Hate crime: 39% of attacks in England and Wales target Muslims

There were nearly 3,500 hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims in England and Wales last year, accounting for 39% of all hate crimes.

The Home Office recorded 3,452 attacks against Muslims in the year ending March 2023.

Since police started compiling hate crime statistics in 2011, Muslims have remained the most targeted group.

And as hate crimes are significantly underreported, it is likely that the number of religiously-motivated hate crimes targeting Muslims is in reality much higher.

The next most targeted group last year was Jews with 1,510 hate crimes perpetrated against them, while Christians were targeted 649 times.

There were also 308 attacks against Sikhs, 291 attacks against Hindus, and 19 attacks against Buddhists.

Hate crime is defined as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.”

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Overall, religious hate crimes increased by 9% between the year ending March 2022 and the year ending March 2023 (from 8,602 to 9,387). This was the highest number of religious hate crimes since recording began in the year ending March 2012.

Responding to the statistics, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) expressed profound alarm.

MCB Secretary-General Zara Mohammed said: “Though alarming, the figures are unsurprising. In recent days, we have borne witness to highly divisive rhetoric dominating political discourse which has a devastating impact on the lives and lived experience of British Muslims.

“It has been troubling to see the Conservative London Mayoral candidate deploying dog whistle Islamophobia in her campaign against London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Home Secretary’s endorsement of a known Islamophobe at the dispatch box.

“The normalisation of Islamophobia across sectors of society only serves to foment and exacerbate anti-Muslim sentiment. It is therefore not surprising which such a backdrop, the rise in hate crimes against Muslims.

“The MCB urges our government to show leadership by tackling Islamophobia head on starting with decisive rhetoric by some in the party.”

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