London: Muslims living in Britain have suffered more than 100 racial attacks since the terrorist atrocities in Paris, figures prepared for ministers reveal, The Independent reported.
A report to the government’s working group on anti-Muslim hatred shows a spike in Islamophobic hate crime of more than 300 percent, to 115, in the week following the killings on November 13 in France.
Most victims of the UK hate crimes were Muslim girls and women aged between 14 and 45 who were in their traditional Islamic dress. The perpetrators were mainly white males aged between 15 and 35.
The figures were compiled by the Tell Mama helpline, which records incidents of verbal and physical attacks on Muslims and mosques in the UK. They are likely to be a significant underestimate of the total, as many victims are too frightened to contact police or community groups.
The report said a large number of the reported attacks were in public places, including on buses and trains. Thirty-four victims were women wearing the hijab, while eight were children.
“The vast and overwhelming majority of the victims were visible Muslim women between the ages of 14 and 45,” the report stated. “This is concerning since the cases show those women who wear the hijab are the ones being targeted for general abuse and threats.
"Many of the victims have suggested that no one came to their assistance or even consoled them, meaning that they felt victimized, embarrassed, alone and angry about what had taken place 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.
“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.”
In one recent case in London a young girl, wearing a hijab was abused on a Tube train. Ashley Powys described how the girl, sitting opposite him, was subjected to a racist rant from another passenger, a man. “He got closer to her and 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.” In another case a mother pulled her young daughter out of school in Edinburgh, claiming anti-Islamic bullying had intensified in the wake of the Paris attacks.
The report came as Britain’s largest Muslim group said police cost cuts could hit trust and co-operation with communities. Miqdaad Versi, security and counter-terrorism spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said: “Cuts in policing budgets have affected the opportunity for community organizations 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.”