Anti-Muslim crimes in the British capital have increased fivefold since the London Bridge terror attack, Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Wednesday, warning that police would take a “zero-tolerance approach.”
“Provisional statistics for June 6 show a 40 percent increase in racist incidents, compared to the daily average this year, and a fivefold increase in the number of Islamophobic incidents,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. It said 54 racist incidents were recorded on Tuesday, compared to a daily average of 38 so far in 2017.
Twenty of them were anti-Muslim incidents, well above the 2017 daily average of 3.5. “This is the highest daily level of Islamophobic incidents in 2017 to date,” the statement said, adding it was higher than levels reached after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed.
On his Facebook page, Khan called on Londoners “to pull together, and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by these hideous individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.” He also warned that “just as the police will do everything possible to root out extremism from our city, so we will take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime.”
London’s Metropolitan Police said it had made 25 arrests for hate crime offences since Saturday, when eight people were killed by three Islamist extremists in the city center. Officers had also been in touch with places of worship “to encourage them to report hate crimes and to reassure those who congregate there that the police will take these crimes seriously,” said Dave Stringer, head of the force’s community engagement unit.
He said police were seeing year-on-year increases in all areas of hate crime, in part due to a greater willingness of victims to come forward despite overall such crimes being under-reported. “However, we also know world events can also contribute to a rise in hate crime,” Stringer said.
In Saturday evening’s attack, the assailants mowed down people on London Bridge before going on a stabbing spree in nearby Borough Market wearing fake suicide vests. The three attackers, Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, were then killed by police. The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility.