Hate Crime against Muslims rises in Spain

Image of Francisco Javier Garcia Lara. Credit: @fuengirola

NEW Statistics show that hate crimes in Spain have risen significantly in 2015. The Islamic Federation issued the information on April 12 following a series of attacks on mosques. 

In total the information reveals that a staggering 534 anti-Islamic hate crimes, including abuse online, were recorded last year. This is an increase of 486 with only 48 happening in 2014. 

The president of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities, Mounir Benjelloun, said:

“These types of aggressions increase whenever there is an act of violence in a European country carried out by Islamic extremists.”  

France saw a lot of terrorist activity last year and Benjelloun feels these have had a great impact on the European and Spanish psyche. 

2015 was a turbulent year for France. There was the attack in January 2015 against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police and a kosher supermarket in Paris that killed 17 people and the simultaneous assault the concert hall, nearby restaurants, and the football stadium in the French capital in November 2015 that left 130 dead.

On Tuesday April 12, Spanish police confirmed that 14 people had been identified in connection with the protest outside of Madrid’s main mosque – The Omar mosque, which occurred shortly after March’s appalling Brussels airport and metro attacks. 

The placard at the protest read, ‘Today Brussels, tomorrow Madrid?’

Prosecutors are currently investigating whether charges can be bought against the 14. 

The Union of Islamic Communities of Spain issued a statement at the time saying: “Extremist groups” were determined to “manipulate public opinion by trying to group together and channel hate towards Muslims.”

More anti-Islamic hate crimes occurred on April 12 in Madrid when police in Parla arrested a man linked to the far-right, accused of throwing red paint on a local mosque’s door and also painting swastikas on the entrance. 

There are 1.89 million Muslims in Spain and since the Brussels attacks hate crimes have been on the rise. Mosques have been vandalised in protest in other cities as well such as Granada and Salamanca. 

Benjelloun also suggested that in many cases victims are often reluctant to file complaints or give statements to the police, and some police stations label attacks on Muslim property as vandalism instead of as a hate crime.

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