Racial and religious attacks up 12 per cent

Racially and religiously motivated attacks have risen 12% in the past year, according to government figures to be released this week.

The Ministry of Justice statistics show there were 41,000 racially or religiously aggravated offences in 2005-06, the latest year for which figures are available. Experts are likely to link the increase to fears related to terrorism and immigration.

Following the attack on Glasgow airport in June, racist incidents across Scotland have soared, with sharp rises in violent attacks, abuse and harassment in the four weeks after the car bombing. The worst cases included attempts to blow up an Asian shop and a mosque.

The statistics showed the proportion of Asians killed by “sharp instruments” had risen from 4.5% to 8.5%. There was a surge around the time of 9/11, with such killings doubling to 30 between April 2001 and March 2002.

The rise in Islamophobia in Britain after 9/11 was charted in a report by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, which found increases in assault, verbal abuse, damage to property and Muslim women being spat at.

Times, 28 October 2007