Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins MP made a statement in response to an Urgent Question on hate crime, in light of inflammatory letters inciting a “Punish a Muslim day” on 3rd April. The letter was sent out in a number of UK cities, calling on people to verbally and physically attack Muslims.
Minister Atkins condemned the content of the letters as “abhorrent, with no place in decent society”, and that they are part of an ongoing investigation.
CFI Vice-President John Howell OBE MP, Simon Clarke MP, Philip Hollobone MP are among MPs who spoke of their concern about the rise in hate crimes against Muslim and Jewish communities in the UK.
Mr Howell asked Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins MP: “In view of the similarities between anti-Muslim hate crime and the anti-Semitism that we have seen, will she reassure me that the action plan proposed by the Government will be adequate?”
Ms Atkins said in response: “He has a long and established record of supporting our Jewish communities. Yes, the hate crime action plan covers all forms of hatred, as defined by the legislation, and of course, sadly, antisemitism forms part of that”.
Philip Hollobone said: “Hate crime in all its forms is to be condemned, as is this letter. Another group that is affected by growing hate crime is the Jewish community, and the Community Security Trust is having to go to ever greater lengths to protect local Jewish community centres”.
He asked: “Can we ensure that all these forms of hate crime are combated as far as possible?”
The Home Office Minister said that “I, like him, condemn any form of anti-Semitism. I know that the police are as focused on that form of crime as they are on any other form of religious hate crime”.
Simon Clarke MP asked: “The rising tide of creeping Islamophobia and anti-Jewish sentiment should concern us all. How is improving the recording of this hate crime helping us to track what is going on in our society and how we can tackle it?”
Ms Atkins said in her reply that “increasing the amount of data helps to give us answers and helps to direct our resources in the right way”.