An anti-Muslim hate monitoring group says a record number of Islamophobic attacks and incidents of abuse were reported in the United Kingdom in 2017, with women disproportionately targeted by mostly male teenage assailants.
The London-based monitoring group Tell Mama said in an annual report that among 1,201 verified reports submitted last year, the UK saw a surge in anti-Muslim attacks by 26 percent from 2016 — the highest number since the group began recording such incidents.
Of the victims six out of 10 were women and of the perpetrators eight out of 10 were men, with the majority aged between 13 and 18.
“We are extremely concerned at a younger generation of mainly boys and men who are becoming more aggressive in their targeting of Muslims,” said Iman Atta, the director of Tell Mama.
Focusing on the trend toward physical incidents, the monitoring group also said, “There has been a marked shift towards more serious offline incidents such as physical attacks, threatening behavior and abuse more generally.”
According to Tell Mama’s report, vandalism replaced threatening behavior as the third most common category of anti-Muslim hate incident in 2017, with a 56-percent rise compared with 2016.
More than two-thirds of the attacks and abuse, amounting to 839, took place offline, or on street level — a 31 percent rise from 642 last year. A third of incidents were online, up by 16.3 percent in comparison with the previous year.
British experts have chalked the increase up to the growth of the far right movements in the country, as well as a large number of terrorist attacks last year, such as those perpetrated in London and Manchester, which prompted a backlash of anti-Muslim hate.
More than 70 reports of Islamophobic prejudice, including hate speech and abusive behavior, were submitted after the bomb attack at Manchester Arena claimed 23 lives.
“It is shocking to learn of a 26% increase in reporting of Islamophobic hate crimes … While no doubt some of the increase is due to an increase in reporting of incidents, most people especially Muslim women are reluctant to report Islamophobia,” said Akeela Ahmed, a high-profile activist and equalities campaigner.
“These findings reflect the fact that since 2016, a growing minority of people with far-right sympathies have felt emboldened by Brexit and the 2016 US elections,” she added.
A UK police watchdog has warned of a “real possibility” that Britain’s separation from the 28-member bloc next year could trigger a further surge in hate crime.