The rise of the far right in the UK has, to no surprise, simultaneously fuelled an unprecedented rise in Islamophobic rhetoric and hate crimes. Mosques are increasingly targets of such hate-fuelled acts of intimidation and violence.

The sheer volume of mosque-targeted attacks signals the pressing need for mosques, their staff and congregations, to be safeguarded and protected. Within this remit, the precautionary and pro-active notions of ensuring resilient, secure and safe faith based institutions is becoming increasingly necessary.

Below are different definitions of Islamophobia and Hate Crime.




All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims-Akeela Ahmed MBE as evidence provider

“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”[1]

Runnymede Trust -definition Endorsed by Akeela Ahmed MBE

“Islamophobia is any distinction, exclusion, or restriction towards, or preference against, Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslims) that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”[2]

UN definitions

“[Islamophobia] refers to a baseless hostility and fear vis-à-vis Islam, and as a result a fear of and aversion towards all Muslims or the majority of them. It also refers to the practical consequences of this hostility in terms of discrimination, prejudices and unequal treatment of which Muslims (individuals and communities) are victims and their exclusion from major political and social spheres. The term was invented in response to a new reality: the increasing discrimination against Muslims which has manifested itself in recent years.”[3]

“Islamophobia is not just an arbitrary and uninformed fear of Muslims among individual citizens. Islamophobia is, in large part, the function of structural discrimination stemming from negative stereotypes of Muslims and their religion.”[4]

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Observatory on Islamophobia

“Islamophobia is a fear, or more precisely, an excessive fear, against Islam, against Muslims, as well as against anything associated with the religion, such as Mosques, Islamic Centers, Holy Qur’an, Hijab, etc. It also constitutes racism and discriminations in daily life, on Media, at workplace, in political sphere, etc. It rests in the mind and it reflects in attitudes, and could be manifested through violent actions, such as burning mosques, vandalizing properties, abusing women wearing scarf, or insulting Prophet or sacred symbols of Islam. That is more or less, how Islamophobia identifiable, how it manifests, which can be seen not only from incidents, but also through perspectives, statements, behavior, and gestures.”[5]

Open Society Institute

“Islamophobia: Irrational hostility, fear and hatred of Islam, Muslims and Islamic culture, and active discrimination towards this group as individuals or collectively.”[6]

Center for American Progress

“We define it [Islamophobia] as an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from America’s social, political, and civic life.”[7]


 Hate Crime


Metropolitan Police

A Hate Crime is “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”[9]

Types of hate crime

Hate crime can fall into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.

Physical assault

Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling can be a common and extremely unpleasant experience for minority groups.

Victims of verbal abuse are often unclear whether an offence has been committed or believe there is little they can do. However, there are laws in place to protect you from verbal abuse.

If you’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, talk to the police or one of our partner organisations about what has happened. You’ll find a list of them on our How to report hate crime page.

Even if you don’t know who verbally abused you, the information could still help us to improve how we police the area where the abuse took place.

Incitement to hatred

The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites.

Hate content may include:

  •  messages calling for violence against a specific person or group
  • web pages that show pictures, videos or descriptions of violence against anyone due to their perceived differences
  • chat forums where people ask other people to commit hate crimes against a specific person or group.”[10]

The Crown Prosecution Service

“The term ‘hate crime’ can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.”[11] 


[1] All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. (2017). Report on the inquiry into a working definition of

Islamophobia / anti-Muslim hatred. p. 11.

[2] Runnymede Trust. (2017). A 20th-anniversary report Edited by Farah Elahi and Omar Khan Islamophobia Still a challenge for us all. Runnymede. Available at p. 7.

[3] UN Commission on Human Rights, Report submitted by Mr. Doudou Diène, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, 13 December 2004, E/CN.4/2005/18/Add.4, available at: [accessed 4 June 2021]. p. 7.

[4] Ahmed Shaheed. (2021, March 4). Statement of Ahmed Shaheed UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief 46th Session of the Human Rights Council. [accessed 4 June 2021]. p. 3.

[5] Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Observatory on Islamophobia. (n.d.). Islamophobia. OIC. [accessed 4 June 2021].

[6] Open Society Institute. (2010). Muslims in Europe A Report on 11 EU Cities. ISBN Number: 978-1-936133-01-7. Available at p. 18.

[7] Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir. (2011). Fear, Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America. Center for American Progress. Available at  p. 9.

[8] Chris Allen. Towards a working definition of Islamophobia. Briefing paper, July 2017. p.7.

[9] Metropolitan Police. (n.d.). What is hate crime?. [accessed June 04, 2021].

[10] Idem.

[11] The Crown Prosecution Service. (n.d.). Hate crime. [accessed June 04, 2021].

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