Islamophobic hate crime rising in UK: Head of Muslim foundation

World
Mon, 10 Oct 2022 9:19 GMT
Hate crimes in the United Kingdom are on the rise because the government "tends to try to appease the far right by adopting some of their positions,” according to a prominent Muslim scholar.
Islamophobic hate crime rising in UK: Head of Muslim foundation

Hate crimes in the United Kingdom are on the rise because the government "tends to try to appease the far right by adopting some of their positions,” according to a prominent Muslim scholar.

Anas Altikriti, CEO of Cordoba Foundation, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the British Muslim community has sensed that "there is a tangible rise in the far-right and far-right groups that are now in government.”

His comments came after the publication of statistics Thursday by Britain's Home Office that showed Islamophobic hate crimes in England and Wales skyrocketed last year with Muslims the most targeted group for the year ending March 2022.

The number of religious hate crimes recorded by police that targeted Muslims was 3,459, a 42% increase since last year.

"The figures that came out today only go to confirm the actual feeling that is quite tangible and quite powerful throughout the Muslim community we have been sensing, and seeing, observing ourselves, the rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and actions as well as the narrative, the overall overriding narrative, whether it be official, whether it be through society – that classes Muslims as almost second class citizens on the margins of society that are deserving of being the targets of the overall rise of far-right and nationalist sentiments,” said Altikriti, whose group tries to bridge "the gap of understanding between the Muslim World and the West.”

"It's something that confirms those kinds of feelings. I think that the actual figures are far greater than what we saw will be it that they do confirm that Muslims are the targets of the, you know, the greatest anti-religious sentiments expressed against any religious minority. The fact is that this is something that we've been warning about for more than a decade now,” he said.

Altikriti underlined that "there is a tangible rise in far-right and far-right groups that are now in government, only 15 years ago, were almost banished to the sidelines of societies.”

"The first thing I would warn against is to ask the victims to solve the problem of the culprits. The abuser in this particular case, you know, someone who's racist, a government, which is Islamophobic – I mean, what can I do?” said Altikriti.

He said he finds it "extremely difficult to engage in discussions whereby the Muslim community is discussing building fences around the community trying to isolate ourselves – we'll secure ourselves with CCTV cameras with high fences with bodyguards and as such, that's not what we want as Muslims.”

"We are British citizens. We want to be part of Britain or we want Britain to be part of our religious institutions. We want to accept our neighbors into our mosques. We want, you know, to have the discussion about the problems and the challenges that face all of us, whether it be about the cost of living, whether it be about energy bills, whether it be about government budgets, and taxation and all of that. We want – we are part of all of this and we want to be part of the general discussion. The issue of racism, whether it be Islamophobia, whether it be anti-Semitism, whether it be any other targeting of any other minority religious or otherwise, it's something that we all have to work together in order to solve.”

Altikriti said the problem is not only Islamophobia but other religious groups targeted by hate crimes.

"I can't solve only my problem as a Muslim. So, the problem of Islamophobia was for instance– my Jewish neighbors are being attacked, or my Hindu neighbors are being attacked, or the such or someone is trying to stir up problems such as we're seeing in Leicester and Birmingham and as such, between Hindus and Muslims,” he said.

"This is something that we must work all together in order to confront and I'm not saying here about us as minorities, I'm talking about all British people because as we saw with the civil rights movement in America whether it be 30, 40, 50 years, 200 years, there will come a time when the culprits, when the perpetrator of these discriminatory crimes, will have to come to account.

"And we don't want our children to pay the price for the ignorance and arrogance and stupidity of people amongst us today,” he said.

DailySabah-AA

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