Manchester, England, has experienced a “significant increase” in hate crimes in the month since a suicide bomber killed himself and 22 others outside the arena where singer Ariana Grande had just performed, local police said Thursday.
“Reports of religious hate crime increased by three times after the Manchester Arena terror attack, but other types of hate crime also increased during that time,” according to a statement by the Greater Manchester Police.
People reported 224 instances of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the past month compared with 37 in the same period last year, The Guardian reported. That’s a 505 percent rise. And 778 race-related hate crimes were reported in the same period ― a 61 percent increase compared with last year.
“The general inclination is that hate crimes are going up. Large spikes in hate crimes cause fear levels in the community to rise, particularly among women,” said Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell Mama, a group that measures Islamophobia in Britain. “The majority of street-based incidents happen among Muslim women who are wearing hijab or niqab.”
A spike in hate crimes following an attack is typical, Manchester police assistant chief constable Rob Potts said, “but thankfully they do decrease again quickly. We continue to monitor the levels of hate crimes that are reported and it is essential that we remind people about the importance of reporting when a hate crime happens to you, or you see it happening.”
Hate crimes numbers also have surged in London, where a terrorist attack occurred earlier this month that killed eight. In the most high-profile example, a man from Wales drove a vehicle into a crowd near a mosque in Finsbury Park, killing one and injuring almost a dozen.
The U.K. government pledged heightened protection for Muslim communities in the aftermath. Meanwhile, concern is mounting that sensationalized media coverage of the recent terrorist attacks contributes to radicalizing non-Muslims to commit Islamophobic assaults.
“This kind of coverage, this one-dimensional coverage, almost gives people permission to hate,” Dr. Waqas Tufail, a senior lecturer in criminology at Leeds Beckett University, told HuffPost earlier this week. The attack in Finsbury Park “didn’t happen in a vacuum.”
This article has been updated with comment from Mughal.