London, 3 Muharram 1437/16 October 2015 (MINA) – Members of British Muslim groups have welcomed the government’s new rules to record data of hate crimes against Muslims separately, shortly after reporting a 71 percent hike in physical, verbal and online Islamophobic crimes.
“We have been campaigning for uniformity in the recording processes in forces in England and Wales for some time now and whilst we support victims of anti-Muslim hatred and map, measure and monitor anti-Muslim hatred, this should be parallel with and in partnership with police forces,” Fiyaz Mughal, Director of Tell MAMA which monitors attacks on Muslims in the UK said, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“Police forces usually receive cases which are more around the aggressive end of anti-Muslim hatred. So we warmly welcome the announcement from the Prime Minister and this announcement also sucks the oxygen out of those groups who promote a narrative that the Government or Britain is against Muslims – it is not,” he added.
According to government new rules, police forces across England and Wales will be obliged to separately record data on hate crimes against Muslims.
This technique is followed when recording anti-Semitic attacks.
Mughal praised the new rules, saying it will “ensure all forces categorize anti-Muslim hate.”
According to Tell MAMA, in the past three-and-a-half-years the organization has supported more than 4,500 victims of Islamophobic attacks resulting in what it says were hundreds of arrests.
It has been widely reported that there has been an apparent increase in the number of hate crimes directed at Muslims in Britain.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman told the Mirror newspaper in 2013 that its crime-management system did not “facilitate the recording of anti-Muslim hate crime separately to other forms of religious hate crimes.” The spokesman added that the system solely relied “on what information is entered by the inputter recording the crime.”
Welcoming the new rules, many Muslim leaders were reluctant to praise them before seeing its effect in practice.
“It is important that there is the ability for police forces to record Islamophobic crime separately, just so that we can identify the cause of that crime and deal with it in creating an appropriate strategy,” Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said.
Varsi said he welcomed Cameron’s announcement about recording anti-Muslim crimes, but stressed that it was only a “first step”, and that the government should continue its efforts to prevent hate crime against Muslims, something he said was clearly on the increase.
He said the Metropolitan Police’s data on rising Islamophobic attacks is not something unique to London, but a pattern seen across the UK.
Versi told Al Arabiya News that the wider collection of data was something his organization and others had been calling for many years.
Versi said that the data gathered would help identify trouble hotspots around the UK and aid the police in identifying problems.
“I think that Islamophobia is not really recognized at the moment. And we cannot know this until we have the data to support it. But anecdotally this is a serious situation,” he added.
“We know that 50 percent of the British population consider Islam as a threat to the UK, according to a poll from the Huffington Post. We know that 37 percent of the British population believes there are too many Muslims in the UK. We know the same thing is true of young children with over 30 percent thinking there are too many Muslims in the UK.”
Versi said that these attitudes were “entrenched in many people across the UK because of the media onslaught about Muslims and linking that to terrorism and other related issues as well.” (T/P006/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)