The Chair of WSREC’s board of Directors, Hanzala Malik, has voiced the organisation’s concerns regarding newly released figures documenting hate crime in Scotland. Official figures from the Scottish Government and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) show that racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime with 3,712 charges reported in 2015-16. 581 charges with a religious aggravation were reported to the COPFS in 2015-16, a 3% increase on 2014-15.

“Charges where conduct was derogatory to Islam have nearly doubled (up 89%) from 71 charges (12% of the total) in 2014-15 to 134 charges (23%) in 2015-16. Unlike 2012-13 where there was an increase in charges targeting Islam that was related to a specific event, the rise this year is not attributable to a single event or pattern, and appears to reflect a general rise in the reporting of these types of charges”.

Other notable findings in the reports include:

  • 1,020 charges were reported with an aggravation of prejudice relating to sexual orientation, up 20% on the previous year, and 201 relating to disability, an increase of 14%.
  • Roman Catholicism is the religion most often noted in religiously-aggravated charges (51% in 2015-16), followed by Protestantism (24%) and Islam (23%)
  • The number of charges where Islam was noted has almost doubled, from the 71 charges in 2014-15, to 134 charges in 2015-16
  • The police were the victim in 41% of religiously aggravated charges in 2015-16.

Hanzala said:

“The figures are unacceptable. There needs to be a more focused attempt to address the issue.

“What new measures will the government take to address these new figures and what resources will be put into tackling the issue? There needs to be an unequivocal commitment to equality.

“These figures are extremely worrying and made even more poignant in the light of the tragic events which unfolded this weekend in Orlando. We must make a clear stand that there is no place in Scotland for any crime motivated by prejudice, be it racial, religious, homophobic or any other form of intolerance. This problem is too serious to be ignored.”

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Hanzala Malik

WSREC Chair