Race-hate crimes surge after bombs

By Colin Brown and Nigel Morris
Published: 03 August 2005

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article303276.ece

Scotland Yard figures show there has been a rise of 600 per cent in attacks motivated by religious hatred in London since the 7 July suicide bombings.

The soaring increase in faith-hate attacks in the capital last night caused alarm among politicians on all sides who had united in praising Britain for refusing to bow to the bombers' strategy to spread hatred and divide the community.

The figures, released last night, showed there were 269 such incidents reported since the suicide bombings compared to only 40 in the same three-and-a-half week period last year. In the immediate three-day aftermath of the attacks there were 68 faith-hate crimes in the capital. There were none in the same period 12 months ago.

Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said: "There is no doubt that incidents impacting on the Muslim community have increased."

Most of the incidents were low-level abuse or minor assaults but they had a great "emotional impact" on communities, he said. "It can lead to these communities completely retreating and not engaging at a time when we want their support," he added.

Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, led government efforts yesterday to avoid a backlash among young Muslims at being targeted for police checks by meeting Muslim community leaders in Oldham.

In a U-turn, she pledged that Muslims would not be discriminated against.

She added: "The counter-terrorism powers are not targeting any community in particular but are targeting terrorists," she said. "That is why they have got to be intelligence-led and used proportionally, fairly, and in a non-discriminatory way."





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