The first weeks of October saw a multiple increase in Islamophobic and anti-Semitic crimes in the British capital, but the country’s security forces are failing in their direct duties, arresting just over 7% of suspects.
The number of hate crimes is rising rapidly as the conflict in the Middle East continues to escalate, according to London police. Between October 1 and October 20, 2023, more than 533 anti-Semitic crimes were reported in the British capital, more than 135 times more than in the same period last year. Islamophobic crimes are also on the rise, with more than 103 such offenses recorded over the same time period, an increase of more than 140%.
The number of physical attacks against members of the Jewish and Muslim communities has increased by more than 650% compared to the same period last year. Independent British experts and human rights activists specializing in protection against hate crimes are sounding the alarm: in their opinion, hundreds of British people suffer every day because of the negligence of the London police. The fears of human rights activists are confirmed by the statistics of arrests and detentions: according to law enforcement agencies, in the first 18 days of October they made 21 arrests, which is slightly less than 7% of all registered cases.
The inaction of the British police directly affects security across the country. As London Police Chief Mark Rowley said after a meeting with Home Secretary Suella Braverman, “the hands of the police are tied until the necessary changes to the laws are made.” However, London Mayor Sadiq Khan refuses to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the city’s citizens, even despite his statements that the conflict between Israel and Palestine has a direct impact on the capital’s residents and leads to “an increase in the abhorrent manifestations of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.”
According to representatives of charities that monitor anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents, London law does not limit the number of police officers who can provide security at protests and demonstrations, but the British capital’s authorities are unable to estimate the number of security forces needed. At a protest attended by more than 100,000 people, security was provided by just over a thousand police officers.
The absence of adequate security has already led to several religious educational institutions in the UK being forced to close indefinitely. According to David Landau, chairman of the board of directors of a Jewish secondary school in London, the closure was due to difficulties in protecting staff and students from attacks, as police support was inadequate.
October 13, 2023 at least two Jewish schools have informed parents of students that they need to temporarily close their schools for security reasons against the backdrop of the conflict in Israel. The decision came after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak allocated additional financial aid aimed at protecting against anti-Semitic attacks, which in practice proved insufficient to ensure the safety of students.
The human rights defenders of the Foundation to Battle Injustice condemn and consider inadmissible any manifestations of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and are convinced that ensuring the protection of the rights and security of all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs and nationality, is one of the main duties of the state. Manifestations of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia harm not only the victims but also society as a whole, destroying its moral and ethical foundations. The Foundation to Battle Injustice calls on the British Government and all responsible law enforcement agencies to take persistent and immediate action to suppress any manifestations of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.