Increase in hate crimes on Scots Muslims since Paris attacks

Aamer Anwar and delegates at yesterday's conference. Picture: Hemedia
Aamer Anwar and delegates at yesterday's conference. Picture: Hemedia
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Police, community and religious leaders have called on Scotland to unite as it was revealed that 64 religious and racially motivated hate crimes have been committed in the week since the terrorist attack in Paris.

Cases involve online, verbal and physical attacks, and Police Scotland said charges have been brought or are pending in 40 of the cases.

The figures do not specify attacks on particular religious groups but lawyer Aamer Anwar said there has been a “notable increase in hate crimes directed at Muslims” in the last seven days.

Cases include an attack on a takeaway shop owner in Methil, Fife, a deliberate fire at an Islamic cultural centre in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, and online abuse directed at Scottish Government minister Humza Yousaf.

Mr Anwar said there have also been reports of a young woman being called a “terrorist” in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, a mother and child attacked in Thornliebank, Glasgow, verbal abuse of schoolchildren in playgrounds, a group being abused in Glasgow Central station by train passengers and death threats directed at the Strathclyde University Muslim Students Association.

The lawyer was speaking at a press conference at Glasgow Central Mosque that brought together police, politicians and faith leaders. He said: “The stakes are incredibly high and we look to civic Scotland for solidarity. We call on the people of Scotland to unite with the Muslim community and not let the terrorists and racists divide us.

“The Muslim community have absolute confidence in the zero-tolerance of hate crime by Police Scotland.”

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said a number of cases reported to officers were a “direct result of what happened in Paris”.

He added: “Since the dreadful events on Friday we have had a number of reports of racially and religiously motivated crime. When I left the office this morning, they were standing at 64.

“What I can say is that of those 64, in 40 cases we have identified who the culprits are and charges – if they have not already been brought – will be brought in due course.