A Government hotline has seen a tenfold increase in the number of Islamophobic hate crimes in the 48 hours since the murder of a British soldier in Woolwich, as Muslim leaders accused far right extremists of capitalizing on the “barbaric” killing.
More than 140 crimes were reported since the incident in southeast London on Wednesday, including attacks on mosques, racial abuse, assaults and even anti-Muslim graffiti.
The nationalist English Defence League is planning a “protest march” in London on Bank Holiday Monday at what it says is the “state of war” declared against Britain by extremists.
On Friday, British National Party leader Nick Griffin made a marked visit to the scene of the murder in Woolwich to lay a wreath of flowers, a day after he had tweeted that the attack was the result of “mass immigration”.
A spokesman for the hate crime hotline, Measuring Anti-Muslims Attacks, told the Independent that reported incidents were running at “a level we simply haven’t seen before”.
He said: “Muslims at this moment are feeling a real and pervasive sense of fear.”
An improvised petrol bomb was thrown at a mosque in Milton Keynes during Friday prayers, while attacks have also been reported in Gillingham, Braintree, Bolton and Cambridge.
Far-right websites are linking the murder to the growth of ethnic minority population, while a number of social networking sites also carried messages calling for Muslim sites to be attacked.
The “True British Patriots” Facebook page carried calls for mosques in Watford in Hertfordshire and Morden, south London, to be burned down.
The official website of the National Front party berates “Muslim scum” and calls for “non-whites” to be removed from the country.