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Mosques targeted by 100 hate attacks since killing of Lee Rigby, group says

Published 20/11/2016

The three main categories of anti-Muslim incident involved criminal damage to mosques, vandalism and actions involving violent extremism
The three main categories of anti-Muslim incident involved criminal damage to mosques, vandalism and actions involving violent extremism

UK mosques have been targeted by 100 hate attacks since the death of Lee Rigby, new figures show.

Tell MAMA, the national anti-Muslim hate monitoring group, said there was a spike in reported attacks in the months after the death of the fusilier in May 2013 - with 43 from then until the rest of the year.

There were 21 the following year, followed by 24 in 2015 and 12 up until September this year.

The three main categories of anti-Muslim incident involved criminal damage to mosques, vandalism and actions involving violent extremism.

In the latter, the language of the perpetrator indicated rhetoric associated with far right-extremist groups or in some instances graffiti on mosques were also in line with support for such groups, according to anecdotal evidence.

The attacks were mostly clustered in areas where there are high concentrations of Muslims and mosques in the United Kingdom.

However, there has also been a spate of incidents along the South West coast of England and in the South East along the Kent coast.

Tell MAMA founder Fiyaz Mughal said: "This shows that anti-Muslim hatred is targeted at mosques as visible symbols of Muslim communities in the country and that far-right rhetoric and symbolism is a driver for some of the targeting taking place.

"For years, the far right have been regarded simply as buffoons and not a threat with some commentators taking this position in national newspapers.

"They are a threat to all communities and to integration and cohesion."

Iman Abou Atta, Tell MAMA director, said: "Mosques need to remain vigilant and ensure that agencies such as Tell MAMA and the police are notified at the earliest opportunity.

"It is essential that we also send messages of reassurance as we do in Tell MAMA and interfaith organisations need to step up their game in doing so."

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