UK Racism On Rise, Muslims Stigmatized

Racist attacks against Muslim and other ethnic minorities in Britain are on the rise, with politicians and media fuelling hostility and prejudice against minorities, a new European report finds.

“Muslims, migrants, asylum-seekers and Gypsies and Travellers are regularly presented in a negative light in the media,” says the report by the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI.

“Political debate in the United Kingdom continues to include some elements of racist and xenophobic discourse.”

The report shows that racist attacks against ethnic minorities have tripled from 31,000 in 2003 to more than 38,000.

More than 13,000 race or discrimination cases were successfully prosecuted in 2007-2008, against 8,800 for the previous two years.

“More efforts are needed to prevent such violence from occurring,” says the report.

The report says that asylum-seekers were often vulnerable to hasty decisions to reject their claims, unnecessary detention and intense public hostility.

“At the same time, measures put forward by the authorities as part of proposals to consolidate immigration legislation foreshadow generally more restrictive policies in this field, and hostility towards migrant workers appears to be increasing.”

Ethnic minorities are taking the full brunt of racism in Britain.

Estimates show that 87,000 members of ethnic minorities have been a victim of racially motivated crimes.

Figures also show that ethnic minorities have the worst unemployment and housing crises in the country.

Some 70% of all ethnic minorities live in the 88 most deprived areas, compared to 40% of the general population.

Stigmatized Muslims

The ECRI finds that Muslims were taking the full brunt of anti-terror measures in Britain, including the stop and search powers.

“Anti-terror provisions also continue to cause concern,” says the report.

Many British Muslims, estimated at two million, have complained of maltreatment by police for no apparent reason other than being Muslim.

“Research has shown that Muslims feel stigmatized and alienated by these measures,” says the report.

“Young Muslims who have been regularly stopped and searched feel increasingly marginalized.”

The controversial stop and search powers have been under repeated criticism from human rights groups in and outside Britain.

A 2009 report by the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile of Berriew, estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 stops per month were taking place but none had resulted in convictions.

In January, the European Court for Human Rights has dismissed the random police stop and search measures as a serious breach of human rights, asking London to suspended them.

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