Islamophobic hate crimes like the petrol bomb attack on Finsbury Park Mosque soared by 47% in the past year across London. Figures show there were 845 offences in the 12 months to October, up from 576 the previous year.
The Metropolitan Police believes the crime rate soared as a result of more victims reporting crimes, but it also believes world events can play a part in increase anti-Muslim sentiment, suggesting there could have been a spike in the number of attacks in the wake of the Paris attacks.
"We believe the increase in Islamophobic hate crime is due to a range of factors," a Met spokesman said. "This includes a growing willingness of victims to report hate crime, an improved awareness of staff in identifying these offences; and work with partners to support victims. World events can also contribute to a rise in hate crime."
"We are acutely aware that all areas of hate crime are still under-reported and we are encouraged that more people feel confident to report racial and religious hate crimes, regardless if this is direct to police or via a third party or online."
Earlier this year it was reported hate crimes against Muslims were up 70%. Police figures for the 12 months up to July showed 816 Islamophobic crimes, compared with 478 for the previous year. That spike came after gunmen Said and Cherif Kouachi killed 11 people at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January.
Finsbury Park Mosque in Islington, north London, was attacked at the weekend by a man who tossed a DIY Molotov made from a jerry can at the building. CCTV footage showed the suspect tossing the petrol bomb over security gates at the mosque before fleeing. Away from London, there were reports at the weekend that a woman in Manchester was assaulted by a female who called her a "terrorist" and tried to remove her Hijab.
Writing for IBTimes UK, Finsbury Park Mosque chairman Mohammed Kozbar said friends of his were planning a rally outside the mosque this Friday evening (4 December) called by Unite Against Fascism, the Stop the War Coalition as well as the mosque. "We do not want this handful of extremists who commit these crimes to feel that they have won, that they have made us scared," he wrote.
Campaigner Fiyaz Mughal, of Tell MAMA, a group that records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the UK, said there had recently been an increase in hate crime towards Muslims.
"These figures are not surprising and are in line with what we have been seeing – which is a general increment in anti-Muslim hate incidents," he said.
"The London Met figures do show that there is a measurable rise and our work and data collection in Tell MAMA show that international and national incidents spike anti-Muslim hate incidents significantly and this year alone, the refugee crisis, the actions of the so-called Islamic State, Charlie Hebdo and the Paris murders have all spiked incidents around Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hate. Sadly, terrorism has had a major impact on all communities and the actions of terrorists is to try and divide communities and we must not let them."