Dossier reveals a massive rise in attacks on British Muslims

By Ian Herbert and Ian Burrell
04 January 2002

The rate of attacks on British Muslims since the
terrorist atrocities in America is more than 13 times
higher than in a typical year, according to figures
compiled recently by Islamic organisations.

More than 400 attacks since 11 September, ranging from
nuisance calls to fire-bombings, have been logged by a
team of 300 field workers from Muslim organisations
across Britain.

The dossier, compiled by the Islamic Human Rights
Commission, shows that Britain's Muslims are living in
an atmosphere of heightened hostility and mistrust,
which has continued during the campaign in Afghanistan
and after the recent arrests of suspected British
Muslim terrorists.

The commission said the number of incidents reported
was more than four times as many as recorded, on
average, in any 12 months.

Ahmed Versi, the editor of Muslim News, said: "People
have the perception that anyone who looks like a
Muslim is a terrorist. It is important that they
should distinguish between a few individuals and the
majority who have nothing to do with these attacks."

Much of the "Islamophobia" is expressed in the form of
low-level harassment. But even physical attacks are
often not being reported to the police.

Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain,
said there had been an increase in discrimination,
especially against those wearing beards or
headscarves. Muslim children had also reported being
harassed and called "terrorists" by fellow pupils. "We
are made to feel like outsiders, like fifth
columnists," he said.

The rise in attacks reported by Muslim outreach
workers, may not be reflected in official figures.
Greater Manchester Police said it had not observed a
"noticeable rise" inanti-Muslim attacks. But police in
South Wales and in east London did record upsurges.
The South Wales Chief Constable, Tony Burden, said the
rise was "due to the events in America". 


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