Hate crimes against Muslims soar

Muslim women are more likely to be attacked.Reuters

Hate crimes against Muslims in London have risen by nearly three quarters in a year.

Metropolitan Police figures show 816 Islamophobic offences recorded across the capital from August 2014 to July 2015 compared to 478 for the previous 12 months.

About 60 per cent of victims were women who wear a headscarf or hijab, according to Fiyaz Mughal from Tell MAMA, an organisation that monitors Islamophobic incidents.

"We also realised quite early on that women who wear niqab, the face veil, suffered more aggressive incidents – there was something about the face veil that in a way brought out the worst in the perpetrator," he told the BBC.

Attacks rose by 70 per cent overall, the Met said, but some boroughs reported twice as many as last year.

Merton saw incidents rise by 262 per cent, from eight to 29, while in Richmond-upon-Thames nine crimes were reported, compared with just one for the previous year.

Westminster had the highest number of incidents in 2014-15 with 54 Islamophobic crimes, according to Scotland Yard's figures.

The increase was partly due to an increased willingness of victims to report crimes and an awareness of Met staff in identifying those particular offences.

The force's lead for hate crime, Mak Chishty, said: "We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and arrest offenders. Victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police.

"No one should suffer in silence, so please report hate crime to us as soon as possible so we can act."