CAIRO - A Muslim helpline has found that women are taking the full brunt of anti-Muslim discrimination and racial hatred in Britain, criticizing the police for failing to provide a helping hand to victims.
We are calling on police and politicians to do more to tackle this shameful wave of fear and prejudice, Fiyaz Mughal, coordinator of Tell MAMA helpline and director of non-profit group Faith Matters, told The Guardian.From the internet, to the workplace, the street and even houses of worship, too often Muslim women and men are becoming the target of vicious, sometimes violent, abuse.
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A report compiled from complaints to the Muslim helpline over the past year found that women were the prime victims of racial attacks.
It found that 58% of victims in 630 racial incidents recorded in the past year were women.
The report revealed that the majority of physical assaults on the streets targeted women wearing Islamic clothing.
The most shocking attacks included a family being forced from their home in Nottinghamshire.
A five-year-old Muslim girl was also knocked over by a hit-and-run driver and a Somali lady who had dog faeces placed on her head by a white man while shopping in south London.
High-profile female targets have included communities minister Lady Warsi who was threatened online by an English Defence League (EDL) member.
Another attack targeted the 14-year-old son of journalist Jemima Khan, who received anti-Muslim comments on Twitter.
Of the perpetrators, the majority were subsequently found to have had links to recognized far-right groups such as the EDL or the British National Party (BNP), the report found.
Members of the BNP or EDL were involved in 54% of all incidents, with average age between 21 and 30.
The recorded information provided to the helpline has led to the arrests of 21 far-right EDL supporters, with more than 40 incidents reported against EDL leader Tommy Robinson.
Launched a year ago, Tell Mama (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) is an initiative run by interfaith group Faith Matters.
The helpline is meant to shed light on the actual scale of anti-Muslim discrimination to help uproot the problem.
The report also criticized the British police for failing to provide a helping hand to victims of anti-Muslim discrimination.
The police frequently fail to take victim statements, fail to appreciate the terrifying effects of these incidents upon women and vulnerable children," said Mughal, a former adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Few police forces even bother to record Islamophobia as part of their reporting systems.
The Muslim leader called on the British police to improve their recording of Islamophobic crimes.
More training is needed at a time when police are facing budget cuts; we need more leadership too from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which, unhelpfully, has talked about fewer rather than more social media prosecutions.
At the moment, just two forces, the Metropolitan police and City of London police, currently record anti-Muslim crimes separately.
Mughal urged the Home Office to take over monitoring of online hate and far-right groups from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
"Recent history shows us what happens if we allow our fears to run unchecked," he said.
Demonization of 'the other', misguided beliefs that Muslims are somehow a monolithic block, unchecked lies that Islam is a violent religion or that British Muslims wish to abuse white girls must be challenged.
The results follow a report by think-tank Chatham House which identified a considerable Islamophobic sentiment in Britain, detecting a "wide reservoir of public sympathy for claims that Islam and the growth of settled, Muslim communities pose a fundamental threat to the native group and nation."
Hostility against British Muslims, estimated at nearly 2.5 million, have been on the rise since 2005's 7/7 attacks.
Police data shows that 1,200 anti-Muslim attacks were reported in Britain in 2010.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net