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Sharp rise in anti-Muslim hatred in UK ‘with women bearing brunt’

The sharp rise in Islamaphobic attacks comes amid a spike in antisemitism following the 7 October attacks

Archie Mitchell
Thursday 22 February 2024 16:58 GMT
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The number of Islamophobic incidents reported to an organisation monitoring anti-Muslim sentiment and abuse in the UK more than tripled in the four months since the Hamas attacks in Israel last year.

Tell Mama, which describes itself as the leading agency on measuring anti-Muslim hate, said there were 2,010 cases of this kind between 7 October 2023 and 7 February this year.

This was a steep rise from the 600 cases reported for the same four-month period a year previously.

We are deeply concerned about the impacts that the Israel and Gaza war are having on hate crimes and on social cohesion in the UK

Iman Atta, Tell Mama director

Of the total cases recorded after the Hamas 7 October attacks, 1,109 were classed as online cases while 901 took place offline, Tell Mama said.

Incidents it recorded included a Muslim woman in Islamic clothing being assaulted on a bus in east London and told “you Muslims are troublemakers”; a written death threat to worshippers at a mosque; a woman whose car was vandalised with a Nazi swastika; and cases of Muslim women being called “terrorists”.

In almost two-thirds of cases women were the target of attacks, which the organisation said “once again demonstrates that British Muslim women have borne the majority of the brunt of anti-Muslim hate during this time”.

Iman Atta, the organisation’s director, said: “We are deeply concerned about the impacts that the Israel and Gaza war are having on hate crimes and on social cohesion in the UK.

“Hate crimes against British Muslims have substantially risen and our data clearly demonstrates this.

“This rise in anti-Muslim hate is unacceptable and we hope that political leaders speak out to send a clear message that anti-Muslim hate, like antisemitism, is unacceptable in our country.

“There really is no space for hate and, more than ever, it is essential that we sustain, nurture and protect the bonds that we have between communities, so that we all feel valued and safe in our communities and in our country.”

Tell Mama was founded in 2012 and is supported by the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities.

Earlier this month, the Community Security Trust (CST) said it had recorded an “explosion in hatred” against the Jewish community since the 7 October attacks.

More than 4,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the UK by the CST in 2023, with the all-time high being put down to the “sheer volume” which took place following the Hamas attacks.

The CST said there was a total of 4,103 antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2023, up from the previous annual record of 2,261 incidents which had been reported two years previously.

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