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Religious hate-crime offences in the UK on the rise, says report

18 October 2019

PA

Muslim women mark the day of Ashura on Oxford Street in London, last month

Muslim women mark the day of Ashura on Oxford Street in London, last month

RELIGIOUS hate-crime has increased more than twice as fast as other forms since 2015, a report by the Commission for Countering Extremism says.

The report, Challenging Hateful Extremism, published last week, also argues that “countering hateful extremism requires the greatest attention and focus if we are to be successful in reducing the extremist threat”.

Hate-crime figures reported to police have more than doubled since 2013, further figures published by the Home Office this week show.

There were 103,379 hate crimes recorded in England and Wales in 2018-19, of which 8556 were religion-motivated: a three-per-cent rise on last year.

Just under half, 47 per cent, of religious hate-crime offences targeted Muslims: this represents 3530 separate offences. Hate crimes against Jewish people have doubled: 18 per cent of religious hate-crime offences targeted Jewish people in 1326 offences, compared with 672 in the previous year.

Citizens UK suggested that the Home Office figures were just the tip of the iceberg, as most hate crimes were not reported to the police.

The Bishop of Barking, the Rt Revd Peter Hill, said: “Hate crime, whatever it’s origins, brings deep personal fear and destroys community. At this highly significant time in our national life, we must choose to come together in our communities, or split apart.

“People of faith point to a creative God who glories in diversity. That is why we must stand together calling out all hate crime, verbal or physical, whatever we believe and wherever we live.”

The report says: “Surveys show [that] the public view Muslims negatively and as a distinctly different group, and that up to a third hold at least one antisemitic view.

“As we are clear, beliefs on their own are not hateful extremism. Hateful behaviours drawing on these beliefs that may cause harm, especially to others, are. Prosecutions for inciting hatred are as high as they have ever been since statistics first began in 2010. All the convictions for stirring up hatred last year included an anti-Muslim component.”

The report also blames “Far Right agitators” for stirring up hatred against minorities, particularly Muslims.

It says: “Far Right agitators’ videos on social media can receive over half a million views. Up to four thousand people attend rallies headlined by Far Right leaders.”

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