Tackling hate crime: New report suggests ‘more must be done’ in fight against Islamophobia
Police, local authorities and third party reporting centres across West Yorkshire must ‘do more’ to address the rising tide of anti-Muslim hate crime’, a safety forum chief has said.
The Muslim Community Safety Forum (MCSF) released its long awaited ‘anti-Muslim Hate Crime report’ last week, produced following their well attended conference in November 2015.
Detailed within the findings were figures highlighting Islamophobic offences had more than doubled between 2010 and the day of the conference, whilst reporting of crimes remained a ‘worry’.
Kauser Jan, Chair of the MCSF said: “We are calling on the police, local authorities and others who deal with hate crime to do more in tackling the worryingly rising trend of anti-Muslim hate crime across West Yorkshire.
“Official statistics underestimate the extent anti-Muslim hate crime, as there is reluctance by victims to report.”
Anecdotal evidence in the report suggests that the majority of those encountering anti-Muslim hate crime are Muslim women because of their visible religious identity markers.
Whilst they are encouraged to come forward and report, Ms Jan says evidence suggests ‘they do not see the point’.
According to the Home Office reports on Hate Crime in England and Wales in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, racial and religious hate crime accounts for 88 per cent of motivating factors for hate crime recorded by West Yorkshire Police.
The police force recorded 40 anti-Islam hate crimes in the first six months since sub-categories of the faith strand of hate crime reporting was introduced on the 13th October 2014. This figure equated to over half - 57.2 per cent - of all faith based hate crimes.
This figure worryingly increased to 75 incidents between June and November 2015, equating to 84.3 per cent of faith based hate crimes.
Ms Jan now says that ‘it is apparent’ that there is an increase in hate crimes against Muslim victims and after the 13/11/15 Paris attacks, out of 13 faith related occurrences, 12 were against Muslim victims.
“In order to be effective and help victims, we are recommending that awareness needs to be raised at a grass roots of the nature of hate crime and what actually happens once an incident has been reported; intelligence is shared on the numbers of victims of anti-Muslim hate crime and these figures are used to direct resources where they are needed most; and the five local authorities should commit to developing and implementing a Yorkshire-wide strategy to tackle Islamophobia,” Ms Jan added.
“We are also very happy that [West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner] Mark Burns-Williamson has agreed he will continue to work with the MCSF to challenge Islamophobia.”
The MCSF is committed to increasing its strategic reach across West Yorkshire, whilst simultaneously actively trying to increase its representation.