Muslim Doctor ‘warned she might get arrested’ after reporting Islamophobic abuse
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday September 12 2017
Romford Recorder reports that a Muslim doctor has been racially assaulted by a motorcyclist as she was driving past Pettis Lane, Romford.
Dr Naila Imran, 41, was in her car when the motorcyclist knocked off her wing mirror as he moved past her. When she caught up with him and pointed out the damage, the man hurled Islamophobic abuse at her, to the point that she became “scared for her life”.
Naila managed to write down his number plate, but when she reported the fact to the police, she was she was told that the man would only receive a warning. Naila also claimed that the police warned her not to press charges, as she might get arrested if the man was to make a counter claim against her.
Naila’s story is yet another example of the problems afflicting the Muslim community in the UK. Between 2014/15 and 2015/16, religious hate crimes increased by 34%, from 3,293 to 4,400 offences in England and Wales. In the 11 months following the Brexit vote, religious and racial hate crimes have increased a further 23%, arguably a consequence of the simultaneous rise of far-right, racist and xenophobic sentiments across the country.
However alarming, the widespread rise of racial and religious hate crimes across the UK only offers a partial understanding of the issue. First, because until recent times, not all UK police forces collected data on Islamophobic attacks, which made attempts to accurately and comprehensively record anti-Muslim incidents virtually impossible. Second, because many victims are deterred from reporting such crimes for fear of repercussions or reprisals or, as the case of Naila illustrates, simply inaction, humiliation and frustration.
Yet, this instance should not discourage victims of hate crimes from reporting their stories. As Naila herself stated, this behaviour only “lets Islamaphobes feel like they can get away with abusing Muslims”, so it is critical for victims or witnesses to contact the authorities and/or the many organisations that tackle Islamophobia across the country.
Although, the police can only charge and prosecute someone when the law has been broken, there are other things the police can do to help you deal with incident. It’s also important to keep in mind that some hate crimes start as smaller incidents which may escalate into more serious and frequent attacks – so it’s always best to act early.
You can read the procedure to report a hate crime detailed by the Crown Prosecution Service here.
If you live in Havering, you can read about the Council’s Hate Crime Strategy here.
And you can access Police statistics about Islamophobic hate crimes in the Borough of Havering here.
Finally, it is important to remember that if you are a victim of an Islamophobic attack, you can report it to MEND here to receive support and counselling.