News / Europe

Anti-Muslim Attacks Nearly Double in Britain

Anti-Muslim Attacks Nearly Double in Britaini
January 17, 2014 4:42 PM
There was a near doubling of reported anti-Muslim attacks in Britain last year, prompting concern among community leaders who are now calling for changes in government policies. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Anti-Muslim Attacks Nearly Double in Britain
Al Pessin
British police say anti-Muslim attacks nearly doubled in England last year, prompting concern among community leaders and calls for changes in government policies.  

Officials and Muslim community leaders attribute the increase largely to the May 2013 murder of a British solider in London by two Muslim men who claimed they did it for Islam. The incident was recorded by a security camera.

But anti-Muslim feeling in Britain goes beyond that, according to Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, a community organization.

“There is what we call a ‘background noise’ of anti-Muslim hate that has quite significant volume," Mughal said. "That volume is both online as well as off-line.  There are troubling indicators that anti-Muslim hate is unfortunately on the social horizon and probably here to stay for some time.”

Experts say most of the anti-Muslim attacks come in the form of insults and graffiti. Some mosques have also been vandalized, including one in north London, where the head of a pig was thrown over the fence.  

As worshippers arrived for midday prayers on a recent Friday, newspapers were reporting a sharp increase in the Muslim population in Britain, leaving community leaders inside, like Omar el-Hamdoun, president of the Muslim Association of Britain, to ponder the impact.

“An increase in the number of Muslims means that, as Muslims, we need to tackle anti-Muslim hatred or Islamophobia, so that Muslims are feeling more and more part of society,” el-Hamdoun said.

He acknowledges that can be difficult at times.

“As Muslims, we have our own practices, we have our own needs, we have our own reasoning," he said. "So I think all of these things are actually difficult for us to fully integrate into society.”

Britain’s 1.6 million Muslims make up 3 percent of the population and are part of the fabric of everyday life. But Muslim community leaders say a small number of militants, along with tensions in the Middle East and anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain, accentuate divisions in society here and across the continent.

“Europe, unfortunately, has a strain of hate that seems to run through it," Mughal said. "Something about Europe seems to carry this rejection of the ‘other.’”

Mughal calls for Britain’s single, year-old rules on hate speech to be tightened, for police to be more responsive to anti-Muslim incidents, and for judges to hand out tougher sentences to people convicted of hate crimes.  

He and other experts say there is also a lot for community organizations to do to educate Muslims and the broader society, about what Islam is and how it can fit into a European context very different from its traditional homelands.

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Comment Sorting
by: Nicole Gloden from: Belgium
January 20, 2014 11:04 AM
? Excuse me? Europe has hate issues? What about Muslims happily blowing us to smithereens because we are dirty infidels? is it too much asked to also mention the hate that some Muslim people display towards anyone and anything that does not concur with their religious and outdated convictions? It is this attitude which is responsible for the current situation.

by: richard webb from: planet earth
January 20, 2014 3:59 AM
...europe has a problem with the "other"???
please tell us the fate of christians in syria? Or europeans in mecca? ... Your lies no longer work!!

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
January 20, 2014 12:18 AM
Fortunately, we do not face to urgent requirments of accepting many immigrants or refugees from foreign countries in Japan, so that we tend to be not interested in this kind of matters. But I guess there must be huge cinflicts in western countires which accept forforeigners, especially those who have different faiths. This is my only two cents that guests must be unobstructive at first when visiting other's home.

by: Daniel
January 19, 2014 5:28 AM
Not surprised are you ? The treatment of people in muslim countries`that arent muslim is beyond shocking. Hyprocrites. As there numbers grow people are waking up to and seeing their true colours !
In Response

by: skai from: london
January 19, 2014 3:26 PM
Daniel. Muslims are NOT even treated 1/10 here in UK or Western countries of what they treat non muslims in Muslim countries . See 3w'sdot compassdirect dotorg

by: Tom Moseley from: UK
January 18, 2014 2:58 PM
"Something about Europe seems to carry this rejection of the ‘other.’” Looking about you in the streets of any European capital gives the lie to that. The European populace does not just listen to the anodyne pap fed to us by our own politicians, and we know when we've had enough of lies. We are happy to accomodate the other but on our own terms and do not submit to cultural repression in the name of a failed and discredited multiculturalism.

by: george whyte from: london
January 18, 2014 12:51 PM
Andrew Gilligan reported in the Telegraph last June 9 that Tell Mama, a group which, like Faith Matters, is also headed by Fiyaz Mughal, was not going to "have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods." What was wrong with its methods? It had "claimed that there had been a 'sustained wave of attacks and intimidation' against British Muslims after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby." But Tell Mama and Fiyaz Mughal "did not mention, however, that 57 per cent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain. Contrary to the group’s claim of a 'cycle of violence' and a 'sustained wave of attacks', only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 per cent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment."'

by: Ian from: Babgkok
January 18, 2014 10:19 AM
Mughal calls for Britain’s single, year-old rules on hate speech to be tightened, for police to be more responsive to anti-Muslim incidents, and for judges to hand out tougher sentences to people convicted of hate crimes.
Indeed , this will make Muslims even more unpopular!

by: PermReader
January 18, 2014 10:00 AM
The number of attacks? - no answer, just percents.Usual leffist blah, which is explained simply- there are much more Jews attacked in Britain and many Muslims are the attackers.

by: Jabra Almaas from: Malindi
January 18, 2014 3:36 AM
I'm an African black businessman but not Muslim, I travel quite bit to UK, Italy, Switzerland, France, Holland and Belgium to do business affairs. I always experience standard discrimination, different treatment and scrutiny at any airport, hotels, business meetings and business transactions. At London airport, I did see several times that Arab men with their traditional cloths receive welcoming salutes from security and immigration officials and usher them quickly at the exit doors. But I have to spend up to five hours to have immigration clearance. I was treated like criminal and terrorist. I think Europeans have got deep-rooted hatred for blacks than any other race in this world.
In Response

by: skai from: london
January 19, 2014 3:21 PM
Jabra Allmass . '' I think Europeans have got deep rooted hatred for black than any other race in the world '' Oh Ya ? Do you know how you blacks are treated by Arabs? How come you come to European countries to do business, ? Just stay home and don't come here if you think you are treated bad.

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