Scotland Yard in London, U.K., has released shocking new figures that show homophobic hate crimes, anti-Muslim hate crimes, and anti-Semitic hate crimes have all risen sharply in the past year.
The annual crime statistics report showed that homophobic offences in London were up 29.3 percent between July, 2014 (1,289), and July, 2015 (1,667).
In the Evening Standard, a spokesperson for LGBT rights organization Stonewall discussed the findings.
“While there is still lots to do, Stonewall works closely with the police, and know that there is some great work is being done to ensure all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel more confident and comfortable in reporting hate crimes. However, we’ve seen some particularly violent examples of calculated homophobic attacks across London as of late – often in areas considered particularly inclusive like Soho, Shoreditch and Vauxhall. What this tells us is that we can never predict where a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crime will take place, whether in London or not.”
Anti-Muslim hate crimes, often referred to as Islamophobia, increased in London by a whopping 70 percent in the same time period, with 816 reported offenses, as opposed to 478 the year before.
Fiyaz Mughal, from Tell Mama U.K., a group that follows incidents of anti-Muslim hate, points out that women in headscarves (hijab) or face veils (nijab) were victims of these crimes about 60 percent of the time, as reported in the Guardian.
“We … realized quite early on that women who wear niqab, the face veil, suffered more aggressive incidents – there was something about the face veil that in a way brought out the worst in the perpetrator.”
A recently released video of a man running up behind a woman in a headscarf and knocking her unconscious highlighted what some Muslims are facing in Britain’s capital city.
— Bharath Ganesh (@bganesh11) September 8, 2015
Meanwhile, Anti-Semitic hate crimes saw the largest increase, at 93 percent, with 499 incidents in London, where as in 2014 there were 258.
All in all, racist and religious hate crimes in London spiked in total by 27 percent, with 13,007 incidents reported over the 12-month period.
Why all of this hate against religious groups in one of the world’s most diverse cities? A spokesperson for the London Metropolitan Police outlined one reason, as reported in Yahoo News.
“In light of recent world events, we know communities in London are feeling anxious.”
Hate crime incidents appear to increase during certain religious holidays, when religious minorities are more visible.
For its part, The London Metropolitan Police appear to be committed to tackling this growing problem, according to Commander Mak Chishty.
“We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and arrest offenders. Victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police. We have more than 900 specialist officers across London working in our community safety units who are dedicated to investigating hate crime.”
He also urged victims of hate crimes to step forward and report the incidents so that law enforcement in London, or anywhere they occur, can act as soon as possible.
[Photo from Getty Images / Peter Macdiarmid]