Report highlights growing violence against Muslims

A new report spells out the growing demonisation of and violence against Muslims. A report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK from the European Muslim Research Centre confirms much of what was intimated in its first, slim report in January last year. The new report, over 200 pages in length, concludes that anti-Muslim hate crime is rife and Muslims face a threat of violence and intimidation from both politically-motivated attackers and gangs and individuals not aligned to extremist groups. In fact ‘the influence of mainstream political commentators poses a threat of political violence’. The majority of attacks are carried out by those with no allegiance to the British National Party or the English Defence League (EDL) against Muslims, Islamic institutions and mosques. They appear to have been incited by the very negative portrayal of Muslims in the media. Specific areas of concern are underlined in this report (authored again by Robert Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer): mosques in isolated communities are vulnerable to attack; abuse of and assaults on women have increased; street violence is prevalent; demonstrations by the EDL spread fear and anxiety; there is serious under-reporting of violent attacks by victims. The report goes on to examine the demonisation in the media of Muslim leaders, what it terms ‘institutional Islamophobia’, and political discrimination against Muslim organisations. It asks the government as a matter of urgency to tackle anti-Muslim hate crime and to fund community groups already having to support its victims. It calls ‘Islamophobia and discrimination’ the coalition government’s ‘litmus test’ of fairness and social justice and urges it to promote inclusion via dialogue with ‘community representatives’.