Religious Hate Crimes on the Rise in England And Wales

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People Targeted are Mostly Thought to Be Muslim and Jewish

Data released by Home Office of the UK Government showed a sharp increase in hate crimes in both England and Wales. Both English police and Welsh police recorded a total of 8,336 hate incidents which were supposedly triggered by the perceived religion of the victim in the period from April 2017 to March 2018. The statistics reveal hate incidents rose by a massive 40 percent when compared to an identical period in 2017.

The study is a first by the UK Government in the sense that the data included the targets' perceived religion. The Home Office began to order police officers to compile this information from 2017 when it found there could be a difference between a person's actual religion and the perceived religion the attacker thought the victim belongs to.

Over 50 percent of such attacks were directed against Muslims. The Jewish population came second as the target of hate. The document stated that the increase in hate crimes on paper seems to be the result of improvements in the police's record-keeping facilities. The authors admitted there were jumps in hate crime incidences after certain events like the 2017 terrorist attacks and the EU referendum. The period covered in the report encompasses the Manchester Islamist atrocities, Parsons Green, London Bridge, and the ultra-right wing Finsbury Park attack.

The Home Office said the statistics of hate crimes covers terror offenses. The report, however, could be a little skewed as attacks against Muslims are counted but Islamist attacks against western targets were not included. Three-quarters of hate crimes had racial roots, with race-related crimes shooting up by 14 percent. The statistics include attacks against refugees and xenophobic attacks. The numbers are also inclusive of crimes against travelers.

A number of advocacy groups made the claim incidences of hate crimes against minorities rise post-national news events which stimulate national debate on the subject of immigration. After Muslims, Jews were the most targeted group. It is to be said that both Muslims and Jews were attacked at a rate much larger than their actual population share in both England and Wales. Only five percent of the population identify themselves as Muslim, and only 0.5 percent identify themselves as Jewish.

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