Islamophobic crimes against Muslims in London have gone up by 70 per cent over the past year, according to the latest Scotland Yard figures.
Statistics for the past 12 months until July showed 816 Islamophobic crimes, compared with the 478 recorded for the previous 12-month period.
The Metropolitan Police define Islamophobic crime as any offence intended to affect those known or perceived to be Muslim.
Reported incidents ranged from cyber-bullying and assaults to extreme violence.
One of the highest increases was in Merton, southwest London, which saw a rise from eight incidents in the year to July 2014 up to 29 in the subsequent 12-month period, an increase of 263 per cent.
The borough with the highest number of incidents in the year 2014-15 was Westminster, which recorded 54 Islamophobic crimes, according to the Met’s figures.
Cdr Mak Chishty, the force’s lead for hate crime, said, “There are a number of reasons why Muslim women are targeted more than men. Their physical attire obviously says they are Muslim, they are normally by themselves and with children and the cowardice shown by perpetrators is that it is easier to attack a women with children than it is a man.”
Tell Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks (MAMA), an organisation that monitors Islamophobic attacks, claimed women were the primary targets, with those wearing a face veil being victims of more “aggressive incidents”.
Tell MAMA said 60 per cent of Islamophobia victims were women.
Fiyaz Mughal, director of the organisation, said, “We realised that at a street level Muslim women who were visible, and wore the Hijab or the headscarf, were suffering more targeted abuse.”
“We also realised quite early on that women who wear Niqab, the face veil, suffered more aggressive incidents — there was something about the face veil that in a way brought out the worst in the perpetrator,” he said.