Anti-Muslim hate crimes spike in Britain

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A woman holds a placard and white roses during a special service for slain Labour Party MP Jo Cox, at Trafalgar Square in London, on June 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-BRITISH-HATE, originally transmitted on June 30, 2016.

A woman holds a placard and white roses during a special service for slain Labour Party MP Jo Cox, at Trafalgar Square in London, on June 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Peter Nicholls *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-BRITISH-HATE, originally transmitted on June 30, 2016.

(RNS) A new report dedicated to a British politician assassinated after promoting religious diversity finds a sharp rise in anti-Muslim attacks in the U.K.

There were 437 incidents of anti-Muslim hatred recorded in 2015, up from 146 the year before. They included assault and verbal abuse, according to data from the organization Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).

The report released on Wednesday (June 29) was dedicated to the memory of Jo Cox, a British MP who was killed on June 16. A Labour politician, Cox campaigned tirelessly for Syrian refugees, supported religious diversity and had been due to launch the new report, according to U.K. media.

 Her slaying came days ahead of a British vote to leave the European Union, following a campaign fueled by anti-immigrant sentiment that Tell MAMA said has had a negative impact on Muslims.

 “We are in a period where post Brexit, some feel that their hatred and prejudice has been legitimized and we are in a period where terrorism and extremism fuels anti-Muslim hatred,” the organization said in a statement.

 Tell MAMA recorded a spike in incidents against Muslims after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. There were 82 such acts in the three weeks following the deadly bombings and shootings, compared with 25 in the same period before the attacks.

 Overall, Muslim women were more likely than men to be attacked, with white men often identified as the perpetrators of abuse.

 (Rosie Scammell is an RNS correspondent based in Rome)

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