THERE has been an “explosion” in Islamaphobic crime with a 200 per cent rise in incidents in 2015, a new report has found.
The investigation carried out by Tell MAMA, which monitors attacks, stated the “statistics paint a profoundly bleak picture of anti-Muslim hate online and on our streets with visible Muslim women being disproportionately targeted by cowardly hatemongers”.
In total, there were 1,128 reports from January 1 to December 31 2015, of which 800 were verified.
Of these, Muslim women usually wearing Islamic clothing, such as a hijab or niqab, were disproportionately targeted predominantly by white men.
Attacks rose significantly in public areas by 326 per cent from the previous year, with females targeted by mostly teenagers.
The transport network and in businesses such as shops where the victim was a customer were the areas where most outbursts were likely to take place, according to the report.
Shahid Malik, chair of Tell MAMA, explained: “This exponential growth is testament to the fact that despite great efforts to fight anti-Muslim hatred, as a society we are still falling behind in supporting many of our citizens.
“With the backdrop of the Brexit vote and the spike in racist incidents that seems to be emerging, the government should be under no illusions: things could quickly become extremely unpleasant for Britain’s minorities.”
Over one in ten reported incidents took place in educational establishments, and online abuse was another avenue used by perpetrators who target individuals on social network sites Facebook and Twitter.
This accounted for 10 outbursts where abusive language or harassment was involved often by farright extremist groups and sympathisers who actively promote the hatred of Muslims on social media.
The study was due to be launched in parliament by recently murdered MP Jo Cox due to the high rates of abuse in West Yorkshire. It has now been dedicated in her memory.
There has also been a change in the demographic of perpetrators, with a shift towards youngsters aged between 13 and 18, the document entitled The geography of anti-Muslim hatred identified.
It stated findings “suggest that some teenagers are being radicalised and are moving away from the mainstream views of their age group, who are much more multicultural in their orientation”.
The organisation, which set up by Fiyaz Mughal in 2012, collated data from over 15 police forces and reports from victims and members of the public.
Mughal said the investigation was of particular significance to him because he was displaced from Africa due to political turmoil, and suffered “repeated racism and hatred” in the 1980s.
“We simply cannot have such hatred fester in our communities and in our societies. With a 326 per cent increase in anti-Muslim hatred reported to us in 2015, we have to deal with this issue.
“Now is the right time to redouble our efforts to tackle such hate from all extremist groups,” Mughal added.