Community faces risk of aggression and coercion
3rd December 2010: Muslims are in the line of fire. A new report indicates anti-Muslim hate crime is widespread. The community faces a risk of aggression and coercion not only from politically-motivated attackers and gangs, but also individuals not aligned to extremist groups.
The areas of concern brought out in the report authored by Robert Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer are: Mosques in isolated communities are vulnerable to attack; abuse of and assaults on women have increased; street violence is prevalent; demonstrations by the EDL spread fear and anxiety; there is serious under-reporting of violent attacks by victims. The report goes on to examine the demonisation in the media of Muslim leaders, what it terms ‘institutional Islamophobia’, and political discrimination against Muslim organisations.
According to a Institute of Race Relations news team: `The report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK from the European Muslim Research Centre confirms much of what was intimated in its first, slim report in January this year.
`The new report, over 200 pages in length, concludes that anti-Muslim hate crime is rife and Muslims face a threat of violence and intimidation from both politically-motivated attackers and gangs and individuals not aligned to extremist groups.
`In fact, the influence of mainstream political commentators poses a threat of political violence. The majority of attacks are carried out by those with no allegiance to the British National Party or the English Defence League (EDL) against Muslims, Islamic institutions and mosques. They appear to have been incited by the very negative portrayal of Muslims in the media`.
`It asks the government as a matter of urgency to tackle anti-Muslim hate crime and to fund community groups already having to support its victims. It calls ‘Islamophobia and discrimination’ the coalition government’s ‘litmus test’ of fairness and social justice and urges it to promote inclusion via dialogue with ‘community representatives’.
The ongoing research by the Institute of Race Relations had earlier also ‘exposed the reach of racial violence that continues to spread across the county’.
Random street attacks by gangs of youths; attacks on workers in isolated jobs, such as taxi drivers, takeaway and restaurant owners, and railway staff; alcohol-fuelled racist abuse; arson attacks and cases of graffiti and vandalism — all figure in a list of `some of the most serious cases of abuse and physical violence’ between January and June 2010.
Attacks on Muslims and vandalism in and around mosques also feature highly on the list.