Hate crimes against Muslims in Britain have spiked in the last three years, police documents reveal.
Figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests show that racially or religiously aggravated harassment crimes surged from 15,249 to 17,605 between 2012 and 2014. More than 47,000 hate crimes were recorded over the same time period.
One example occurred in August 2014, when a 42-year-old man hung swastikas and Ku Klux Klan symbols over the site where a mosque was going to be built, writing the words “Burn in hell” over flags. Other incidents involved football fans tearing pages from the Koran to make confetti.
“With racist bullying in schools attributed to Islamophobia on the rise according to ChildLine, job discrimination against Muslims commonplace and regular attacks against Muslims ... there is a serious concern that needs to be both acknowledged and tackled,” said Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
A spokesperson for the Church of England also condemned the attacks, saying, “Any rise in racially and religiously aggravated offences is a matter of deep concern and regret.”
Although the statistics already appear worryingly high, it is believed that the actual number of incidents could be much higher as victims often fail to come forward. Warwickshire Police described these types of crimes as unreported.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done and we will be launching a major new campaign in the next few months aimed at further increasing reporting of hate crime,” a spokesperson said.Far-right anti-immigration party UKIP secured one seat in this month’s election, but nearly 3.9 million votes, demonstrating a growth in xenophobic and far-right sentiment in Britain.