International Peace Studies Centre - IPSC

The Rise of Islamophobia in Great Britain


Mehreen Amjad

In recent months there has been an astonishing rise in hate crimes against the Muslim community. In the UK alone it has been reported that attacks on British Muslims has risen by over 300% since the attacks in Paris on the 13th November 2015 according to Tell MAMA .

The statistics demonstrate that the victims have predominately been Muslim women aged 14-35 all of whom were wearing some form of Muslim attire. The most worrying aspect of these statistics is that these attacks have taken place in public with many witnesses present. Some attacks also involved children accompanying the victims. The attacks were predominately carried out by white males aged 15-35.

On the 13th September 2016 a heavily pregnant 34 year old Muslim women was attacked outside the co-op shop in Milton Keynes. The attack was so brutal that she was kicked in the stomach resulting in her miscarrying. Reports have suggested that the attack was racially motivated.  The race of the victim was never mentioned and her religion has been kept discreet. The attack on the young “Muslim” women demonstrates the role the media has played in causing increasing division within Britain. The crime was not racially motivated but was in fact a hate crime towards a Muslim women dressed in Islamic attire. Ignoring these key facts simply excuses the perpetrator for his political and social stance for which he and others like him should be held accountable for.

The headline by the Evening Standard states “Pregnant woman loses baby after ‘devastating’ racist attack”. This headline is misleading and offensive to all those who have fallen victim to the rise of Islamophobia. The headline misses out key points which contributed to the attack. The attack was in fact an act of terrorism against a heavily pregnant Muslim women resulting in the murder of her unborn child. The reality is that British Muslims are facing an explosion of faith based crimes against them which has increased post Brexit.

The complicit behaviour of many members of the public is a matter of concern, we as fellow human beings have a moral responsibility of helping those who are in need or those who are being persecuted. Do we as the public have a social responsibility in intervening when these attacks take place or do we silently watch the abuse of another?

The moral compass seems to have moved in regards to how British Muslims are perceived which will result in further alienation and growing resentment amongst different communities. Are we regressing towards the 1958 race riots in London which demonstrated that division and aggravation can only lead to chaos and unwanted casualties? Is there a possibility that the Brexit vote has awoken a sleeping monster? Online propaganda has increased significantly making it easier for far right groups to spread their warped ideology.

Growing up in the United Kingdom I never felt a sense of alienation. The neighbour to my right was a lovely Jewish lady that left her keys with us every time she would go on holiday. The neighbour to my left was an academic English family that took great pride in their home. We would often all gather outside our homes and discuss the weather, politics and what we were going to cook in the evening. Life was simple their race or religion was irrelevant, what was relevant was that they were my neighbour’s and that we shared mutual respect for one another.


How have we managed to segregate and dehumanise one another, it’s almost becoming the norm to accept violence against another based on their religion in modern day Britain.  When did the concept of freedom become a means of oppressing another? These are questions we need to address in order to tackle the wave of violence that is slowly poisoning our society



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