Hate crimes against British Muslims rise after terrorist attacks around the world blamed on Islamist extremists, according to a new study.
Academics at Teesside University found that children as young as 10 took part in hate crimes, The Guardian reported.
They found there were 548 incidents in 2014-15, down from 734 in 2013-14 when there were a large number following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
Last year’s figures showed marked increases after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Copenhagen and, to a lesser degree, Sydney.
One author of the study, Dr Mark Littler, said: “Findings… suggest that where the media stress the Muslim background of attackers, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent response is likely to be greater than in cases where the motivation of the attackers are downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.
“The latter appears to be the case with the Sydney perpetrator, who was swiftly and repeatedly identified as mentally ill.”
The attacks were mostly online threats but also included 21 assaults and 15 cases of damage to property.
Professor Matthew Feldman said the study showed that the terrorist attacks were fuelling a cycle of violence.
“The analysis offers broad support for the theory of cumulative extremism, with the ratcheting up of violent activity between opposing groups, with an act of violence triggering a response that itself sparks further attacks,” he said.
Lord Ahmad, the government Minister who leads on counter-extremism, said: “The government is determined to defeat extremism in all its forms by continuing to work in partnership with communities to challenge the spread of hatred and intolerance.
“We deplore religious and racially motivated attacks and are committed to tackling hate crime. As part of this work we have committed to reviewing the legislation governing hate crime and will introduce a comprehensive package of measures to address those who stir up hatred against others.
“The police have recorded hate crime since 2011, and we are exploring how this data can be broken down further.”Reuse content