Anti-Muslim hate crimes will be recorded as a separate category by police forces in England and Wales for the first time, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Tuesday. The move brings Islamophobia in line with anti-Semitic attacks targeting Jewish people, which have been recorded separately for some time.
The government said that creating a separate category would enable police, prosecutors, councils and communities to target resources to protect Muslims and their places of worship. The Metropolitan Police already records Islamophobic crime. The news comes as the government prepares to unveil yearly hate crime statistics, which are expected to show a further rise.
“I want British Muslims to know we will back them to stand against those who spread hate and to counter the narrative which says Muslims do not feel British,” the prime minister’s office reportedly said, in an emailed statement, Tuesday.
Cameron is scheduled to host a meeting of community and faith leaders in London later Tuesday to discuss his government’s anti-extremism strategy. He will also reportedly announce new funding for the security of all faith establishments, including mosques.
“I want police to take more action against those who persecute others simply because of their religion,” Cameron reportedly said, ahead of the meeting.
Home Secretary Theresa May addressed the issue of hate crime late Monday, saying that it had "no place in Britain."
"Working with police to provide a breakdown in religious-based hate crime data will help forces to build community trust, target their resources and enable the public to hold them to account," she said, according to the BBC.
Religious hate crimes soared by 45 percent and race hate crime by 4 percent in 2013-14, according to Downing Street.