LONDON – Worrying figures released by London Mayor Sadiq Khan have shown a fivefold increase in Islamophobic attacks since the atrocity at London Bridge on Saturday, and a 40% increase in racist incidents, compared with the daily average this year.
“I’m calling on all Londoners to pull together and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by these hideous individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life,” Khan was quoted by The Guardian on Wednesday.
The increase in recorded Islamophic incidents after the London Bridge attacks is greater than it was after the 2013 murder of Lee Rigby and after the 2015 massacre in Paris, two different sets of figures have suggested.
According to police sources, recorded hate crime rose to 54 incidents a day versus a daily average of 38 for 2017, Metropolitan police figures covering London have shown.
Meanwhile, recorded crime where anti-Muslim motive was identified reached 20, while the daily average for 2017 was under four.
Tell Mama said it recorded 141 hate crime incidents after the Manchester attack on 22 May, a rise of 500% compared with a daily average of 25. Then, in the week after, incidents dropped to 37 and after the London Bridge attack on Saturday they have risen sharply to 63 so far.
“The spike of anti-Muslim hate cases that we have picked up in the three days following the London attack where 63 incidents have been reported to Tell Mama, show a substantial number of street level incidents (and online), when compared with a normal three-day period in early May where [there would be] 10 reports. The type of incidents reported range from assaults, threats, physical violence and online hatred,” Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Tell Mama, said.
For British Muslims, the threat of being targeted in a hate crime was growing with each attack.
Furhaan Altaf, 26, told how his brother was verbally abused and physically attacked by two or three grown men, suffering three fractures to his face.
“He was verbally and racially abused and then physically assaulted,” Altaf said. “My brother is very shaken up.”
Sufia Alam, the manager of the Maryam center at the East London mosque, said it had had reports of Muslim women being verbally abused on buses.
Ash Siddique, the secretary of the Al-Madina mosque in Barking, east London, said women coming to the mosque suffered attacks, including one being grabbed around the throat at a bus stop.
“We’ve had a number of ladies who have been verbally abused and a number of ladies who have been spat on. We’ve had a couple of telephone calls, physical threats – ‘we are going to attack you’ – and that sort of thing,” said Siddique.