Anti-Muslim cases surge in UK since Hamas attacks, charity finds

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The charity Tell MAMA says Islamophobic incidents have become more aggressive over the past few monthsImage source, PA Media
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Imam Atta, director of charity Tell Mama, said Islamophobic incidents had become "more aggressive" over the past few months

Anti-Muslim hate in the UK has more than tripled in the four months since Hamas's attacks, a charity has found.

Tell Mama has documented 2,010 Islamophobic incidents between 7 October and 7 February - a steep rise from the 600 it recorded for the same period the year previously.

It is the largest number over four months since the charity began in 2011.

Anti-Muslim and antisemitic attacks have surged in the UK following the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Tell Mama, which describes itself as the leading agency on monitoring anti-Muslim hate crime, said slightly over half of the incidents in the past four months were cases of hate speech on social media.

But the charity also recorded cases of physical assault, abusive behaviour, threats and acts of vandalism, with the largest proportion of incidents - 576 cases - taking place in London.

Muslim women were targeted in two out of every three recorded incidents, the charity added.

Incidents recorded by the organisation include:

  • a Muslim woman in Islamic clothing being assaulted on a bus in east London and told "you Muslims are troublemakers"
  • a written death threat to worshippers at a mosque
  • a woman whose car was vandalised with a Nazi swastika
  • cases of Muslim women being called "terrorists"

Tell Mama director Iman Atta told the BBC: "Individuals walking down the streets are being targeted, harassed, households have been doodled with graffiti calling people 'killers', 'terrorists', 'Hamas sympathisers'.

"Anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia is gendered - it's misogyny as well as the visibility of that woman being either of an Asian background or wearing visible Muslim attires."

Reports of hate incidents in the UK have soared since 7 October, when Hamas gunmen infiltrated southern Israel killing about 1,200 people and taking 253 hostage.

Israel responded by launching a military campaign in Gaza, during which more than 29,000 people have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Last week, the Community Security Trust (CST), which tracks antisemitic incidents across the UK, said 4,103 attacks were recorded against members of the Jewish community in 2023.

Two thirds of these occurred on or after October 7 - marking an almost six-fold increase in cases compared to the same period in 2022.

"The war unfortunately is impacting our communities here in the UK," Ms Atta said.

"Muslim communities, Jewish communities are picking up the brunt of the war.

"Emotions are running very high, but one thing both communities agree on is that we all need to be able to go around our day-to-day basis feeling safe, feeling that we're not going to be targeted for who we are.

"A Muslim woman should not have to take off her headscarf just because she doesn't want to be targeted, nor a Jewish person should have to hide their Star of David because they don't want to be targeted."

The government said it condemned the recent rise in reported anti-Muslim hatred and antisemitism, adding there was "no place for hate in our society".

"We expect the police to fully investigate all hate crimes and work with the CPS to make sure the cowards who commit these abhorrent offences feel the full force of the law," a spokesperson said, adding that further funding had been made available to communities to provide additional security at places of worship and faith schools.