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Home World News Anti-Muslim hatred in Scotland ‘should shame us all’

Anti-Muslim hatred in Scotland ‘should shame us all’

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Eighty three per cent of Muslims in Scotland have experienced Islamophobia with women more likely to encounter such abuse, a landmark report found.

More than three quarters of Muslims polled said anti-Islam sentiment was getting worse, while 75 per cent said Islamophobia was a regular problem in Scotland.

The results came after the first public inquiry into the treatment of Muslims in the country, organised by a cross-party committee of members of the Scottish Parliament with a report written by Newcastle University academic Prof Peter Hopkins.

A total of 447 people – 78 per cent of whom “identify with the Islamic faith” – and 15 organisations and agencies submitted responses.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who heads the group of MSPs that set up the report, said the findings “should shame us all”.

“There are people in Scotland who feel scared to leave their homes for fear of verbal of physical attack; are withdrawing from public services with devastating knock-on consequences on their health and education; and feel they are outsiders in their own country,” he said.

Mr Sarwar, whose father Mohammad is the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab region, called for a redoubling of efforts “to challenge and overcome hatred and prejudice”.

“This requires politicians to come together on a cross-party basis, because the fight against hate is a fight for all of us,” he said.

Mr Sarwar said that growing up in Glasgow he “witnessed abhorrent racism aimed at my family, my friends and the Scots Asian community”.

The inquiry found that the street is where abuse is most likely to take place.

Thirty one per cent of respondents reported incidents of anti-Muslim hatred at work, 18 per cent at school and 13 per cent at college or university.

Verbal and physical abuse was felt to be on the rise, the poll found, as were attacks on mosques and religious buildings.

Women said they were particularly fearful of having their hijab pulled off or being harassed for wearing one.

The Scottish government was urged to address the shortfall in data on anti-Muslim hate and to support initiatives aimed at recruiting a more diverse range of police officers.

The inquiry called for programmes to educate the people of Scotland about anti-Muslim hatred in the country.

“This document is not an easy read,” said Mr Sarwar, whose father was the first Muslim member of the British Parliament.

“So imagine what it is like for everyone who has faced the Islamophobia detailed in these pages. We pride ourselves on being a welcome and tolerant country but it’s clear how much more work we have to do.”

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