Anti-Muslim violence increases in UK amid Brexit campaign, report says
by Compiled from Wire Services
ISTANBULOct 05, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Compiled from Wire Services
Oct 05, 2016 12:00 am
The Council of Europe voiced concern Tuesday at the sharp rise in anti-Muslim violence in Britain in recent years, adding that campaigning for the Brexit referendum led to a further rise in "anti-foreigner sentiment." The Strasbourg-based council, a human rights and democracy watchdog body separate from the EU, said tabloid newspapers notably fueled hate-speech.
In the report, the Council's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) condemned the "considerable intolerant political discourse in the U.K., particularly focusing on immigration."
"It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the U.K. at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians," said ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund.
"The Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in 'anti-foreigner' sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority."
In a shock referendum result, Britain voted on June 23 to leave the 28-nation European Union.
Pro-Brexit supporters campaigned heavily on immigration, and the need to regain control over Britain's borders, in a referendum battle fought against the background of Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II. As well as "intolerance" which it said was promoted by the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), the report also noted criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron when he talked in July 2015 about a "swarm" of migrants trying to reach Britain.
The 91-page report by the ECRI, its fifth to cover the United Kingdom, was compiled based on information up to March 17 this year, three months before the landmark Brexit vote.
There has been a surge in hate crimes across Britain in the wake of June's referendum, which saw Britons vote to exit the European Union with immigration as one of the key issues. At its peak, there was a 58 percent increase in hate crimes and police recorded more than 14,000 such crimes in the period running from a week before the vote to mid-August.
Minority groups have suffered several verbal attacks throughout the country in recent days, and the National Police Chiefs' Council said it had detected a 57 percent rise in police reports.
Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which is a national project that records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the United Kingdom, said its annual report showed a surge in anti-Muslim hatred, fueled by terrorist incidents, was happening well before the EU referendum.
The British government announced a new plan to fight against hate crimes in July.
"We are clear that there is no excuse for hate crimes against anyone of any nationality, ethnicity or religious background - it has no place whatsoever in our diverse society," the Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism Sarah Newton said.