September 7, 2015 / 3:24 PM / 4 years ago

London police say Muslim hate crimes up by 71 percent

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of reported Islamophobic offences in London soared in the last year, police said on Monday with a Muslim group that monitors such attacks saying women were the primary targets.

London’s Metropolitan Police said there were 816 Muslim hate crimes in the British capital in the 12 months to July, a rise of 71 percent on the same period the year before.

The force put the increase down to better reporting and an improved awareness among officers, but also said world events and the celebration of religious days led to a rise in hate crimes.

“In light of recent world events, we know communities in London are feeling anxious,” the Met Police said in a statement.

Tell MAMA, a group which monitors anti-Muslim attacks, said about 60 percent of the victims of Islamophobia were women who were targeted for wearing a veil or headscarf.

“We also realised that women who wore the Niqab, the face veil, suffered more aggressive incidents - there was something about the face veil that in a way brought out the worst in the perpetrator,” Fiyaz Mughal, the group’s director, told BBC TV.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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