Faith hate hotline launched as attacks on Muslims increase

Police reports seen by The Independent on Sunday show the number of attacks in the capital rose to more than 20 a day after the first bombings on 7 July. The police have recorded 230 religious hatred offences in the past three weeks.

After the first blasts and the attempted bombings two weeks later, racist attacks more than doubled to a peak of nearly 60 a day. The police have logged more than 800 racist crimes since the first bombings, reversing a long downward trend.

Somali Muslim women, who tend to wear long robes and hijab head-coverings, have been singled out after it emerged several of the suspected bombers arrested last week are of East African origin. One woman had her hijab torn off.

The new hotline will be set up tomorrow by the Met's Assistant Commissioner Tariq Ghaffur. Mr Ghaffur, the most senior Asian and Muslim policeman, said there had been a "very substantial increase" in faith crimes in London.

There had also been an increase in the severity of attacks. "What used to be abuse has now escalated into assault. What was minor damage could escalate into a lot more serious damage. I think that is trend across the country," he said.

Mr Ghaffur will ask people to report incidents to the hotline because he fears some ethnic and religious minorities could "retreat" and not report incidents to the police. "Quite clearly, we fear there will be an escalation," he said.

To the concern of Muslim community groups, no other major English force has compiled detailed figures - despite a surge in serious, violent attacks around the country, culminating in the alleged racist murder of Pakistani Kamal Raza Butt in Nottingham four days after the 7 July bombings. Welsh forces said last week that racist attacks had increased by up to three times since the bombings. In North Wales, 64 incidents were reported, compared with 20 for the same period last year.

Azad Ali, chairman of the Muslim Safety Forum, appealed for the new hotline to be extended nationwide. "The Muslim community has unanimously shown that, like everybody else, it's committed to catching these criminals who carried out the bombings. But the community has seen institutional denial from the police about the increase in Islamophobic hate crime."

Mr Ghaffur also warned, however, that Muslims should expect to be singled out for stop and search operations by the police. "There will be a focus on the community as it is a reality and therefore there will be more stop and searches," he said.

Meanwhile, Home Office ministers are to engage Muslims in the fight against al-Qa'ida. Hazel Blears, the minister for Policing, and Paul Goggins, a junior Home Office minister, will meet Muslim leaders in eight UK cities. On 20 September, Muslim leaders will attend a summit to be chaired by Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory