A Muslim ‘community leader’ has criticised figures showing a fall in ‘hate crime’ cases in Lancashire, claiming that Muslims are living in “fear” in the wake of the Berlin terror attack.
Lancashire Council of Mosques chairman Abdul Hamid Qureshi argued Islamophobia is an “increasing problem”, and that the figures don’t mirror the reality of the situation for the religious community.
The statistics show that the number of hate crime reports has fallen in both Qureshi’s own locality, East Lancashire, and the county as a whole since the June referendum in which Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU).
The declining number of reports fails to reflect Muslims suffering in the wake of Islamic terror attacks, the community leader told the Lancashire Telegraph asserting that Islamophobia is growing.
“I think the reason it is falling is because people still don’t feel confident coming forward and the third party reporting helpline is still in its fairly early stages.
“But those figures don’t reflect what is really going on, especially for Muslims. There is an atmosphere of fear of intimidation. That only gets worse when there are terrorist attacks. At the moment there is an increasing problem of Islamophobia, with women becoming an increasing target,” Qureshi added.
Rises in reported hate crimes are presented in the media as evidence that Britain is in the grip of an “epidemic of hate”, and are used by bodies like the UN and NGOs like Human Rights Watch to demand politicians keep quiet on issues such as immigration.
However, a key pillar of the UK government’s strategy against hate crime is to raise the number of reports. Much of what is outlined in the “plan for tackling hate crime” is dedicated to furthering this goal, with the Home Office unveiling a whole host of measures which are being introduced “with a view, ultimately, to increase reporting.”
The document states: “[An] increase in recorded crime is welcome as it is likely to reflect improved police practice and victim confidence in coming forward to report crimes.”