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Islamophobic street incidents in the UK rose 30% in 2017, charity says

Islamophobic street incidents in the UK rose 30% in 2017, charity says

By Alexander Britton, Press Association

More than 10 anti-Muslim attacks were reported every day in the week following the Manchester Arena terror attack, a report has said.

Tell Mama, a project set up to record Islamophobic hate incidents, recorded a 30% rise in street incidents last year with more than 1,200 reports verified by the organisation.

The annual report also found spikes of incidents in the weeks following the attacks on London Bridge and Finsbury Park, the latter of which saw a van driven into a group of Muslims.

Iman Atta, director of Tell Mama, said political and societal instability meant minority groups are bearing the brunt of people “venting their fears, insecurities and concerns”.

She added: “We are seeing more aggressive street-based incidents, younger perpetrators, between the ages of 13-18, increased vandalism and international interference by well organised social media accounts playing off groups in the UK.

“The younger perpetrator base seems to indicate that online anti-Muslim hate may be bleeding out into wider society and into a younger demographic.”

Figures from the report, which cover January to December 2017, show that Tell Mama received 1,330 reports of which 1,201 were verified as being Islamophobic in nature.

More than two-thirds of verified incidents occurred offline, while there was a 16.3% increase in the number of online incidents when comparing 2016 to 2017, from 311 to 362.

A spike in incidents following the EU referendum was noted in Tell Mama’s 2016 report – but the uplift in incidents was higher following Salman Abedi attacking an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people.

The report said: “The spike in Islamophobic hate crime reports sent to Tell Mama following the Manchester suicide bombing on 22 May 2017 was larger than the spike in reports following the EU referendum result.

“The spike in incidents reported to Tell Mama that followed the EU referendum constituted a 475% rise, from 12 reports in the week prior to the referendum to 69 in the week which followed the referendum result.

“The spike that followed the Manchester bombing, however, constituted a 700% rise, from nine reports in the reporting period prior to the bombing to 72 reports one week later.”

Following the Westminster Bridge attack, in which Khalid Masood drove a car along the bridge killing four and fatally stabbed an unarmed police officer, several anti-Muslim incidents were reported to Tell Mama.

A woman on a bus was spat at and told: “People like you were responsible for the Westminster Bridge attack”, the report said.

In another incident a shop worker was accused of being involved in the murder of “that poor eight-year-old girl in Manchester”, a reference to Saffie Roussos, who was killed at the Ariana Grande concert.

In another incident, a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon was racially abused and called a “terrorist” by a motorist while en route to work at Salford Royal Hospital where he was treating victims of the May 22 attack.

The highest proportion of anti-Muslim incidents occurred in London (34%), followed by north west England (18%), Yorkshire and the Humber (12%) and the West Midlands (10%).

Ms Atta said: “More than ever, we need to come together and redouble our efforts against those who seek to divide and play communities off against each other.”

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