. Five per cent were recorded as criminal damage and arson offences.
Tip of the iceberg?
The statistics were released on the same day that one of the largest academic studies into hate crime, commissioned by the charity Citizens UK, found that levels of hate crime across the UK are far higher than official figures suggest.
Preliminary findings of a nationwide study conducted by Dr Farhan Samanani, of The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, found that 7 in 10 of the participants never reported to the police.
The study found that many people are unknowing victims of hate. Only 3 in 10 of participants in the study reported experiencing a hate crime, whilst double that number had in fact had experiences of criminal behaviour where they felt targeted based on their identity – which would qualify as a hate crime under the law.
The survey also revealed that the failure to prevent hate crime and to support victims happened at multiple levels and is having a dangerous knock on effect on trust in public institutions (like the police, public transport providers and local authorities) and the justice system.
Taj Khan, of Newcastle Central Mosque, said: “Hate crime against Muslim women in public places has surged over the last few years, particularly hijabi women who are easily identifiable as Muslim. I personally feel like the current system is failing me and many like myself. There must be a change to national hate crime legislation to ensure it protects all groups better and people feel confident that reports will be taken seriously.”
Matthew Bolton, Executive Director of Citizens UK, added: “Communities from across the UK are increasingly concerned that we aren’t going fast enough or far enough to strengthen hate crime protections.
“Political, media and institutional decision makers need an action plan to stop the toxic mix of scare stories on social media and a divisive political environment, which is providing a breeding ground for hate. We stand ready to work with political leaders and public institutions to find positive solutions to help communities feel safer.”