Anti-Muslim hate crime on rise in Wales

A Muslim woman has described her fear during a racist attack on her Cardiff home, as a UK-wide study into the effects of hate crime is launched.

The £100,000 Victim Support research project aims to develop new guidelines and support for victims of hate and race crime. It comes as Muslims in Wales face rising levels of violence and intimidation after the London bombings. In July, animal parts and a racist letter were left at a Cardiff mosque. And on Wednesday, a Muslim woman, who did not want to be identified, told BBC Wales how her home had been attacked last week.

She said: “We were sitting in our living room when we heard this man shouting outside our door. He was throwing things, picking up stones from our front garden and throwing them at our door and our window. And then he smashed a section of our double-glazed window. He was shouting [a series of abusive names]. It was quite scary, because we didn’t know what he had. My niece was sleeping in the front room.

“We don’t feel secure at all. When you are in the house you are always fearing whether someone will come in or try and force their way in. They can do anything, they can put things in our letter boxes. And when you go out, you are always paranoid, always looking around and people do give you funny looks anyway, especially since the London bombings.

“You kind of think ‘I shouldn’t wear traditional clothing just in case somebody makes a comment, I’d rather fit in with the crowd and look more westernised’ and I don’t like doing that. I’m British but I’m also Pakistani. I’m Muslim and that’s my culture.”

Paul Fawcett, from Victim Support, which is carrying out the research, said it was necessary to look at how best to respond to the needs of victims of hate crime. He added: “I think we need to look at in more detail because the danger is giving people a one size fits all policy. No two people are affected the same by an incident.”

Last month, Muslim leaders were among the 150 people taking part in a demonstration in Cardiff’s civic centre against racism at home and work. The demo came after new figures showed the North Wales Police area had seen the largest rise in racial incidents with 64 reported cases from 7-28 July compared to 20 in the same period in 2004. Gwent Police has also dealt with 49 cases, up from 30 in 2004, and Dyfed-Powys has had 17 incidents (up from 12). South Wales Police also said there had been an increase in cases in its area.

Police are still investigating the attack on the Cardiff mosque. The content of the racist letter has been described as “religious hatred against Islam”.

BBC News, 10 August 2005