Gwent in Wales saw the highest increase, with the number of incidents rising by 77 per cent, from 367 to 649.Reports of racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes also rose considerably in Kent (66 per cent, from 874 to 1,452), Warwickshire (65 per cent, 286 to 471) and Nottinghamshire (57 per cent, 681 to 1,071).Some groups have undoubtedly used events such as the decision to leave the EU and recent terror attacks as an opportunity to spread their message of hatred, division and intolerance.
“The reality is that anti-Muslim hatred is no longer isolated to pockets of the United Kingdom, and it is a phenomenon that affects mainly visible Muslims at a street level, with the vast majority of victims being women and perpetrators male.
“We cannot also deny the fact that anti-Muslim sentiment has been amplified heavily through far right anti-Muslim networks, and these need to be shut down and challenged and social media companies have far more to do in this area.” Founder of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), Sufyan Ismail, added that the recent terror attacks had also provoked a spike in hate crime which will have contributed to the new figures.
The number increased in every region except the City of London, which is the smallest territorial police force in England and Wales, both in terms of geographic area and head count.
Previous Home Office figures reported that race and faith-based hate crimes had decreased by 0.4 per cent in 2011/12, before climbing by seven per cent the following year, 16 per cent in 2014 and 17 per cent in 2015 — making the latest 22 per cent figure an unprecedented annual rise.
Police forces took a robust approach to addressing these crimes and engaging with communities, and we have typically seen these spikes return to expected levels within a few days.
“Any level of hate crime is too high and unacceptable.
Ms Ashraf, from Manchester, told she was left “shaken” after a man sitting behind her, who was “smartly dressed and well put together,” grabbed her from the side and tried to pull her out of her seat, before launching a barrage of racist remarks and spitting in her face.
“We’d been in there for about 45 minutes and we’d all finished eating. I assumed he was getting up to leave but he grabbed me and was screaming at me,” she said. It felt like he was trying to pull me out of my seat. He could’ve grabbed the white woman on the side of me that would’ve been easier, but he went for the Muslim woman in the crowd.” Ms Ashraf, who is a member of campaign organisation Stand Up To Racism, said she and her Muslim friends had noticed a marked rise in hate crime against them since the Brexit vote: “I think we’ve seen more since the referendum, there’s no doubt about it.
The first thing I remember him saying was something about him not tolerating people like me. But definitely over the last couple of years we’ve become more cautious when we’re out and about.