British Muslims tell of growing hostility in new report

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"Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK," by Saied Reza Ameli and Arzu Merali. Photo courtesy of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)

"Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK," by Saied Reza Ameli and Arzu Merali. Photo courtesy of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) As France struggles to accommodate a restive Muslim community with terrorist elements, a report issued this week details growing hostility within Britain toward this country’s 2.7 million Muslim residents.

On Tuesday (Nov. 17), the Islamic Human Rights Commission issued a 270-page report that says hate has become the new norm for Muslims living in Britain.

After interviews with more than 1,700 British Muslims, the report speaks of the community’s growing concern about rising levels of abuse, discrimination and violence, both physical and verbal.

The report, titled “Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK,” says the new environment of hate is being “deliberately whipped up” by the media and politicians.


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It tells of rampant job discrimination and says that more than half of Britain’s Muslims have witnessed Islamophobic attacks between 2010 and 2014.

“It appears from the findings that Muslims in the U.K. feel targeted by media and political institutions, which in their understanding contribute heavily towards a deteriorating climate of fear, a rise in far-right groups and a rise of anti-Muslim racism per se. As a result they (Muslims) feel pressured to modify their behavior and in some instances feel that this is the deliberate goal of government and the political classes.”

The report was widely circulated in the Middle East by Arab journalists who attended Tuesday’s launch, and it has sparked media and academic debates in England about the way forward.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the report’s finding were a “serious reproach to our society’s most human ideals and values.”

Muslim academics were reluctant to comment, saying that they had to first fully digest the contents of the lengthy, detailed report.


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Muslims take part in Friday prayers during a Muslim Climate Action (MCA) event at Parliament Square in central London, Britain on October 9, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-BRITISH-MUSLIMS, originally transmitted on Nov. 18, 2015.

Muslims take part in Friday prayers during a Muslim Climate Action event at Parliament Square in central London on Oct. 9, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-BRITISH-MUSLIMS, originally transmitted on Nov. 18, 2015.

But Fiyaz Mughal, director of Tell Mama, an organization that monitors anti-Muslim incidents, said his group believes that the IHRC might have underestimated the extent of hate crimes against Muslims.

“We know that underreporting in Muslim communities is a significant problem and the real figures may be much higher,” he said.

Britain’s 2.7 million-member Muslim community is the nation’s second-largest faith and among the fastest-growing, rising by over three-quarters in the last 10 years.

Many see the new report as a wake-up call. Others say it has been expected for years.

Parts of England — particularly in the Midlands –are regarded by many as Muslim “no go“ areas.

Between 450 and 600 young British Muslims are estimated to have left England for Syria, where they fight (and sometimes return to Britain) alongside ISIS.

Public support in Britain is hardening toward asylum seekers.


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Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to resettle 20,000 Syrians by the end of the decade. This week, a YouGov survey found that 49 percent of those interviewed believed that Britain should be accepting fewer or no refugees at all.

Political observers say that more Muslims in Britain are for the first time wondering whether living with hatred is now the norm in a country once famous for its hospitality.

YS/MG END GRUNDY

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  • Dominic

    For all obvious reasons, why should the polls not show a general hatred for Muslims….in Britain or anywhere else? Why this subtle hint that the non-Muslim world is becoming more bigoted and racist? Why would it not? Is there not just cause to be fed up with over 30 years of Muslim terrorism, wars, threats, and murder of their own people?
    With no single person or nation to attack, we are all surrounded by an invisible enemy, threatened daily with destruction, and all of it spins around the religion of Islam. Why is it crazy to suspect all of them?
    The world can only cope with a noble toleration of “equality” for so long. Why are the mass of emigrants not resettled in Arabia or Kuwait? Why the mass exodus to the hated West?
    Don’t portray civilized peoples as racists when there is every reason for them to evolve into that mindset.

  • Robert2011GB

    Of course, Muslims have to change their behaviour!

    Islam must be reformed!

    Islam must abandon supremicism, jihad and sharia and must become a purely spiritual religion.

  • Jack

    It’s wrong to hate all Muslims, because most Muslims are just as law-abiding as we are. And hate crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    But Muslims in Britain and other western nations aren’t helping themselves by doing the equivalent of “lawyering up” every time there’s a terrorist attack.

    What they should be doing is giving law enforcement and intel the information needed to defeat radicalization in their midst. Instead of selfishly whining about civil rights violations, they should behave like patriots and open their mouths about co-religionists who they know to be trouble.

  • Larry
  • Dominic

    No one is going to search for articles about good Muslims, they want headlines, not an editorial on page 95 of the newspaper.
    The King of Jordan at least has the intelligence to call on his own religion to route out the murderers within.

  • John W

    Meanwhile back on earth…

    There is no rise of the far-right here in the UK (though there is a distinct rise in the numbers of ordinary people whose views are being classified as far-right).

    If there is any “whipping up of hate by media & politicians” then I’ve certainly missed it. Both groups have been falling over themselves to distinguish Islam from the Paris attacks.

    All meaningful data points to the hostiltiy problem here being directed towards Jews not Muslims. If it were otherwise BBC coverage would be saturated with concrete verifiable stories of “Islamophobia” & it is not.