Islamophobia, anti-Semitism: Why the rise in hate crime?

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.


What is a hate crime?


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.


What does a hate crime look like?


A woman was arrested October 2015 after she aired her views on a London bus.



Just days later, this ever worse video came out.


Are people getting more hateful and crimeful?


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.

Doing research for this we found there are A LOT of stock photos of Orthodox Jews and Met Police. We thought it was just women laughing alone with salad..

Doing research for this we found there are A LOT of stock photos of Orthodox Jews and Met Police. We thought it was just women laughing alone with salad..

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%.

Islamophobia – Islamo-NO-bia

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?


Why? Just why all the hate?


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.



Stay tuned: subscribe to our weekly newsletter for the latest on Israel and Palestine. Like us on Facebook and follow @scenesofreason.

When is a Hate Crime not a Hate Crime? When it’s a Terrorist Act

OK, what’s a Hate Crime?

The organisation Stop Hate UK defines a “Hate Crime” as a crime “motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of a person’s identity”

These aspects can include; Race, Disability, Faith, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. Why can’t people just learn to get along?

So, can a racist attack be a Hate Crime?

The difference between Racism and a Hate Crime. A black woman holds up a sign saying "Racism"

Doesn’t matter if it’s Racism or a Hate Crime. Just don’t.

For an act to be classed as a Hate Crime it has to break criminal law.

So if a physical attack is made because of a person’s skin colour, yes, it is a hate crime because the law has been broken.

However if a racist comment is made, it may be categorized as a Hate Incident.

If the police decide no law has been broken then it’s defined as an incident not a crime, but still motivated by hate.

Even though no laws are broken, you’ll still get in trouble. If reported to police they would still record this as a Non Crime Incident. Sorry, there’s no escape for being a racist.

What’s the difference between a Hate Crime and a Terrorist Attack?

The difference between a Hate Crime and Terrorism

Quite a big difference, actually.

Terrorism; the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Terrorism causes harm to life, buildings and infrastructure, resulting in fear within communities. If acts of terror specifically target a certain group within recognised hate crime strands (Disability, Faith, Gender Identity, Race or Sexual Orientation) then you could define these as Hate Crimes.

In an interview with Professor Steve Dilks from the University of Missouri-Kansas City states; that Terrorist attacks are often planned attacks to draw attention to a political cause, rather than a spontaneous attack for personal reasons. Terrorist attacks are often part of a larger plan.

Even when Hate Crimes are committed by a group, the aim is usually to send a message to people of a certain race, sexuality or gender, not make a specific political point.

For example;

In 1999 bombings in Soho, London; targeted the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community (LGBT). Because the attacks targeted the LGBT community and ethnic minorities specifically this could be classed as a Hate Crime.

However the bomb set off by the rebel group the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre in 1996, was an Act of Terrorism. This is because it wasn’t aimed at a specific group of people; it was designed to scare and injure as many people as possible, and to make a political statement.

The Small Print: the definition of a Hate Crime is based on perception. Any incident or crime could be reported as being hate motivated by the victim or any other person. Some might argue the IRA attack could be interpreted as a Hate Crime against all British people.

So, can a terrorist attack be a hate crime? Potentially, though usually the motivations behind the attack make it one or the other. Basically, neither is very nice.

Why are we talking about this?

Hate Crime

Does the media report some Hate Crimes differently?

Yesterday in South Carolina, America; a white man opened fire on an African-American church, leaving nine people dead. The church’s pastor Senator Clementa Pinckney is among the dead.

At the moment very few details are known. The police have arrested a suspect, Dylann Roof and are investigating the incident as a Hate Crime.

On social media some people are already commenting on how the media is reporting this incident. Many people think that because the shooter was white, the media will report differently than they would if he was of another ethnic group.

What are people saying?

South Carolina, Hate Crime, Reaction on Twitter


What we learned; Haters gonna hate, we hate all crime, but it has to break the law to be classed as a Hate Crime.

Does the media report Hate Crimes differently if a white person is involved? Is doing that actually a Hate Crime itself?

