A Muslim woman was attacked by a gang of women "for wearing a headscarf" in the south of London, in an example of racism in the U.K. The Muslim woman was allegedly insulted and verbally abused for wearing a headscarf while on her way to pick up her children from school, the Independent reported on Sunday. Three women reportedly ripped off her headscarf and left her "with clumps of hair missing and whiplash." No significant physical harm was reported.
The incident is an example of racism in British society, with the number of people who describe themselves as prejudiced against immigrants and Muslims increasing since 2001, according to new data from NatCen's authoritative British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, as the British daily The Guardian reported on May 27. Levels of racial prejudice were on the rise in each region in the country except for Yorkshire and Humberside, with 31 percent in 2013, compared with 37 percent in 2000.
The British offshoot of the German Islamophobic group, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, (PEGIDA) has also lured supporters in the U.K. The group held their first ever London rally on April 4 to "raise awareness of the detrimental effect of radical Islam."
The frequency and notoriety of hate crimes and violent attacks on Muslims has increased globally over the past decade, especially after the deadly attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7. Intolerance, hatred and discrimination of religious and ethnic minorities show that these problems have yet to be dealt with seriously. The threat posed by many French militants affiliated with the radical Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has led to growing intolerance toward the Muslim community in the country. The misrepresentation of Islam by militant groups like ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and the Taliban triggers more fear and anti-Muslim sentiments, not only in France, but in many Western countries. As these militant groups have carried out violent attacks and killed many, people in Europe are more inclined to act violently against Muslims and immigrants while supporting far-right political parties like the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), which received 12.6 percent of the vote in the U.K. general election in May, resulting in one seat in British parliament.