New Research leads focus on anti-Muslim hate crime

EXETER University

A new report launched today 28 January reveals the trends behind
underreported violence against Muslims in London. It illuminates how
contexts of fear and prejudice against Muslims are providing a basis
for violence against Muslim communities. This is the first step in a
ten year research project led by the European Muslim Research Centre
at the University of Exeter that will investigate Islamophobia and
anti-Muslim hate crime in towns and cities across Europe.

Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Dr Robert Lambert MBE, of the University
of Exeter co-authored 'Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: a
London Case Study' the first study from the new European Muslim
Research Centre.This reportis being launched today in partnership with
Muslim community groups to provide research for and about Muslims in
Europe. The authors call for anti-Muslim hate crimes to be taken more
seriously by government, media and the police.

The report finds that Muslim Londoners face a threat of violence and
intimidation from three groups. Firstly from a small violent extremist
nationalist milieu that has broadly the same political analysis as the
British National Party (BNP). Secondly from London gangs who have no
allegiance with or affinity to the BNP. Thirdly from a small number of
Londoners and visitors to London who appear to be acting on prejudices
gained via negative media portrayals of Muslims as terrorists and
security threats.

The report illustrates how perpetrators of hate-crimes against Muslims
are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims acquired from
mainstream or extremist nationalist media reports or commentaries.
These spread stereotypes and fears that stigmatise, alienate and
isolate Muslims as threats to safety, security and social cohesion. As
political commentator and journalist Peter Oborne, says in a foreword
to the report that British Muslims now perform an 'unenviable outcast
role' previously played by 'Germans, Roman Catholics, Jews and West

Dr Githens-Mazer of the University of Exeter, co- author of the report
said, "Anti-Muslim hate crimes in London have caused death and serious
injuries and have generally inflicted suffering, fear and distress
just like racist hate crimes aimed at other minorities in the capital.
However, the motivation for anti-Muslim hate crimes is not as well
understood by government, media or the police as racist hate crimes."

He added, 'Additional problems arise because a significant number of
Muslim Londoners don't report crimes to the police, and that makes it
difficult to assess or quantify the scale of the problem."

The evidence for the report arises from original in-depth interviews
with victims of anti-Muslim hate crime, and in some cases perpetrators
of racist crimes. The report is intended to introduce politicians,
public servants, police, media and public to Muslim community
perspectives that are often hidden.

A more detailed follow-up report Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Crimes
in the UK is due out in July 2010 which will analyse the situation in
other UK towns and cities as well as London.

Note to Editors: Full report of Islamophobia and Anti- Muslim Hate
Crime a London case studyis available for download on Thursday 28

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