By Neelam Rahim
A new study reveals that about half (42%) of mosques and Islamic institutions have experienced religiously motivated attacks within the last three years.
The survey, conducted by MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development) and Muslim Census, also found that 35% of Islamic institutions experienced a religiously-motivated attack a minimum of once a year.
Over 100 mosques across the United Kingdom were surveyed for the report.
The survey of 114 Islamic centres revealed that 17% of mosques had faced physical abuse directed at staff or worshippers, including the stabbing of a muezzin in London Central Mosque in 2020.
Muslim Census and MEND also found that just about two-thirds of mosques reported that the attacks harmed the broader community. Of these that reported an attack, only 55% of mosques were satisfied with the police response. Only one-third of mosques applied for the government Places of Worship scheme received funding.
The survey also investigated the police response to such attacks – 55% of mosques reported not being satisfied with police responses, and 38% said no action was taken.
Home Office data shows that between March 2020 and March 2021, under half (45%) of all religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims, greater than for the other religious community.
Last week, new police data for England and Wales showed that religiously aggravated offences are rising and at an all-time high. A complete of 76,884 racially and religiously aggravated crimes were recorded in 2021, up 15% from 66,742 in 2020.
Muslim Census and MEND are now recommending that the government streamline the application process to make it easier for mosques to use for security funding.
They also call upon the police to boost links with the Muslim community, implement swift action when attacks occur, and allow a full explanation when no action is taken.