Hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise in London as new numbers show an increase in attacks across the UK following terrorism elsewhere in the world.
Islamophobic attacks recorded by the Metropolitan police show a 47% increase over the past year ending May 2015. Some 778 attacks were reported to police, compared to 529 in the year leading up to May 2014.
In the wake of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims in Western countries throughout the past year — such as Sydney, the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, and attack in Copenhagen, and a foiled plot in Belgium — Britain saw a marked increase in Islamophobic hate, according to a new report.
Gathered by the advocacy group Tell Mama, and analysed by professors from Teesside University, release of the report fell on the eve of Ramadan, the central Islamic month-long fasting celebration.
"The over-riding narrative from the report appears to be that parts of the public mistakenly make a link between Muslims and terrorism whether that be at home and abroad," said Shahid Malik, a former parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities, and the current chair of Tell Mama. "This presents a profound challenge for the media, politicians, civil society and for Muslims themselves," he said.
Malik continued by adding that Islamophobic sentiment must be tackled because it can lead to feelings of alienation in some young Muslims and "reduce the chances of them being preyed upon by extremists."
The advocacy group's numbers inform those tracked by the Met, who said police are "working closely with organisations representing different faiths regarding hate crime issues," including the "Community Security Trust for anti-Semitic hate crime and Tell Mama for Islamophobic incidents."
The annual report "confirms the existence of unacceptable levels of anti-Muslim hatred that affects our communities," said MP Stuart Andrew from Leeds.
Across the UK 548 anti-Muslim incidents informed the report, ranging from cyberbullying to assaults on the street, and, at times, extreme violence — although there were only seven cases that could be classified at "extreme."
Attacks on the street mainly came from white males and were overall directed at female Muslims.
In the past year, some areas of London have seen as much as a 300% increase in Islamophobic incidents, such as Richmond where the Met recorded just two events dating in the year to May 2014, but eight events leading to the same time this year.
The London boroughs of Southwark, Islington, and Hackney have all seen increases of 58.8%, 110.5%, and 118.8% increases respectively.
Britain's 2011 census indicates a little over one million Muslims live in London, or 12% of its population. But across the UK Muslims make up only 4.8% of Britons.
The findings suggest, said one of the report's authors Dr Mark Littler, a Cambridge and UCL-educated professor of terrorism and extremism of Teesside University, "that where the media stress the Muslim background of attacker/s, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent response is likely to be greater."