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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Muslims face 'serious prejudice'
Muslim praying
Muslims face more faith hate crimes than any other community
Members of London's Muslim community are "disproportionately" victims of hate crimes, a report from the mayor's office has claimed.

Mayor Ken Livingstone said that as one in every 12 Londoners were Muslims, they faced "serious discrimination and prejudice".

The report, Muslims in London, also said that the community has the lowest rates of employment.

The report aims to "combat ignorance and Islamophobia", Mr Livingstone said.

But some have criticised the report for lacking balance and placing too much emphasis on the challenges facing London Muslims. "It shows the community in London in a negative way," said Ahmed Versi, editor of the Muslim News.

"I believe that the communities in London are more integrated and are living in peace."

High unemployment

There are 706,000 Muslims in the city, of which 40% were born in the UK (according to the 2001 census).

In 2005-2006, there were more than 1,000 religiously aggravated attacks reported in the capital, which is a 87% increase since the previous year, the report said.

Muslim woman wearing veil
Very few Muslim women work full-time

"Muslims in London face serious discrimination and prejudice... Muslims are disproportionately victims of religiously aggravated crime, more so than any other faith," Mr Livingstone said.

The community also has the highest levels of unemployment, 42% in the 16-24 age group, compared with the 60% of the general population.

The report recommended public bodies should investigate direct and indirect cases of discrimination and improve Muslim representation in the government.

The mayor said: "I hope this report will increase understanding between communities and combat some of the ignorance, prejudice and Islamophobia stirred up by some sections of the media."

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), and the report's co-author, said it documented "the needs of the community and identifies policy initiatives. The report is a role model for other major cities".




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