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Race hate victims urged to report attacks in street

20 October, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Councillor Rakhia Ismail, whose husband was injured in the June terror attack

VICTIMS of hate crime must report attacks to the police so action can be taken, a meeting at Finsbury Park mosque heard on Tuesday.

In the same week that figures from the London Mayor’s office showed nearly a 25 per cent increase in Islamophobic hate crime, around 100 people gathered at the St Thomas’s Road mosque to share their experiences with a panel including MP Jeremy Corbyn.

The event, which focused on crimes against Muslim women in particular, was held around the corner from the scene of a terror attack in June in which a worshipper at Muslim Welfare House was killed by a van.

Councillor Andy Hull, Islington’s community safety chief, said that, of 12 recent reports, 11 were hate-filled messages sent to local mosques, with just one report of street hate crime.

“Yet, if we talk to Muslim women in this community, it’s something they are experiencing every day,” he said. “We want these culprits caught. The people being spat at and abused in the street – if it’s not reported, it’s not going to get sorted.”

He added that he understood people may be fearful of coming forward.

MP Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Police must acknowledge and understand the seriousness of the crime’

Treena Fleming, women’s safeguarding lead officer for Islington police, echoed his comments. “If we don’t get reports we can’t catch the culprits. We need specificity and detailed descriptions of people.”

She added: “We know that hate crime is underreported and we’re working to change that.”

Women in the audience shared their stories with the panel. “We all experience it, and we often don’t even realise it’s a crime,” said one woman. “Vulgar things yelled at us, being pushed, being confronted, being terrorised.”

Elements of the media came under attack for their reporting on Muslims, as did social media giants which allow people to abuse at will online.

Mr Corbyn said sites such as Facebook and Twitter had to “shape up” in their fight against abuse.

The Islington North MP added that he would continue discussions with Transport for London and police about how they dealt with reports and complaints.

“If you’re a woman alone and you’ve been abused in the street you’ve taken a big step in going to tell the police about it…” he said. “There must then be an appropriate response by police to acknowledge and understand the seriousness of the crime.”

He suggested that reporting systems could be put in place in schools, workplaces and places of worship.

Ms Fleming drew attention to the Self Evident app, in which hate crime evidence could be filmed and statements recorded without going to a police station.

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