Antisemitic hate crime soars in region since outbreak of Israel-Hamas war

Antisemitic hate crime soars in region since outbreak of Israel-Hamas war

Islamophobic offences also rose for some forces in the UK, although the picture was more mixed across the country.

Jewish charities called the findings “shocking”, while campaigners against anti-Muslim abuse said the data was “deeply worrying”.

The Home Office condemned the rise in offences, adding: “There is no place for hate in our society.”

The figures have been obtained using Freedom of Information requests. They show that West Midlands Police recorded 22 antisemitic offences from October 7 to November 7, compared with one in 2022 and eight in 2021.

The force recorded 25 Islamophobic offences this year, although that is down from 33 last year and compares to 23 in 2021.

Other figures made available show that reported hate crimes in the West Mercia force area are also up, with three antisemitic offences from October 7 to November 7 compared to none in the equivalent period last year. There were four Islamophobic offences, the same as in 2022. No figures were available for the Staffordshire force.

Other areas also reveal a greater problem than in the West Midlands.

Greater Manchester Police recorded 74 antisemitic offences in the month following the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, compared with 15 for the same period in 2022 and 14 in 2021, while West Yorkshire Police recorded 53, compared with 10 (2022) and 14 (2021).

The British Transport Police had one of the largest increases, recording 87 antisemitic offences in the month after October 7, up from eight in the same period in 2022 and 11 in 2021, as well as a jump in Islamophobic offences with 22 (2023), up from two (2022) and eight (2021).

The Community Security Trust described the figures as “shocking” and said they made clear “the extent of the unacceptable rise in anti-Jewish hatred across the country since the Hamas terror attack on October 7”.

A spokesman for the Jewish charity said: “This wave of antisemitism was triggered by the mass murder, rape and kidnapping of Jews in Israel, and is fuelled and sustained by extremist hatred online and on our streets.

“It is essential that perpetrators are identified and prosecuted, and that wider society shows its disgust for this racist hate crime.”

Tell Mama, which monitors and works to tackle anti-Muslim sentiment and abuse in the UK, said that “levels of anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination are deeply worrying, impacting trust in authorities and their sense of identity and belonging”.

Iman Atta, the organisation’s director, said there had been a “significant spike in anti-Muslim hate since the atrocities on October 7”, adding: “The nature of many offline cases sent to our service is often overtly racist – targeting Arab and Palestinian communities with dehumanising slurs, anti-Muslim slurs or in some cases targeting their homes, or when speaking Arabic in public, as well as targeting Muslim communities across all ages and gender.

“We should never allow such hatred and intolerance to take root in our communities and at this time, please look out for each other, whether Muslim or Jewish. We must stand together against intolerance, hate and racism.”

The Metropolitan Police, the largest force in the UK, said delays prevented it from supplying full figures until the new year, but it had previously reported 218 antisemitic and 101 Islamophobic offences between October 1 and 18 this year, compared with 15 and 42 respectively in the same period in 2022.

The Press Association obtained full responses from 31 of the 46 forces across the UK, with the data representing a snapshot of what has currently been recorded by forces and is therefore subject to change.

Methods for recording hate crime are not consistent across forces, so the data cannot be used to compare the number of offences between different areas or provide an overall total for the whole of the UK.

But the figures do point to a jump in antisemitic offences recorded by forces concentrated mostly in cities or across built-up areas, while the pattern for Islamophobic offences was more varied.

Some forces that operate across a mix of urban and less populated areas tend to show a similar pattern, although with lower volumes of offences – for example Hertfordshire Police (17 antisemitic offences for the period in 2023, compared with six in 2022 and three in 2021) and Thames Valley Police (21 antisemitic offences in 2023, one in 2022 and four in 2021).

Data obtained from smaller forces, or those covering areas with few towns or cities, typically showed low numbers of offences, often in single figures, meaning a clear trend was hard to determine.

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said the findings “provide further evidence of the huge upsurge in antisemitism following the Hamas massacre of October 7”.

The board, seen as the voice of the British Jewish community with over 300 deputies directly elected by the synagogues and communal organisations they represent, told PA the rise in antisemitism had “caused enormous anxiety for Jewish people, particularly children and Jewish students on campus or indeed anyone easily identified as Jewish by their dress”.

A spokesman added: “We call on police to take strong action against anyone found to be perpetrating hate crimes.”

The Muslim Council of Britain said: “Despite the extremely low reporting rate from Muslim communities, the huge increase in Islamophobic hate crimes recorded with the police reflects what we are seeing from third-party reporting groups.

“The Government’s laissez-faire attitude to Islamophobia contrasts strongly with its no-tolerance approach to antisemitism. We are hopeful this will now change.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “There is no place for hate in our society and we condemn the recent rise in reported antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred.

“We expect the police to fully investigate all hate crimes and work with the CPS to make sure the cowards who commit these abhorrent offences feel the full force of the law.

“Following recent events, we have also made further funding available to Jewish and Muslim communities, to provide additional security at places of worship and faith schools.”

Source: Express and Star


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