|Home | Articles | News | Blog | About | Mailing List | Resources | Prominent Islamists | Middle East Forum | Keep Us Informed | Donate|
Hate Crimes Against Jews and Muslims in the UK
by Johanna Markind
This is an edited and compressed version of the article, "British Jews Far More Likely to be Victims of Hate Crime Than Muslims," that appeared in Breitbart.
Britain's Conservative Party victory in recent Parliamentary elections gives it the opportunity to implement a campaign promise, requiring United Kingdom police to record anti-Muslim hate crimes. Muslims as hate-crime victims has become a familiar trope. A British government report published in December 2013 asserted, "Muslim adults were the most likely to be a victim of religiously motivated hate crime."
On another front, this year the BBC reported that the number of anti-Semitic incidents doubled over the last year. Ranging from an assault with a baseball bat, to death threats, to being spat upon for wearing a head-covering, Jews are increasingly targeted in the UK. The report of an All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism issued in February found: "Disturbingly, antisemitism both physical and verbal has increased not just across mainland Europe but also in the UK... whilst there was a dip in incidents between late 2009 and 2013, numbers have approximately doubled since the late 1990s..."
Even during the 'dip' period noted in the All-Party report, anti-Semitic crimes accounted for 15.47%-33.75% of all religiously-motivated hate crimes.
Since then, anti-Semitic hate crimes have risen sharply. The BBC reported 358 in London alone during 2014, more than in the whole country during 2013-14. The Community Security Trust, Britain's equivalent to the ADL, "recorded 1,168 antisemitic incidents in 2014, more than double the 535 antisemitic incidents recorded in 2013... There were 81 violent antisemitic assaults..."
Official UK crime statistics do not separately report crimes targeting either Jews or Muslims. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) does report anti-Semitic crimes on its True Vision website, the source of the above data. UK police do not consistently track and report anti-Muslim hate crime. The Independent and Guardian reported that 24 police forces, or nearly half of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, do not record and report hate crimes against Muslims. London Metropolitan Police do; they reported 611 in 2014.
The UK has tried to make up for the absence of hard data by expanding its crime survey for the years 2011-13 (i.e., two UK fiscal years). Presumably by design, the percentages of survey respondents from each religious category approximated their proportion of UK population. That method may not be well-suited to analyzing hate crimes, which typically target minority populations. About .5% of respondents (roughly 405 people) of the 2011-13 report were Jewish, too few to be reported separately. The effect was to downplay the number and percentage of hate crimes targeting Jews. Muslims, who form about 4.3% of the population under the 2011 census and 3.9% of survey respondents (about 3,159 people), were separately reported.
The report concluded, "Muslim adults were the most likely to be a victim of religiously motivated hate crime." The claim was reiterated in a May 2014 government anti-hate crime pamphlet, "Challenge It, Report It, Stop It": "Analysis of religiously motivated hate crime and racially motivated hate crime by religion shows that Muslim adults were more likely to be a victim of both these crimes than other adults."
The claim, based on self-reported survey results unverified by police and incomplete, non-empirical data, may be true in terms of raw numbers, but not percentages.
Based on the existing police numbers, and despite a Muslim population almost ten times larger than the Jewish population (2,706,066 Muslims and 263,346 Jews, according to the 2011 census), Jews were far more likely than Muslims to be victims of a hate crime that year. Based on police estimates, .02% of Muslims suffered from hate crimes, whereas .12% of Jews did; Jews were six times more likely to suffer a hate crime. In London, there were 1,013,000 Muslims and 149,000 Jews in 2011. Based on actual police records, .03% of Muslims and .13% Jews suffered from hate crimes; Jews were over four times more likely to suffer a hate crime.
Perhaps realizing the thinness of its claims, the British 2013-14 hate crimes report did not presume to identify the percentage of religious hate crimes targeting specific religious groups, but it implied that an increase in raw numbers was inspired by the May 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby (by Islamist radicals), i.e., by anti-Muslim crime.
This is a familiar story. Muslim victimization claims play into the hands of those trying to silence critics of Islamist ideology, or to seek special benefits for Islam. They are frequently used to change the conversation after violence perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam, portraying Muslims as victims rather than perpetrators (here, here, here, here, here, and here).
It would be a welcome change if the British government assembled data tracking the actual scope of the problem of crimes against Moslems as well as against Jews, and relied on this hard data while avoiding "rhetorical, polemical" victimization claims. It would also be welcome if the British government took effective steps to combat hate crime and devoted resources commensurate with the proportional scope of the problem.
The author is Associate Counselor for the Middle East Forum, a think-tank focusing on Islamist radicalism. This article was sponsored by Larry and Brian Grodman.