Sharp increase in anti-Muslim hatred in UK, particularly against women

Muslim women have 'borne the majority of the brunt' of the abuse, Tell Mama has said. Credit: PA

The number of Islamophobic incidents reported to a project monitoring anti-Muslim abuse in the UK has tripled since the Hamas attacks in Israel last year, the organisation said.

In almost two-thirds of cases recorded, women were the target of attacks, showing they "have borne the majority of the brunt" of the abuse, according to Tell Mama, which describes itself as an independent and confidential support service for people who face anti-Muslim hatred and prejudice across the UK.

It was made aware of 2,010 cases between October 7 and February 7.

This was a steep increase compared to the 600 cases reported in the same four-month period the previous year.

Of the total cases recorded after October 7, 1,109 were classed as online cases while 901 took place offline, Tell Mama said.

Incidents recorded by the organisation included a Muslim woman in Islamic clothing being assaulted on a bus in east London and told “you Muslims are troublemakers”; a written death threat to worshippers at a mosque; a woman whose car was vandalised with a Nazi swastika; and cases of Muslim women being called “terrorists”.

Iman Atta, Tell Mama's director, said the organisation was deeply concerned about the impacts that the Israel and Gaza war are having on hate crimes and on social cohesion in the UK.

“Hate crimes against British Muslims have substantially risen and our data clearly demonstrates this," she said.

“This rise in anti-Muslim hate is unacceptable and we hope that political leaders speak out to send a clear message that anti-Muslim hate, like antisemitism, is unacceptable in our country."

Tell Mama was founded in 2012 and is supported by the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities.

The Jewish community has also seen a spike in abuse since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Community Security Trust (CST) said it had recorded as "explosion in hatred" against the Jewish community since the October 7 attacks.

More than 4,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the UK by a Jewish charity in 2023, with the all-time high being put down to the “sheer volume” which took place following the Hamas attacks of October 7.

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