28 May 2013

71 hate crimes reported since Woolwich – police

In the five days following Lee Rigby’s murder in Woolwich there were 71 hate crimes reported to police, as well as nearly 200 allegations of Islamophobia received by a special phone line.

71 hate crimes recorded by police since Lee Rigby attack in Woolwich.

The number, released by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), includes attacks on 10 mosques and follows a weekend of marches and protests by far-right groups.

It added to a growing list of incidents linked to the Woolwich murder last week. The Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre was targeted by arsonists on Sunday night, despite an increased police presence in the area following another attack on the complex three days earlier.

On the same day as Drummer Rigby’s killing, a mosque at Braintree in Essex was targeted in what was described as a “revenge” attack. Witnesses described a man running in carrying two knives. Police later made an arrest.

A rally on Monday by the English Defence League saw three hours of clashes in central London. On Tuesday evening, four people were charged as a result of the police operation. During the protests and subsequent disorder, the Met Police made 13 arrests for offences ranging from racially-aggravated criminal damage to violent disorder.

Revealing the figures to Channel 4 News, an Acpo spokesman said: “The National Community Tension Team (NCTT) has been monitoring hate crime levels and trends since the attack in Woolwich on 22 May. Police forces have been asked to report any details of hate crimes or incidents of note to the NCTT.

“The NCTT have shared this information with government.”

Elsewhere, the Tell Mama hotline, which stands for Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks, and records incidents of Islamaphobia said it had received 193 calls by Monday – a sharp contrast to the average of three or four a day it would normally expect.

The NCTT collates information from local police forces, local authorities and government departments to build a picture of issues affecting communities.

According to Home Office figures, from 2011 to 2012 there were more than 37,000 reported hate crimes motivated by race or religion in England and Wales.

Swastikas daubed on road signs in Woolwich.

Social media

Lee Rigby’s death triggered a wave of of demonstrations across the country over the weekend and the bank holiday, with racial abuse also reported on social media.

On Friday, a 23-year-old and a 22-year-old, from Bristol, were held under the public order act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred. They were later bailed.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has written to Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe asking for vigilance in prosecuting those who “incite murder or hatred” on Twitter.

Chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “Muslims are justifiably scared at the moment, as there is a backlash taking place, mosques have been attacked and threats towards Muslims are common on social media, we call on the police to protect communities from any sort of racist or Islamaphobic attack.

More from Channel 4 News: Is Islamophobia becoming acceptable?

There are at least three sites near the site of Drummer Rigby’s death where swastikas have been drawn on street signs and shops (see left).

And a banner unfurled at the Scottish cup final caused a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment when the slogan was wrongly read as “Islam CSC”.

The flag actually read “Achill Island CSC” and belonged to a group of fans from an island on the west coast of Ireland.

The misreading led to hundreds of anti-Islamic posts on Twitter and Facebook.