Islamophobic hate crime in the United Kingdom against British Muslims increased more than 300 per cent to at least 115 incidents of anti-Muslim crime over a period of seven days in the week following the Nov 13 Paris terror attacks, The Independent reported.
Muslim girls and women aged 14-45 years were those targeted the most due to their traditional Islamic garb while perpetrators in most incidences of hate crime were white males aged 15-35 years, says a report to the government’s working group on anti-Muslim hatred seen by The Independent.
The spike in attacks mimics that observed in the wake of the 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
The report says the number is "concerning since the cases show that women who wear the hijab are the ones being targeted for general abuse and threats".
It goes on to say that a large portion of the attacks occurred in public places, including buses and trains. At least 34 victims of hate crime were women wearing hijab, while at least eight instances of crime involved young children.
"Out of these cases on public transport, eight involved young children who had heard the comments against their mothers, and their mothers said their children had seen them being fearful as perpetrators took aggressive physical postures against them… Sixteen of the victims even mentioned that they would be fearful of going out in the future and that the experiences had affected their confidence," the report says.
It claims that many of the victims suggested no one came to their assistance or even consoled them, meaning they felt victimised, embarrassed, alone and angry about the hate crimes.
An eyewitness, Ashely Powys, describes a racist rant witnessed on the Tube: "He was reeling off abuse, calling her things like ‘rag head’, ‘terrorist’, ‘scum’, and saying ‘her people’ murdered the victims of the Paris attacks ... He was aggressively close and was clearly terrifying her."
Read editorial: Islamophobia in the West
A mother pulled her daughter out of an Edinburgh claiming intensification in anti-Muslim bullying following the Paris attacks.
"They called my daughter the ‘F’ word and insulted her for being Muslim ... The bullying has got worse since the Paris attacks," she claims, adding, "Nobody deserves to be treated like she has been."
The report claims the language of anti-Muslim prejudice reverted from “groomers” or “paedos” following the Rotherham grooming scandal to “terrorists” and “bombers”.
The report calls on the British government to do more to combat the problem, saying it undermines community relations. It follows a statement by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) which claims police cuts could impact trust and inter-community cooperation.
MCB Security and Counter-terrorism Spokesman Miqdaad Versi says "Cuts in policing budgets have affected the opportunity for community organisations to build links and relationships with the police as officer numbers have been drastically reduced. It is difficult to see how new cuts will not make the situation worse."
"To develop a more effective policy in combating terrorism that blights our society, it is key for police to engage, consult and build trust with communities as partners."
The figures in the report were compiled by the Tell Mama helpline which records incidents of verbal and physical attacks on Muslims and UK mosques ─ and may be underestimated due to under-reporting for a variety of reasons, including fear.