British men who 'look Muslim' face abuse, says study

Reuters

In an indication of what Muslims in the UK have experienced after Brexit and the terrorist attacks, a new study has shown that non-Muslim men have suffered verbal, physical and emotional abuse because they 'look Muslim'.

Interviewees described how animal excrement had been pushed through their letter boxes and their shop windows smashed, and how they were called terrorists or linked to Isis because of their skin colour or their beards, according to The Independent.

The researchers interviewed 20 non-Muslim men aged between 19 and 59 from black, white and Asian backgrounds, including those from the Sikh, Christian and Hindu faiths, as well as atheists, with their responses remaining anonymous in order to prevent them from being identified.

In the research, presented in Parliament during Hate Crime Awareness Week, Dr Imran Awan and Dr Irene Zempi argued that the experiences of non-Muslim men suffering Islamophobia because they look Muslim remains invisible, both in official statistics and in academic research.

'Although it's a case of mistaken identity, Islamophobic abuse should not be happening in the first place,' Dr Awan, Associate Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University, told The Independent.

He said the research showed how victims are targeted 'based on prejudice and stereotypes'.

The researchers found that hate crimes would spike after 'trigger events' such as terror attacks or last year's EU referendum.

One interviewee said they were sent a message on social media saying: 'Vote Out. Kick out the Muslims.' Another said that after Brexit they were told: 'Today is the day we get rid of the likes of you.'

Others who were questioned said they had noticed an increase in harassment after Islamist terror attacks around the world.

'Every time there's a major terrorism incident there's a sharp rise in hate directed at me and my family,' said one participant.

Another said: 'Sadly the overall situation is deteriorating. Islamophobia is having an increasing impact on the lives of Asian men who look Muslim. The hatred that lies behind Islamophobia is spreading.'

The findings chimed with new figures released yesterday by the Home Office which showed hate crimes rocketed by around a third in the UK in the past year, with the police recording unprecedented spikes around the EU referendum and terror attacks.

Lifestyle