RACIST crime is growing across Scotland despite a multi-million-pound Executive campaign to tackle the problem, according to the latest police figures obtained.
3,387 racially-aggravated crimes and offences were recorded by the country's eight police forces between April and December this year, compared with 3,192 during the same period last year - a rise of 6 per cent.
The biggest increase has been seen in the Lothian and Borders police area, where police recorded 970 assaults and other racially-aggravated offences between April and December this year - up 26 per cent on the 768 crimes recorded for the same period in 2005.
In 2005-6, 4,294 racially-aggravated crimes were recorded by police - 358 every month and more than ten times the level recorded in 2001-2.
Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, told the Scoptsman newspaper:
"The police have not got to grips with the scale of the problem, which is vast. Incidents are not being reported because there isn't a good link-up between communities and the police.
"People are more likely to be called a terrorist than a Paki. It's more likely to be religiously-based abuse, particularly directed against Islam. The One Scotland campaign is fine but it isn't really dealing with the changing face of racism. There's an elephant in the room at the moment, attacks directed at Islam, which no-one is addressing. One Scotland isn't hitting those buttons."
"Increase in race hate crimes casts doubt on 'One Scotland' campaign" - Scotman report, 27 December 2006