Hate crimes in Britain surged by the highest amount on record last year, official figures showed with the vote to leave the European Union a significant factor, raising concerns about a backlash against Muslims, immigrants and others groups.
The Home Office said there were 80,393 offences in 2016/17, a rise of 29 percent from the year before and the largest percentage increase since the figures were first collated five years ago.
While better recording by police was one reason, last June's vote for Brexit which sparked attacks on some eastern European communities, was another significant reason.
"Part of the increase since 2015/16 is due to a genuine increase in hate crime, particularly around the time of the EU referendum," the Home Office report said.
The report also noted that race hate crimes, which made up the vast bulk of all hate crimes, had increased after a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London killing four people before stabbing a policeman to death outside parliament.
"The Westminster Bridge attack occurred on the 22 March 2017. Although there were only nine days remaining in March when the attack took place, an increase is still apparent," the report said.
As the number of British whites accounted for arrests for terrorism-related offences increases, Muslims in the U.K. have been suffering from rising hate crimes in the country. There are around 3 million Muslims living in the U.K. Islamophobia and discrimination have seen a dramatic spike in the country in the wake of Manchester and London terror attacks earlier this year. Muslims in the U.K. have been suffering from rising hate crimes in the country over the past several months. Anti-Muslim hate crimes skyrocketed by more than 500 percent following the May 22 concert suicide bombing in Manchester, local police said. Anti-Muslim hate crimes were already on the rise – by 186 percent – in April before the Manchester attack, which left 22 dead and dozens injured.
The assassination of lawmaker Jo Cox a year ago was the most visible manifestation of the darker undercurrents at play among far-right fanatics in Britain. But many Muslims say they have long been suffering from daily abuse that has only intensified as tensions surface over flashpoints such as Europe's refugee crisis and Britain's Brexit vote to quit the EU.
Some attacks are physical or verbal, others involve graffiti, the hurling of feces and vomit, or smearing bacon on car windscreens. According to government statistics, British whites accounted for 91 of 260 arrests for terrorism-related offenses last year, an increase of 28 percent from 2015 and the only ethnic group to show an increase.