Islamophobic hate crimes have increased five-fold in London since the weekend London Bridge attack claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group that killed eight people, Scotland Yard figures revealed on Thursday. Twenty such crimes directed at Muslims were handled by the Metropolitan Police on Tuesday, compared with a daily average for 2017 of 3.5.
The force also recorded an overall increase in the number of racist incidents in the British capital in the days after three terror suspects – identified as Pakistan-born British citizen Khuram Shazad Butt, Moroccan-origin Rachid Redouane and Moroccon-Italian Yousef Zaghba – rammed a high-speed van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing revellers at the nearby Borough Market, killing eight people before being shot dead by armed police officers.
“One of the greatest things about London is our defiant unity in the face of adversity – and that will not change in the aftermath of this horrific attack. Just as the police will do everything possible to root out extremism from our city, so we will take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime,” said London’s Pakistan-origin mayor Sadiq Khan.
“If you witness a hate crime please report it to the police. If you commit a hate crime, you face arrest,” he said. Provisional figures released by his office show the number of racist incidents recorded on Monday was 54, compared with a daily average of 38 so far this year. “I’m calling on all Londoners to pull together, and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by these hideous individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. London will never be cowed or divided by terrorism,” Khan said in his message.
Islamophobic incidents have been on the rise UK-wide since the suicide bombing in Manchester on May 22 by Salman Abedi and the attack on the UK Parliament by Khalid Masood in March.
“Terrorists are trying to divide our communities and society. People who target innocent Muslims who have nothing to do with extremism or terrorism are playing into the hands of Islamist extremist terrorists,” said Fiyaz Mughal, founder of anti-Islamophobic helpline Tell Mama [Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks].
In one recent incident, the words “terrorise your own country” were daubed on the outside of a south London Islamic centre.