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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 13:33 GMT
Response to London attack praised
Wirral Islamic Cultural Centre
Mosques outside London were also attacked after the bombings
A united stance taken by the UK police, government and community leaders after the London bombings is said to have limited the backlash against Muslims.

So-called faith hate crimes increased sharply after the 7 July attacks, according to a report by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism (EUMC).

But the increase was temporary and incident levels have already fallen.

The report says the bombings prompted a broader public debate across Europe about bringing communities together.

The EUMC's findings were being presented to the European Parliament on Thursday.

Crime surge

EUMC Director Beate Winkler said the attacks in London made many British Muslims feel vulnerable. "The strong lead given by UK ministers, police and community leaders, both in condemning the attacks and in insisting that any acts against the wider Muslim community would be dealt with firmly, has had the right result," she said.

We welcome the decisiveness of political leadership against anti-Muslim incidents, the positive engagement with Muslim communities and the support of the police services
Beate Winkler

The report also found that other EU governments helped prevent a wider backlash against Muslims by making a clear the distinction between the acts of the bombers and the Muslim faith.

"The united stand taken across Europe in the face of the bomb attacks has been an excellent example of cohesion and unity in action," said Ms Winkler.

Figures for London show a surge in faith hate crimes from 15 for the week before the attacks to 68 and 92 in the weeks of and after the bombings. By 10 October, the figure had dropped to 20.

Attacks against Muslims, "or those perceived to be Muslim", in the UK included verbal abuse, and arson attacks on mosques and even Sikh temples.

Minor Islamophobic incidents were also reported elsewhere in Europe, including e-mail threats against targets in Sweden, a stone thrown through a mosque window in Austria and an alleged attack on a Sikh bus driver in Copenhagen on 9 July by a man who allegedly shouted "London".

The report says that although it may still be too early to say, the impact of the 7 July bombings on the lives of Muslims has not been as significant as the 11 September attacks on the US in 2001.

The report praised initiatives in EU countries to help combat Islamophobia, including:

  • Austria: European conference of imams planned for January 2006 to focus on fundamentalism and terrorism.

  • Denmark: Prime minister met 19 representatives from Muslim community to discuss integration. The Islamic community held an anti-terror conference.

  • Germany: Muslim leaders called for debate within Muslim community on dangers of misinterpreting the Koran. They also called for a consistent Muslim policy from the government, suggesting visits to mosques to improve relations. The Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution plans to set up confidential telephone hotline, where information about terrorist or extremist activities can be reported in Arabic or Turkish.

  • Spain: On 15 July, the UN adopted a Spanish proposal to create a Civilisations Alliance between Western countries and the Arab world.

"The real test will be whether these positive initiatives will be followed up and foster community cohesion in the longer term," Ms Winkler added.

'Faith hate crime': Total crimes reported specifically as faith hate
'Total hate crime': Combined total of all reported hate crimes, ie. faith hate; race; anti-semitic, anti-Islamic and homophobic

Hate crimes soar after bombings
04 Aug 05 |  London
Violent offences top million mark
21 Jul 05 |  UK Politics
Race crime doubles across region
01 Aug 05 |  West Yorkshire

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