Don’t be hatin’

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Today Armenians around the world mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, where around 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Turkish authorities. However US President Obama won’t actually use the word “genocide” when marking the atrocity. Find out why in the Armenian Genocide Explainer




Armenian Genocide Explained

Armenian Genocide Explained: Where is Armenia?


A small country in the Middle East, Armenia is East of Turkey, and just above Iran.

Both Turkey and Armenia were once part of the Ottoman Empire, also known as the Turkish Empire.





Genocide: “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group” (Article Two of the UN convention 1948)


The Ottoman Empire was Muslim and was ruled as a Caliphate (a State where Islam is recognised as top law).

It was pretty massive: containing Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and parts of North Africa and many more.

Armenian Genocide Explained - Ottoman Empire

Armenian Genocide Explained – Ottoman Empire in 1913


Christians such as the Armenians were allowed to practice their own religion BUT were taxed more and were treated as second class citizens.

The Ottoman/Turkish Empire was one of the largest and longest lasting empires in history. However, come 1915 it had lost land, money and esteem: a shadow of its former glory. A political group of discontented army officers called the Young Turks took power of the remaining Ottoman Empire in 1908.

The Young Turks led Turkey into WWI on Germany’s side. Bad move. They lost a major battle against Russia in Sarikemish, right on the border between the Ottoman Empire and Russia. Armenian volunteers in the area fought alongside the Russians – against their Turkish rulers. Fearing Armenians across the whole of the Ottoman Empire would follow suit and side with the enemy the Young Turks decided to do something about it.


April 24th 1915:


In the Turkish capital city Constantinople (Now Istanbul) Ottoman or Turkish locals captured more than 200 members of the ethnic minority Armenian community. Most were killed and others were deported and their property seized. Starting as a way to neutralise potential political threats this was the start of a period of ethnic cleansing known as the Armenian Genocide.

When this finally ended a few years later over 1 million Armenians had been killed.

In 1922 the Ottoman empire was fully abolished and Turkey was recognised as a separate country. Armenia had less luck, and was absorbed by the Soviet Union (Think: Russia) until 1991 when Armenia was reinstated as its own independent country.





The death toll for the Armenian genocide is estimated 1-1.5 million. It was only a few years later, that the same amount of people died in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. Just to put things into perspective of course, the Armenian genocide was a big deal.

Of course, Auschwitz was just one camp, and in total 11 million people died in the Holocaust in WW2 – which may be why you’ve heard of it, and not the Armenian Genocide.

But it’s not just about numbers.

So why haven’t you heard about this? Because the majority of people accept the Holocaust as FACT whereas the Armenian Genocide still isn’t universally accepted. This is a fact too guys.





The Big Issue: Turkey still won’t own up. Yep, you heard that right. They say the killings were a regrettable consequence of the war, but that no systematic or planned genocide of Armenians took place.





They also say the number of dead is much lower, around 300,000 and that many Turks were killed in the conflict

These claims clash with reports from the time – a New York Times report suggested that a “policy of extermination” was taking place.

And let’s not forget: Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin, came up with the word “genocide” in a book about the Holocaust published in 1944. He previously had written about the events in Turkey and stated in a 1949 documentary that “genocide had happened so many times
 first to the Armenians”

So the guy who came up with the word “genocide” considered the Armenian events a genocide, and yet…




US President Barack Obama will make a speech today marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

However, he will NOT actually say the word “genocide“. Instead he will use the term “Meds Yeghern” an Armenian term meaning “the great calamity”. Not quite the same thing

Why won’t he use the word? Because only 20 countries have formally accepted the Armenian Genocide and the USA ain’t on that list. Neither is the UK.


Reasons to keep Turkey sweet: Turkey is a big ally to the US in the Middle East, assisting them in the fight against Islamic State. So Obama won’t be upsetting them by saying the word “Genocide” any time soon.

Same goes for the UK :  a leaked foreign office document from 1999 stated the UK relied so much on good relations with Turkey so would not recognise the genocide. Not dodgy at all


Pope Francis caused international tensions when he used the word “genocide” to refer to the events


What do you think: Planned Genocide or Regrettable Casualty of War? Let us know..