UK Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim bigotry 'soars due to Gaza War'

UK Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim bigotry 'soars due to Gaza War'
Hate monitor organisation Tell MAMA has revealed the shocking statistics that shed light on growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the UK
4 min read
23 February, 2024
Protesters holds placards during the Solidarity With Refugees demonstration in London to stand against racism [Getty]

Anti-Muslim hate incidents in the UK more than tripled following the outbreak of the war in Gaza, a monitoring group said Thursday. 

Tell MAMA recorded 2,010 such cases in the four months since Hamas's deadly attack against Israel on 7 October sparked the conflict. 

That was the largest recorded number of cases in a four-month period, said a statement from the organisation, which was set up to monitor and report such incidents. 

The latest figures were up from 600 incidents over the same period in 2022-2023, a rise of 335 percent. 

"We are deeply concerned about the impacts that the Israel and Gaza war are having on hate crimes and on social cohesion in the UK," said Tell MAMA director Iman Atta. 

"This rise in anti-Muslim hate is unacceptable and we hope that political leaders speak out to send a clear message that anti-Muslim hate, like anti-Semitism, is unacceptable in our country." 

Tell MAMA said that 901 cases occurred offline while 1,109 were online. Most of the offline incidents took place in the British capital London, it added. 

They included abusive behaviour, threats, assaults, vandalism, discrimination, hate speech and anti-Muslim literature. 

Women were the target in 65 percent of cases, the group said. 

Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General of Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), emphasised the importance of highlighting gendered Islamophobia, which she said has disproportionately left British Muslim women unsafe.

“This is especially worrying for visibly Muslim women who face the brunt of these attacks, as evidence shows. More needs to be done to tackle Islamophobia at all levels, starting with our politics," she told The New Arab.

A Muslim woman who spoke to British news channel Sky News, stated that she "could have been killed" by a brick thrown through her window over her support for Palestine. 

"I will not be terrified by those people, they will not stop me from doing what I need to do, they will not stop me from supporting the case I believe is right," a woman named as Mahetab told Sky News


"I have never thought about changing how I look because of these things because, this is me, I am a Muslim and this is [what] we look like." 

The Tell MAMA report has since led to a wave of condemnation from various activists, journalists and politicians, who denounced the surge of attacks against Muslims, while also calling for an end the ongoing assault on Gaza. 

"The thing is even the blatant Islamophobia is just a distraction. Ceasefire now," Al Jazeera English journalist Myriam Francois wrote in a post on X. 

"We are not going to shut up, we are not going to disappear, truthfully your time in power is over - I'd advise conserving some dignity before you go down as one of the worst [governments] in UK history." 

"Appalling & shameful rise in Islamophobia - cases of anti-Muslim hate reported to [Tell Mama] have trebled. Stronger action is needed against hate crime, threats & abuse. Islamophobia must have no place in the UK," UK Labour MP Yvette Cooper posted on X. 

Tell MAMA’s latest revelation comes after former Home Secretary Suella Braverman had come under fire, after posing an argument that claimed "Islamists" were now in control of the UK. 

In a feature for British news publication The Telegraph, Braverman stated that politicians were "burying their heads in the sand" due to the alleged rise in "extremism" across the region. 

The controversial parliamentarian referenced pro-Palestine protests and uprisings at university campus that was said not be safe for Jewish people. 

"The truth is that the Islamists, the extremists, and the antisemites are in charge now," she wrote. 

Braverman’s comments sparked fury from Muslim leaders and politicians and accused her of fearmongering. 

SNP leader Humza Yousaf, whose family members were trapped in Gaza before being evacuated in November, slammed Braverman’s statements by retorting that she was "the worst of politicians". 

MCB's Zara Mohammed also said Braverman is complicit in fuelling hatred amid a staggering surge in Islamophobic hate crimes.

"On the front page of a national newspaper, a former Home Secretary has shamelessly peddled extremist conspiracy theories about so-called ‘Islamist’ takeovers. That this comes on the day we learn of a stark rise of Islamophobic hate crime with over 2000 cases in the last 4 months is no less shameful," Mohammed told The New Arab.

"Suella Braverman’s disgraceful article is Exhibit A for those investigating why there is an Islamophobia surge in the UK. Her incendiary messages were articulated on the floor of the House of Commons as well."

She continued: "With a track record of demonising Muslim communities and peaceful Palestinian protesters, this is more dog whistle politics to distract from the actual issues of the day.

"This is a time where communities need to come together, her sinister attempts to divide us will not succeed."

Israel's invasion of Gaza and sustained military campaign has killed at least 29,514 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest health ministry figures in the besieged territory. 

AFP has also contributed to this report.