Children practising emergency drills and mothers abused in the street as racial hate rises

  • ITV Granada Reports journalist Emma Sweeney spoke to those in both the Jewish and Muslim communities.

Children as young as three are practising evacuation drills in school in case of a gun or bomb threat following a dramatic rise in racial and religious hate crimes, it has been revealed.

Mothers are also being stopped and told they "should not be allowed in the country" as charities say anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks have increased by 600% since the outbreak of war in Gaza.

Police patrols have been increased in the mainly Jewish area of Prestwich in North Manchester, with many saying they now feel vulnerable to hate.

One man, who asked for his identity to be protected, says people are scared to go out in public after a rise in attacks.

"People are withdrawing from identifying as being Jewish - not because they’re not proud, because they’re scared," he said.

"One of my friends was in a supermarket and she got spat at and got called a dirty Jew in the Kosher isle, just for wearing her star of David.

"There’s children as young as three doing evacuation drills in case a gunman comes inside a school or bomb threats.

"That was already routine - which is quite hard to believe - but now they’ve increased that due to the increased threat."

He added: "It makes me feel very scared, very cautious - it’s an extra stress on your day to day life. It’s just very sad."

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said the death toll continued to rise overnight Credit: Hatem Ali/AP/PA

Since the start of the war, anti-Semitism has risen dramatically, and one Jewsh charity says it alone has been told of more than 800 instances of abuse across the UK.

It is an increase of almost 700% compared to the same period last year, with 141 of those in the North West.

The rise is so dramatic the government has pledged £3million to help further boost security outside buildings such as schools and synagogues.

They are extreme precaution Jewish communities say they have never had to take before.

Ivan Lewis, the former MP for Bury South, says although hate is often prevalent, this is different.

"There is always a spike and an increase in anti-Semitism when Israel is involved in some sort of conflict, whatever the circumstances, but this is very, very different," he said.

"The level of fear and anxiety, those who are not very sympathetic to us will use the opportunity to attack the community in a variety of ways."

Eli Hassell is a Jewish podcaster from Prestwich. The added police presence on the streets has helped him to feel safe and reassured.

But when he ventures into other areas, he told us he sometimes feels "quite unsafe" and is sure many other people do too.

Members of the North West Muslim community say they are also feeling vulnerable since the surprise attack in Gaza.

Charity TellMama recorded at least 400 incidents of abuse between 7 - 24 Oct, 27 in the North West.

Two Muslim women who also asked for their identity to be protected, have been at the receiving end of some of this abuse.

One said: "As I was driving somebody indicated to wind down my window, so I wound down my window, my child was in the back, and instantly they started swearing and telling me to go back to my own country and calling me a terrorist sympathiser.

"I have no idea why, I was just really shocked, but I just turned my window back up and drove off. I was really, really scared."

The other woman, added: "I went to a hospital appointment, I booked myself in, and sat down in the waiting area..

"The nurse in reception started talking about muslims and terrorism, and they should just get out, and the Government should just not allow them to come here."

The president of Manchester's Central Mosque said leaders in Westminster need to help protect people from this type of abuse.

"We need for the government to adopt a definition of Islamophobia so it becomes easier for police and other institutions to actually deal with this head on," Hammad Ajmal Khan said.

"Until we have these solutions from the government which is actually adopted locally I don't think we can actually eradicate these problems."

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