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War on Gaza: Police in UK record rise in hate crimes since start of war

Campaigners against anti-Muslim abuse have described the trend as 'deeply worrying', while antisemitic hate crimes have also gone up
Pro-Palestinian protesters rally in London to demand a ceasefire on 25 November (AFP)

Figures released by the British police reveal that there has been a rise in hate incidents since the start of the war on Gaza following Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October. 

The figures, provided by some of the UK’s largest police forces, suggest there has been a sharp rise in Islamophobia, as well as examples of antisemitic hate crimes.

West Yorkshire Police stated that between 7 October and 7 November, Islamophobic offences rose to 49 incidents from 29 during the same period in 2022 - something they said represented the biggest increase they had witnessed.

Merseyside Police also said that Islamophobic offences rose from six to 10 for the same date range compared to 2022.

There has also been a significant increase in hate crimes recorded by the British Transport Police, who noted that Islamophobic offences jumped from two to 22.

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Iman Atta, the director of Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim abuse, described the levels of Islamophobic hatred and discrimination as "deeply worrying", adding it was affecting communities' "trust in authorities and their sense of identity and belonging".

She said: "We should never allow such hatred and intolerance to take root in our communities and at this time."

"Please look out for each other, whether Muslim or Jewish," she added. "We must stand together against intolerance, hate and racism."

Antisemitic offences have also been on the rise. The PA news agency said that offences rose significantly in the larger police force areas in the month following 7 October.

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Greater Manchester Police recorded 74 antisemitic incidents compared with 15 during the same period the previous year.

Met's commander for criminal justice Paul Trevers called the rise in religious hate crime in the capital "absolutely unacceptable".

"No one should be subjected to hate because of their faith or race, and we are taking action against those who are offending," he said.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "There is no place for hate in our society and we condemn the recent rise in reported antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred.

"We expect the police to fully investigate all hate crimes and work with the CPS to make sure the cowards who commit these abhorrent offences feel the full force of the law.

"Following recent events, we have also made further funding available to Jewish and Muslim communities, to provide additional security at places of worship and faith schools."

The Metropolitan Police, the largest force in the UK, said delays prevented it from supplying full figures until the new year, but it had previously reported 218 antisemitic and 101 Islamophobic offences between 1 October and 18 this year, compared with 15 and 42 respectively in the same period in 2022.

While the figures show a pattern of increasing religious hate crimes, methods for recording hate crimes are not consistent across forces, so data cannot be used to compare the number of offences between different areas or provide an overall total for the whole of the UK.

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