The majority of the British Muslim community say they have witnessed Islamophobia against followers of the Islamic faith in the country and claim that such sentiment is being driven by politicians and media, according to a new report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
The IHRC report says: “The hate environment created by negative political and media discourse, mutually constituted with laws that discriminate … work together to create a hate environment within which the negative experiences of hated societies are produced and as this research shows, in the UK context, have worsened over the five- year period.”
According to the study, six out of 10 Muslims in Britain surveyed said they had seen discriminatory behavior directed at someone else, up from four in 10 when the survey was first conducted in 2010. Only 18 percent of the interviewees said they had not witnessed Islampohobia against them or others.
The study is based on interviews with 1,780 people and repeats questions asked in 2010. The study shows that the experience of physical assault has increased from 13.9 percent in 2010 to 17.8 percent in 2014, with the intensity of attacks becoming extraordinarily violent.
Meanwhile, some 63 percent said they had experienced “being talked down to or treated as if you were stupid; having your opinions minimized or devalued,” up from 38 percent in 2010.
The report says that in the same period, the number of people stating they had witnessed negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims in media jumped from just 10 percent to almost 40 percent, which according to the IHRC is “further proof that the media play a key role in perpetuating an environment of hate.”
Those interviewed also highlighted how politicians in the country have been increasingly using anti-Islam rhetoric. Two-thirds of Muslims in the report say they had heard anti-Islamic comments by politicians, and half thought politicians forgive Islamophobic acts.
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Moreover, 90 percent thought thought anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination was driven by the way Muslims are portrayed in media coverage.
Even when going about daily activities, Muslims are ignored or denied services by public and private entities in the country. More than 50 percent say they have been “overlooked, ignored or denied service in a shop, restaurant or public office or transport.”
The findings come as the British government is planning a crackdown on what it calls extreme views, which are currently lawful. The new crackdown is controversial, according to The Guardian newspaper, as some British Muslims and even police chiefs warn will create further alienation.