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Are British Muslims facing increased violence?

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A number of studies would seem to suggest British Muslims are facing increased levels of violence:

  • A report produced by the group Engage in 2010 makes a number of observations relating to increased amounts of violence towards British Muslims.
  • A report produced by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2008 says that there was a 10 per cent increase in crimes involving racial or religious aggravation from the previous year, up by 1,300 to 13,008.
  • Similarly, a study in 2009 that takes into account the European Union (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 2009) finds that 11 per cent of Muslims had experienced racially motivated 'in-person crime' (covering assault, threat or serious harassment) at least once in the previous year. About a third of respondents said they had experienced discrimination over the same period, with an average of eight incidents in that year. Additionally, many Muslims did not report such attacks or cases of discrimination to the police.
  • The United Kingdom's 2007/8 Citizenship Survey (Department of Communities and Local Government 2009) finds that the proportion of people who believed there was more religious prejudice in the United Kingdom than five years previously had increased from 52 per cent in 2005 to 62 per cent in 2007/8. Of those people who felt there was more religious prejudice, 89 per cent of them believed that Muslims experienced more prejudice compared to other religious groups.

These figures are unacceptably high, and collectively suggest that Britain and Europe have become less accepting of Islam.

This is a pattern that matches the broad picture of representation of Islam in the British press: an increased focus on Islam, often placed within the context of conflict, providing implicit negative associations, with a smaller, yet vociferous, minority of journalists who seem to take pleasure in explicitly stirring up hatred ironically, perhaps, considering their distaste for 'hate preachers'.

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