A new report’s revealed Muslims targeted in Islamophobic attacks are reluctant to report incidents and often receive little support from onlookers.

Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) commissioned the report, which found that ‘trigger’ events such as the terrorist attacks in Tunisia and Paris, the murder of Lee Rigby and the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal “fuelled the growth of anti-Muslim hostility on social media as well as on the streets of Britain”.


The report’s researchers, from Birmingham City University and Nottingham Trent University, also found that:

-> people are scared online threats could materialise in the real world;

-> Muslim women are more likely to be attacked, both online and in the real world, than Muslim men;

-> Muslim men are unlikely to report Islamophobic incidents for fear of being perceived as ‘weak’.

Many Muslim women said they are removing their headscarves and men are shaving their beards in a bid to disguise their Islamic beliefs through fear of being targeted in religious hate attacks.

The report features a number of victims talking about their experiences.

Hira was verbally and physically abused by a group of men on a train. They waved alcoholic drinks in her face, asking her if she wanted some. They chanted ‘we are racist, we are racist and we love it’, asking Hira if she ‘eats bacon’ and has ‘a bomb under her scarf’.

“They started chanting, ‘I asked the person abusing me to stop but he wouldn’t. Then they dropped alcohol on my coat…People were watching but they ignored it. No one wanted to help.”

– Hira

Sarah, who converted to Islam, said she received significant abuse following reporting of incidents involving ISIS.

“When I became identifiably Muslim, I got nasty looks, threats and abuse, and that’s an everyday experience, especially because I am a white British Muslim. When I suffer abuse in public, people walk off or stare… ‘I was on my way to the shops and people shouted at me, ‘why don’t we chop your head off?’… Anti-Muslim hate is normal.”

– Sarah

Asma, a midwife, quit her job after being abused by patients she was looking after.

“I was on a Maternity ward and one of my patients, during a nightshift, was in labour. When she saw me with my hijab, she swore at me. She shouted, ‘I don’t want my baby to see your terrorist face. I don’t want my child to come to this world and see someone like you, a terrorist. Leave my country! How dare you come to my ward and show your ugly face.’ I then left my job as a midwife as I felt a lot of people hate me.”

– Asma

The research also reveals that victims were multiple and repeat victims of both online and offline forms of anti-Muslim hate crime.

Imran Awan, Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology, and Dr Irene Zempi, a criminology lecturer at Nottingham Trent University carried out the research.

“This research reveals worrying levels of fear and intimidation experienced by many Muslims, compounded by a lack of support from the wider public when facing physical threats in the real world and an absence of tough action from social media platforms at the abuse people are receiving online.”

– Imran Awan, Birmingham City University

“Our participants made a number of recommendations for tackling anti-Muslim hate crime. We are determined to work with relevant organisations to ensure that their voices are heard and recommendations implemented.”

– Dr Irene Zempi, Nottingham Trent University