Hate crimes in the UK are on the rise because the government “tends to try to appease the far right by adopting some of their positions,” according to Anas Altikriti, CEO of Cordoba Foundation. Altikriti said that the British Muslim community has sensed that “there is a tangible rise in far-right and far-right groups that are now in government.” His comments came after the publication of statistics on October 8 by the Home Office that showed Islamophobic hate crimes in England and Wales skyrocketed last year with Muslims the most targeted group for the year ending March 2022.
The number of religious hate crimes recorded by police that targeted Muslims was 3,459, a 42% increase since last year.
“The figures that came out today only go to confirm the actual feeling that is quite tangible and quite powerful throughout the Muslim community we have been sensing, and seeing, observing ourselves, the rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and actions as well as the narrative, the overall overriding narrative, whether it be official, whether it be through society – that the classes Muslims as almost second class citizens on the margins of society that are deserving of being the targets of the overall rise of far-right and nationalist sentiments,” said Altikriti, whose group tries to bridge “the gap of understanding between the Muslim World and the West.”
“It’s something that confirms those kinds of feelings. I think that the actual figures are far greater than what we saw, that they do confirm that Muslims are the targets of the, you know, the greatest anti-religious sentiments expressed against any religious minority. The fact is that this is something that we’ve been warning about for more than a decade now,” he said.
Altikriti underlined that “there is a tangible rise in far-right and far-right groups that are now in government, only 15 years ago, were almost banished to the sidelines of societies.”
He said: “They were not entities, they didn’t really matter in any election or any. But now, less than two decades on, we see that many, throughout Europe and even here in the UK. They have a huge impact on not only government, as we saw in Austria, as we see in Sweden, as we see now in Italy, for instance, but also on the narrative itself, because what happens is that with the rise of far-right sentiments, the sort of mainstream right in our case, for instance, the Conservative government tends to try to appease the far right by adopting some of their positions. So, all of a sudden, you have the far-right, albeit, not actually in government, but their positions, their viewpoints, their sentiments, their statements are actually being adopted and espoused by the actual government,” he said.
“What these figures go to show is that we are at risk of the sorts of dissemination and the breakup of the very fabric of British society and it’s something that we must pay serious attention to. I think that the Conservative government is espousing policies that the Conservatives of 25, 30, 35 years ago would have never even imagined, and particularly the kind of narrative in regards with the immigrants and the minorities and the like,” said Altikriti.