Islamophobic crime rises by 500 per cent
DOMINIC SMITHERS AND BETH ABBIT
ISLAMOPHOBIC crimes and incidents in Greater Manchester increased 500 PER CENT after the Man- chester bomb attack, according to police figures.
Hundreds of complaints about attacks, threats, vandalism, and other incidents directed against Muslim residents were received by GMP in the wake of the Arena attack on May 22.
Muslim organisations – as well as individuals and families – now say they face daily harassment and abuse by those who wrongly blame them for the actions Islamist-inspired Salman Abedi.
Police in Greater Manchester have promised to take tough action but say they believe the spike of hate-fuelled incidents is only temporary.
The new figures come just days an attack on London’s Finsbury Park Mosque which saw one man killed and 11 injured.
According to official GMP figures, there were a total of 224 reports of Islamophobic crimes in the four weeks following the Manchester bomb attack, until June 19.
Some of these complaints were later classed by police as hate ‘incidents’, meaning that while not categorised as criminal the events were disturbing enough to be recorded.
In the same period last year, there were only 37 hate crime and hate incidents reported – equal to a 500pc increase.
There was no official breakdown about the nature of the incidents.
But businesses, mosques leaders and individuals have told our sister paper the M.E.N. about facing physical and verbal abuse.
It was reported how a mosque in Oldham was hit by a fire bomb just hours after the Arena attack.
Tell Mama, an organisation which records Islamophobic crime, earlier this week reported a UK-wide increase in incidents.
A senior GMP officer has acknowledged the spike in hate crimes directed against Muslims in the immediate wake of the attack, but says that in recent days the volume is now returning to similar, more expected levels.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: “Greater Manchester has a diverse population, with people from different faiths and backgrounds and this is something that we are proud of, it’s what makes us the city we are.
“We will not tolerate hatred or discrimination of any kind. When a major tragedy occurs such as the attacks in Manchester and London, it is sadly not unusual for there to be a spike in the amount of hate crimes, specifically against race and religion, but thankfully they do decrease again quickly.
“We continue to monitor the levels of hate crimes that are reported and it is essential that we remind people about the importance of reporting when a hate crime happens to you, or you see it happening.
“Hate crime is often under reported for a number of reasons, but we want people to have the confidence in coming forward as no one should be the subject of hate and intolerance.”
In the wake of the Finsbury Park Mosque attack, GMP promised to carry out extra, visible patrols outside mosques and other religious buildings in Greater Manchester. Mr Potts urged the public to continue to report any hate crime to police or Crimestoppers.
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Beverley Hughes said: “There is no place for hate crime in Greater Manchester. There is no excuse for targeting someone because of who they are or what they believe.”
GMP Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: ‘we will not tolerate hatred or discrimination of any kind’