Religious hate crimes have shot up almost 50% in London in the wake of Lee Rigby’s murder.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that there were 918 religious hate crimes in 2013/14, compared to just 634 the previous year. Nationally, there were 2,273 reported cases of a religious hate crime, up 700 on the previous year.
Statisticians believe the rise is driven by higher levels of hate crime in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.
Fusillier Rigby was murdered by Michael Adebalajo and Michael Adebowale outside Woolwich Barracks in May last year.
John Flatley, from the Office for National Statistics, said: “We’ve seen a small rise in both racial and religiously motivated hate crime in the wake of the Lee Rigby murder. It is a backlash effect where people are being victimised possibly because of their Muslim origin.”
Speaking to LBC, people at the Brick Lane Mosque believes media coverage of ISIL is to blame. They said: “I am not surprised, with so much time given to Muslim extremist groups that you may get a reaction or a backlash which may result in increased attacks on Muslims.”
The actions of ISIS would not in fact have had much impact on the figures, which are for the financial year ending in April 2014. The first of the horrific beheadings of westerners by ISIS, which has prompted intensive media coverage of the movement, was of James Foley in August this year.