Rise of Muslim Hate Crime in London

MQT on 2014-10-22
Session date: 
October 22, 2014
Question By: 
Murad Qureshi
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What are you doing to counter the rise in hate crime against Muslims in London?


Answer for Rise of Muslim Hate Crime in London

Answer for Rise of Muslim Hate Crime in London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is absolutely right that faith hate offences generally have increased in the last three years, including Islamophobic hate crime.  There was a spike in that following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in May 2013.  

We are obviously working very hard to reassure local communities, to make sure that people feel safe, to know that everybody is being looked after and to make it clear that London absolutely deplores any such crime.  I have some slightly confused figures here because I am also told that there has been a fall in Islamophobic hate crime recently.  We are trying to dig into why there is confusion in the figures. 

Murad Qureshi AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  I will acknowledge that there is probably a general increase in faith hate crime.  I am just asking specifically on Muslim hate crime.  If you go by the recent British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports, they suggest that it has increased by about 65%.  You are right.  The figures are being disputed by the MPS but I have waited a year before I have said anything on this issue.  I do not want to argue about the figures.  I just want an honest and frank discussion about the reality and what we can do to stop the trend. 

What I really want to know is what concrete and tangible actions you are taking to address this issue.  

My nose tells me in places like the Edgware Road it is not just the indigenous population.  It is probably also tourists that are being affected by this.  I just want to be reassured that the MPS acknowledges this and is seeking to address it. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  The picture is very mixed.  I am looking at the victims of Islamophobic hate crime across London.  The figure of a 65% increase I do not recognise.  According to this here, there has been a 1% decrease, which does not really cohere with what you and I both think about what is going on.  

What we have is 500 specialist hate crime investigators in the MPS.  We have dedicated hate crime community safety units across London.  They work with mosques.  They work with everybody that they can in the Muslim community to try to tackle the problem. 

The most important way to do it is for us to make it clear as Londoners that we absolutely will not tolerate discrimination against Muslims in any way.  This is something that is odious and not part of our lives.  We reject it and we come down very hard on it.  The Muslim community makes an absolutely extraordinary contribution to London. 

Murad Qureshi AM:  You do not need to convince me.  It is the public out there. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, but sometimes these things are worth saying. 

Murad Qureshi AM:  Yes, that is true.  There are two aspects.  No doubt a lot of it is aimed at women.  Perpetrators by-and-large are men and it is being targeted at visible Muslim women.  I just want to be sure you are aware of that.  If you do not have the time to respond now, if you could write to me addressing that issue, it would be very useful. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is interesting.  That is not part of the details I have about that.  I am not aware of that phenomenon.  I will dig into it and see what information we can provide. 

Murad Qureshi AM:  Thank you.  The other aspect is that I suspect - and this has been backed up by academic research - that there is a fair amount of under-reporting, like with other types of crime, sexual or whatever.  There has been a recent study done by Teesside University which showed clearly there were about 700-odd incidents over a nine-month period between 2013 and 2014.  They concluded that under-reporting remains a challenge in analysing the crime data, particularly for hate crime. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  In London? 

Murad Qureshi AM:  Again, I suspect you are not going to be able to respond, but if you could ask the Commissioner or MOPAC to meet me or to write to me in order to outline their course of action, I would be most grateful. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I will certainly do that.  You mentioned the Edgware Road.  This year we saw a 30% decrease in Islamophobic offending in the Edgware Road because we led a specific operation there.  

One of the interesting things actually has been that we thought there might be a spike in this type of Islamophobic incident following the ‘Jihadi John’ videos and that kind of thing.  Actually, that did not happen.  It is wonderful that actually people are making the distinction between Islam and this foul perversion of Islam that is publicised by terrorists. 

Murad Qureshi AM:  Thank you.