UK study highlights anti-Muslim hate crimes

28 November 2010

An alarming picture of the physical violence, intimidation and discrimination faced by many of Britain’s two million Muslims on a daily basis, was portrayed yesterday in new academic research.

The 224-page report from the European Muslim Research Centre, based at the University of Exeter, said that the bulk of incidents went unreported by communities who had lost faith in the authorities to do anything about them.

Released at a conference yesterday at the London Muslim Centre, the report called for “urgent” government action to tackle the problem after years of neglect.

Part of a 10-year study into Islamophobia throughout Europe, the report represented “an insight into the grim reality of a lived experience that is insufficiently acknowledged and understood outside of the communities where it occurs”.

Authors of the report, Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert Lambert, the co-directors of the research centre, said in their introduction: “We argue in this report that much anti-Muslim violence in the UK is predicated on the rhetoric and practice of the ‘war on terror’ that George Bush and Tony Blair launched against ‘an evil ideology’ in the aftermath of 9/11.”

Government minister under fire for walking out of segregated Muslim wedding

A government minister was accused today of bad manners and political expediency for walking out of a Muslim wedding in London after being told he could not sit with his wife.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the minister for food, farming and environment, left a constituent’s wedding at the London Muslim Centre, next door to and run by the East London mosque in Whitechapel, after being told that male and female guests were to be segregated.

Fitzpatrick said it was “strange” he could not sit with his GP wife Sheila at the ceremony on Sunday. “We’ve been attending [Muslim] weddings together for years but only recently has this strict line been taken. We left so as not to cause offence,” he said. But the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) accused the minister of turning a private matter for the families concerned into a political issue.