Reports of hate crimes have been rising in the UK for the past three years. Anti-Muslim crimes will now be recorded as a separate category of hate crime, like anti-Semitic (anti-Jewish) crimes have been for a good while. So what actually is a hate crime, and why does it seem to be increasing? Scenes of Reason had a look-see to find out.
It does what it says on the tin. It’s a crime which is perceived by the victim or anyone else to be motivated by hate – that’s the UK Home Office definition.
Hate: Hostility towards someone based on a personal characteristic. The five types of personal characteristics hate crimes can be recorded under are (1) race or ethnicity (2) religion or beliefs (3) sexual orientation (4) disability and (5) transgender identity.
Crime: A criminal offence. Specifically assault, harassment, causing public alarm and criminal damage.
A woman was arrested October 2015 after she aired her views on a London bus.
Just days later, this ever worse video came out.
Home Office stats tell us that nearly 53,000 hate crimes were recorded by the police between 2014 and 2015. That’s an 18% increase from the year before. 82% of these were race hate crimes. 11% were against sexual orientation, 6% against religion, 5% against disability and 1% against transgender identity.
Hate crimes can be motivated by more than one kind of hatred. Haters got a lot of hate in their hearts. This is why these stats add up to more than 100%. Just in case you thought we couldn’t add up 😉
The number of Anti-Semitic hate crimes and Islamophobic hate crimes – like the ones in the videos above – are getting scary high.
The London Met police reported that hate crimes against Jewish people increased by 138% in 2014 – from 208 to 495.
In the same period, Islamophobic hate crimes increased by over 47%, from 529 to 778.
So anti-Semitic crimes have increased by the most, and Islamophobic crimes were higher to begin with and remain higher now. FYI This is obviously not a competition! We just wanted you to know what’s actually going on.
This is not just a London thing either. UK police have reported that anti-Semitic crimes have increased UK-wide by around 50%. In the year following the attack on Lee Rigby – a British soldier murdered by two men “because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers” – government-backed Islamic group Tell Mama report that Islamophobic incidents have increased by 20%.
The most recent Home Office statistics don’t only show that Muslim adults are the most likely to be a victim of religious hate crime, but also that Muslim adults are among those most likely to be a victim of a racist hate crime.
Anti-Semitic hate crimes have for a good while been recorded as a separate category of hate crime. The same goes for anti-Muslim and Islamophobic hate crimes for the London Met police. PM David Cameron is now encouraging all UK police to record anti-Muslim crime as its own separate category.
Some newspapers are reporting it as anti-Muslim crimes to be “taken as seriously” as anti-Semitic crimes — is that not how it was before?
Stats don’t tell you everything. These are the numbers of crimes being reported to the police, and the police and government reckon that the number of crimes being reported is increasing literally because more people are reporting them, not because there are more crimes than there were before. Yay?
We can’t break out the belly dancing and the oom-pah band to celebrate though. The London Met police also reckon that the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic crime is on the up because of the Israel’s attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014 and the rise of so-called Islamic State.
These are classic cases of large and seriously diverse communities of people getting a bad reputation from small but high-profile minorities within that community. By minorities we mean ISIS and extremist terror groups in the case of the Muslim faith. In terms of the Jewish faith we mean the policies of the Jewish-state of Israel, about which many people counting themselves among the Jewish community have numerous diverse, complex and deeply-considered views. Problem is, these details, disagreements and diverse views often get lost within media representation of the world’s ongoing conflicts.
This video explores the impact of the media representation of Muslims. Has ‘Muslim’ become unfairly synonymous with ‘terrorist’ in many people’s minds?
Here is a list of ways in which people who want to publicly criticise Israel’s violence against Palestine can end up bad-mouthing the entire Jewish faith. Bit of a leap there.
Want to dig deeper? Watch Mehdi Hassan’s eyes flicker with the flame of eternal knowledge in this debate on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, then come back to us with more questions for us to answer.
A statute of limitations is a law which stops people from being charged with a crime committed more than a set number of years in the past.
It’s basically an expiry date for when you can be charged with a crime. If you committed a crime, but the statute of limitations has passed; you cannot be charged.
In the USA the length of the Statute of Limitations for sex crimes, including rape, differs state-by-state.
Actor-Comedian Bill Cosby is currently accused of a long list of sexual assaults. The majority of the alleged crimes took place way back in the 1970s and 1980s; because of the statute of limitations he won’t be charged. However one of the accusations claims Cosby drugged and abused a woman in 2008, because this is within the statute of limitations Bill is in a lot of trouble.
In the UK there is no time limit, which is why Labour peer Lord Janner is facing a trial for sex crimes dating back to the 1960s.
The main argument for the statute is that over time evidence will become less reliable. Physical evidence may deteriorate or get lost. Witnesses’ memories of events will become blurred over time.
Various psychological studies on memory support this. Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus suggested that information provided after the event can significantly alter existing memories. In a study she showed participants a video of a robbery, and then a news report of the same event. Though the news report contained errors, many participants included these in their own version of what happened. All sounds a bit like Inception.
The physical signs of abuse will also fade over time; making it very difficult and time-consuming to put a case together. Another argument for the statute of limitations is that people deserve the right to a swift trial. They also shouldn’t have to fear prosecution for a minor crime like shoplifting if it occurred many years in the past.
Research has shown that victims of sexual abuse take longer to come forward. A report on child sexual abuse in Australia found that it took on average 22 years to come forward.
Some states in America have statutes of limitation as short as three years for sexual abuse. It’s easy to see how many victims won’t get justice as they come forward too late.
In the case of Bill Cosby; even if he is found guilty of sexual assault in the 2008 case, his punishment may be less severe compared to the sentence he might have faced if found guilty of all the other alleged crimes.
Statutes Explained; count off the days ‘til you can safely admit to past crimes
Should the USA get rid of the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse? Or should countries like the UK create a similar rule?
Two is better than one: The FIFA scandal consists of two investigations
FIFA stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association. They are a non-profit organisation and they organise the Football World Cup. The World Cup happens every four years, each time in a different country.
FIFA is now involved in two criminal investigations.
The first investigation is being run by USA Justice Department. They have arrested 9 FIFA officials on charges of corruption. One of the arrested men is FIFA vice-prez Jeffrey Webb. They stand accused of taking bribes and may be extradited to the USA for trial. At the moment the amount of money involved is unclear; it’s thought to be millions of dollars.
Bribe: Getting someone to act in a certain way by giving them money.
As well as that Swiss police launched a second investigation and have raided FIFA’s offices to take files and computers. They are looking for evidence that the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups had been fixed.
For all you non-football fans: Russia is hosting 2018 and Qatar will host 2022.
This announcement happened in 2010. Ever since then reports of corruption have flooded in. A high-ranking FIFA official was said to have named colleagues who were open to bribery.
In fact, looking up “FIFA scandal” shows how regularly these accusations have come up…