Half of all religious hate crimes in Essex are targeted at Jewish community, say police

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ALMOST half of religious hate crimes in Essex are targeted at the Jewish community, according to figures released by Essex Police.

The force said it received reports of 153 hate crimes between September 2018 and August 2019.

Of those, 74 – or 48.4 per cent – were anti-Semitic.

The next highest proportion was crimes targeted against Muslims, which accounted for 48 – or 31.4 per cent – of all reports.

Essex Police said that on some occasions, following hate crimes against the Islamic community, it had to carry out high profile, visible patrols near Islamic prayer centres so members of the community could pray in safety.

Just last month, 56-year-old Jacqueline Huckle, of Sladburys Lane in Clacton, received a nine-week jail term after advocating the mass murder of Muslims.

She published comments online saying a man who slaughtered more than 50 Muslims in a mass shooting in New Zealand should be ‘given a medal’.

Other crimes against Muslims included threatening comments, harassment, malicious communications, and assaults which ranged from spitting on victims to causing GBH.

Essex Police said many abusive comments against Muslims were ‘themed around the ideas of terrorism and paedophilia’, which the force called ‘hateful’, adding: “Our officers will act to bring perpetrators of this language to justice.”

The force said it had also received reports of hate crimes against Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.

A spokesman said: “Regardless of your religion of belief system, or any other difference that you may have, hate crime is unacceptable.

“Whilst we would encourage anyone to report it, we understand that this can have its difficulties and that often victims may not see themselves as the victim of a hate crime, or may be too embarrassed or intimidated to report it.”

The force is releasing local hate crime statistics every day this week to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Other data showed Essex had seen a 40 per cent rise in homophobic hate crimes, a five per cent rise in transphobic hate crimes and that the county’s disabled residents suffered hate crimes at a rate of almost one per day.

Basildon mayor David Burton-Sampson – chairman of the borough’s Pride Committee – said he believed the growing problem was being fuelled by incendiary rhetoric from high profile politicians.

Last month, anti-hate crime organisation Tell Mama published a report saying that anti-Muslim hate crimes surged by 375 per cent in the week after now Prime Minister [then the Home Secretary]

Boris Johnson wrote in a column that Muslim women looked like ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’. The report said that in many of the reported crimes, the abusers had used the exact same words as Mr Johnson.
Mr Johnson has also previously likened allowing gay marriage to permitting marriage between ‘three men and a dog’ and written a column referring to gay men as ‘tank-topped bumboys’.

He has claimed that his comments were ‘satirical’ and taken out of context.

But Cllr Burton-Sampson said: “Leaders need to take responsibility for the rhetoric that they use.”

Meanwhile, the Met Police said this week that extra funding was being allocated to tackle rising hate crime in the capital, which had been ‘specifically’ linked to the EU referendum in 2016.

Essex Police said hate crimes could be reported by dialling 101, or 999 in emergencies.

They can also be reported online at www.report-it.org.uk, or anonymously by phone to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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Charles Thomson

Chief ReporterEmail: [email protected]