LONDON – A British monitoring group warned that anti-Muslim hate crimes jumped by 326 percent in 2015, with women becoming the prime target of these attacks.
“The statistics paint a profoundly bleak picture of the explosion of anti-Muslim hate both online and on our streets, with visible Muslim women being disproportionately targeted by cowardly hatemongers,” said Shahid Malik, chair of monitoring group Tell MAMA, The Guardian reported.
“This exponential growth is a testament to the fact that despite great efforts to fight anti-Muslim hatred, as a society we are still failing far too many of our citizens.
“With the backdrop of the Brexit vote and the spike in racist incidents that seems to be emerging, the government should be under no illusions, things could quickly become unpleasant for Britain’s minorities.”
According to the monitoring group, more than one in 10 of all incidents reported to the organization took place in educational establishments, with public transport in city centers another cluster area.
Social media have also appeared as a significant radicalization factor which was used by far-right extremist groups and sympathizers to actively promote hatred of Muslims.
The report added that the ability of Muslim women to travel on public transport free of fear and intimidation is being curtailed. Women wearing the hijab or niqab were especially vulnerable.
“The largest proportion of incidents involve Muslim women, usually wearing Islamic garments, facing attacks from young white males,” said the report.
The demographic of perpetrators had also changed, with a marked shift to youths aged between 13 and 18, according to data collected from victims.
The findings “suggest that some teenagers are being radicalized and are moving away from the mainstream views of their age group, who are much more multicultural in their orientation,” the report said.
Founded in 2012, the organization directly received 1,128 reports of abuse and attacks in 2015, of which it verified more than 800.
TELL MAMA uses data from more than 15 police forces plus reports from victims and members of the public to compile a picture of Islamophobic activity in the UK.
“We simply cannot have such hatred fester in our communities and in our societies,” Fiyaz Mughal, Tell MAMA’s founder, said.
“With a 326% increase in anti-Muslim hatred reported to us in 2015, we have to deal with this issue … Now is the time to redouble our efforts to tackle such hate from all extremist groups.”