Islamophobia soars by more than 200% in Merton as London sees overall rise in racist crimes

Islamophobic crime in Merton has risen by a shocking 263% compared to last year, according to new statistics released by the Metropolitan Police.

There were 29 crimes deemed Islamophobic committed in Merton for the reporting period of the 12 months up to July 2015, compared to eight in the previous year.

Racist and religious hate crimes, which are categorised separately from Islamophobic crime, also increased by 49% in Merton, from 151 to 225 incidents.

Wimbledon Mosque secretary, Talat Malik, is surprised by the statistics and says he has not noticed any particular increase in anti-Islamic sentiment in the community.

“At the mosque we haven’t felt that. The residents of Wimbledon are generally well educated and tolerant,” he said.

He said neighbours of the Wimbledon Mosque accepted invitations to break the fast together during Ramadan this summer, showing a sense of community.

However, Fahim Akhter, chairman of the British Muslim Association of Merton, said that hostility towards the Muslim community has increased recently and indicates that incidents may even be underreported.

“In general there is an environment of anger towards Muslims,” he said.

“People are reporting every day that on public transport or on the street they face abuse.

“On many occasions people don’t bother to report [incidents to the police] because they feel that no action will be taken.”

Rising Islamophobia infographic

The figures for racially and religiously motivated crime, as well as specifically Islamophobic crime, also rose in the south west London boroughs of Lambeth, Kingston, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Croydon.

In Wandsworth the figure for Islamophobic crime remained the same as for the previous reporting year.

The latest figures compare crimes committed in all London boroughs in the 12 months up to July 2015 with the preceding 12 months up to July 2014.

The Metropolitan Police describes Islamophobic Crime as ‘any offence which is perceived to be Islamophobic by the victim or any other person, that is intended to impact upon those known or perceived to be Muslim’.

Image courtesy of Googlemaps, with thanks

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