Mounting concerns over Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Yorkshire

The government has been warned divisions within society are deepening as research revealed the persecution of Muslims has become ingrained in Britain while a record number of anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded in the UK.

Islamophobia has become ingrained in British society. Image: Steve Ellis

Concerns are mounting over the scale of the hate crime blighting communities in the UK as a study published today has shown that two-thirds of Britons think most people are Islamophobic.

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The report by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also revealed nearly three in five adults believes that Islamophobia is widespread in the UK and two-thirds of the public agree most people in the UK have a negative view of Islam.

Islamophobia has become ingrained in British society. Image: Steve Ellis

Separate figures released yesterday revealed that anti-Semitic incidents are at the highest level since 1984, according to the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism among the Jewish community in Britain.

The study by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, an Islamic organisation which has branches in more than 200 countries, said nearly half of those questioned believe Islam is incompatible with British values and almost a third think Islam encourages Muslims to carry out acts of violence against non-Muslims.

Rafiq Hayat, national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, which represents a sect of Muslims, said: “The findings of this survey show just how misunderstood Islam is in the UK. Islam actually places an emphasis on integration and contributing to the society you live in.”

Farouk Yunus, who runs Kumon Y’All, a community organisation in Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, claimed that the survey’s results were “sad news”.

He added: “We do a lot of projects that bring people together and once people spend time with us and know what Islam is all about they have a different view.”

The charity has dozens of volunteers who are mostly Muslim, giving thousands of hours to help people in need in the local area, including visiting the elderly and, collecting litter. Kumon Y’All volunteers recently cleaned 120 bags of plastic from the River Calder.

The study by the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism among the Jewish community in Britain, showed more than a third of the cases involved social media. There were 323 reports of anti-Semitism online compares to 221 in the same period last year.

The trust’s chief executive, David Delew, said: “The problem is spreading across the country and online, it reflects deepening divisions in our society and it is causing increasing anxiety in the Jewish community.”

The organisation said it was not clear if a rising number of incidents was due to better reporting or increased levels of abuse.

Last week, figures revealed there were 7,923 hate crime offences recorded by West Yorkshire Police in 2018.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Spokesperson said: “The Government will always stand up for people of all faiths and backgrounds and we are clear that religious hatred has no place in our society.

“We’ve put millions into protecting our diverse places of worship and we continue to work with a range of communities to ensure we’re alive to – and can act upon – any concerns.

“But we can’t be complacent and will do everything in our power to ensure that everyone feels safe and valued in modern Britain.”

How does Yorkshire compare?

Yorkshire consistently appears among the worst areas in the UK for hate crimes.

According to data from the Home Office, the county was the second worst area for racially motivated hate crime, with 203 incidents for every 100,000 people, after Greater Manchester with 230.

South Yorkshire ranked 10th, with 121 incidents per 100,000 people.

At the other end of the scale, North Yorkshire had the second least hate crimes with only 39 incidents per 100,000 people.

West Yorkshire was also sixth worst for religion-based hate crime, with 15 incidents per 100,000 people.