Press Release from the Islamic Human Rights Commission
22 July 2005
The Islamic Human Rights Commission is sad to announce that there has been a huge upsurge in the number of Islamophobic incidents reported to it in the two weeks following the London bombings.
IHRC notes that the number of Islamophobic incidents reported to it thus far stands at just under 200 in two weeks. This is almost as many incidents as the total for the first month following the 9-11 attacks, when 206 incidents were reported to IHRC. Normally, an estimated 4-5 Islamophobic incidents are reported to IHRC every week.
In the last two weeks, over 70 incidents of verbal and written abuse have been reported ranging from obscene to threatening. This does not reflect hate email received by Muslim organisations. There have been 19 incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination reported. This is almost treble the number of such incidents reported in the month following the 9-11 attacks. Under the category of psychological pressure and harassment, including disparaging comments about Islam and Muslims made by students and ignored by teachers as simply a joke, there have been almost 20 reported incidents.
Most worrying has been the huge upsurge in serious crimes, including physical attacks and criminal damage. A total of 65 such incidents were reported in the last two weeks, including several arson attacks on mosques and Muslim owned property throughout Britain. Additionally, many Muslims have been seriously physically assaulted and one Pakistani man in Nottingham was stabbed to death by a gang of youths who were crying out "Taliban".
Similar to the incidents post 9-11, a particularly unpleasant trend that IHRC has noted involves women wearing hijab being spat upon, harassed and intimidated. Others have had rubbish thrown at them in public, been refused to board public transport and an elderly Muslim lady in a wheelchair was verbally abused and had bottles thrown at her home.
The most concerning aspect of these incidents has been the complete absence of sympathy and condemnation from both the media and the government. Not a word has been mentioned about who the victim of the Nottingham murder was, his personality or his family. Neither the Prime Minister nor any politician has publicly condemned the murder. Neither have they condemned the attacks on mosques through arranging visits of solidarity. Such inaction indirectly legitimises the baclash attacks themselves.
IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh stated:
"These are extremely worrying statistics bearing in mind that most victims do not report incidents. The enormous upsurge in Islamophobic attacks and the lack of clear-cut condemnation by the government does not bode well for Muslims in Britain or for British society as a whole."