Islamophobic hate crimes, already a serious problem in Great Britain, increased by nearly 50 percent in the past year alone, according to new government data.
In 2011 there were 318 reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in Britain, followed by 336 last year. But in 2013 the number rose sharply to 500 reported incidents.
These figures come from municipal police forces, most of which track such crimes.
However, according to the Press Association, which obtained these numbers by submitting Freedom of Information requests to every police branch in England and Wales, as many as two in five police forces don’t track anti-Muslim hate crimes. As a result, there were likely even more than 500 Islamophobic crimes in Britain this year, ranging from violent assaults to leaving a severed pig’s head outside a mosque.
One private group that monitors Islamophobia in Britain, Tell Mama, says it has recorded 840 anti-Muslim hate crimes in the past eight months alone.
Some of the uptick can be attributed to a backlash following a grizzly attack in May when two Islamic extremists killed a British soldier in London. In May and June alone, there were 212 anti-Muslim hate crimes across Britain.
Fiyaz Mujhal of Tell Mama blamed far-right organizations like the anti-Islam group English Defence League that “perniciously use the Internet and social media to promote vast amounts of online hate.”
Of course, anti-Muslim sentiments are alive and well in the United States as well. Muslims in New York have been under increased scrutiny and surveillance by the city’s police department. Job applicants who happen to be Muslim are less likely to get the job because of their background. And Islamophobic views are most regularly espoused on Fox News, whether it’s a host (and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate) referring to Muslims as “uncorked animals” and openly worrying that a local swim class for Muslim girls portended the rise of Sharia law in the United States.