Hate crimes targeting mosques on the increase in the UK

Jamia Mosque, Rotherham
Jamia Mosque, Rotherham

Hate crimes targeting mosques and other Muslim places of worship across the UK more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, new figures reveal.

Hate crimes targeting mosques and other Muslim places of worship across the UK more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, new figures reveal.

Police forces across the country recorded 110 hate crimes directed at mosques between March and July this year, up from just 47 over the same period in 2016.

In South Yorkshire there were two offences recorded last year, compared to none the year before.

In February a police investigation was launched after a 'hate' letter was sent to the Jamia Masjid in College Road, Masbrough, Rotherham.

West Yorkshire Police recorded six offences last year, compared to eight the year before.

There were no offences recorded in Derbyshire.

Racist abuse and threats to 'bomb the mosque' feature heavily among the hate crimes, as do incidents of offenders smashing windows on buildings and parked cars, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Other records include offensive graffiti sprayed onto buildings, violent assaults on worshippers, two cases of arson and two cases of individuals leaving bacon on door handles at mosques.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott called the figures 'deeply troubling'.

"Attacks on any religious group or minority are abominable," she said.

"These anti-Muslim attacks will be condemned by all decent people."

Figures, based on 42 responses from 45 forces show that 25 forces saw a year-on-year increase in hate crimes directed at mosques, with the biggest rise reported by Greater Manchester Police, with nine offences reported up from zero.

More than 50 places of worship, almost half of them mosques, applied for the most recent round of anti-hate crime funding from the Government, which ended in June.

Applications for funding, intended to provide security measures, were made available to all places of worship in April and May but extended into June after terror attacks at the start of the summer.

A Home Office spokesman said: "All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable and the UK has some of the strongest laws in the world to tackle it."