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Islamophobic attacks on the increase in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 October 2016

Vaseem Ahmed, chairman of MEND.

Vaseem Ahmed, chairman of MEND.

Archant

Increased attacks against Muslims post-Brexit are the “thin end of the wedge,” says a leading charity.

Research compiled by Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) shows the number of Islamophobic hate crimes committed has risen across the capital over the last six years.

Speaking at a hate crime-themed meeting held at Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, on Thursday, Mend Redbridge’s chairman Vaseem Ahmed said it is dangerous to attribute rises in hate crime offences to Brexit alone.

“Hate crime has definitely gone up post-Brexit but one thing you should realise is that it is not a one-off thing – it has been going up since 2010,” he said.

“Statistics are damning and the policy response from government has been lacklustre.

“The impact is devastating.”

According to Met Police figures, racist and religious hate crime in the borough has increased from 328 reported incidents between August 2014 and August 2015, to 425 between August 2015 and August 2016.

Islamophobic hate crime has also risen during the same period, from 23 to 33 cases.

“The biggest rise in hate crime in Redbridge is Islamophobic crime.

“There is a lot of stuff going on that is really dreadful. I have got two grown-up daughters, every time they leave the house I worry for them,” said Mr Ahmed.

Redbridge Mend has renewed its commitment to work with the council, police borough commander and mayor to tackle the issue.

The organisation wants to encourage victims to report incidents and hopes to set up third party reporting centres in places where residents feel safe, such as mosques.

Staff are also working with the police to look at how ethnicity is recorded when a hate crime occurs and are pushing for more BME groups to sit on independent advisory groups.

“We want to work with the council to raise awareness of hate crime and hold events to bring the community together to celebrate the diverse richness, background and culture in Redbridge,” said Mr Ahmed.

Information on hate crime can be found at redbridge.gov.uk.


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