Anti-Muslim incidents drop by 11 per cent

Boris Johnson's Muslim comments sparked protests

Monday, September 2, 2019

A British anti-hate organisation said there was an 11 per cent reduction in anti-Muslim incidents last year, compared to figures from 2017.

Tell MAMA said it recorded 2,963 hate incidents in 2018, which included reports made to both the organisation and the police.

The group said the drop could be due to “sharp spikes of reported anti-Muslim hate incidents” in 2017 in the wake of four major terrorist attacks in the UK.

Three of these – the attacks in Westminster, Manchester Arena and London Bridge – were carried out by Islamists. The fourth targeted Muslim worshipers near Finsbury Park Mosque.

Tell MAMA also said it recorded two “significant spikes” in anti-Muslim activity last year, and one was “directly” related to Boris Johnson’s column in which he referred to women wearing the burka as “letterboxes”.

In Mr Johnson’s article last August he said full-face veils should not be banned, but it was “absolutely ridiculous” women chose to “go around looking like letterboxes”. He also compared them to “bank robbers”.

The group said: “Between August 5 and August 29 (2018), 42 per cent of the street-based incidents reported to Tell MAMA directly referenced Boris Johnson and/or the language used in his column.”

It said anti-Muslim incidents rose by 375 per cent from the week before the comments to the week after.

The second spike came after the ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letters were sent to Islamic households, organisations and mosques.

It said there was a period of “heightened tensions, fears, and anxieties around the proposed day”, which sought to incite violence against Muslims.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said people “of all faiths must feel safe in Britain”.

“I am utterly appalled by hatred aimed at Muslims in Britain or at those of any faith, and I am determined to tackle it,” he said.

“We have put millions into protecting all places of worship and we continue to fund education courses to tackle this scourge at its root.” 

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