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In the context of recent data showing a rise in the number of police recorded hate crimes and other Islamophobic attacks perpetrated against Muslims, the UK Government has been urged to adopt a formal definition of Islamophobia, similar to the definition of antisemitism adopted by the Government in 2016. This briefing summarises two definitions of Islamophobia; the first from the race equality think tank, the Runnymede Trust’s report, Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All (2017); and the second from the report of the inquiry on a working definition of Islamophobia conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (2018).

This briefing includes a summary of the data on hate crimes against Muslims in the UK. The organisation TellMAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which collects data on reported incidents of Islamophobic abuse, discrimination and violence, recorded 1,201 verified attacks on Muslims in 2017, a 30% increase on the previous year. According to Home Office data on police recorded hate crimes, there were 94,098 hate crimes of all forms in 2017/18, of which 76% were race hate crimes and 9% were religious hate crimes. The briefing also provides a summary of the law regarding hate crimes, free speech and ‘hate speech’.

Data from the Runnymede Trust and the Social Mobility Commission have shown that Islamophobia and discrimination contribute to British Muslims’ position as the most economically-deprived minority group in the UK. Half of Muslims experience household poverty compared to a national average of 18%, and only one in five of the Muslim population is in full-time employment. The report from the Social Mobility Commission found that young Muslims, in particular, face considerable barriers to progression in schools, higher education and the labour market.


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