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Sharp rise in Islamophobic incidents in UK following Gaza war leaves Muslims in fear: Report

The file photo shows pro-Palestinian demonstrators waving placards and Palestinian flags at a mass rally in support of Gaza in London. (Photo by FP)

A new report has revealed that the number of Islamophobic incidents has risen sharply in the UK following Israel’s brutal war on the Gaza Strip, leaving Muslims in fear.

According to a report by the British daily The Independent on Sunday, most of the Islamophobic incidents involved people being targeted over their support for Palestine.

A Muslim woman told the newspaper that she was targeted because she had a Palestinian flag in her window, adding that she "could have been killed" by a brick thrown through her window over her support for Palestine. 

A 17-year-old student also said he was questioned by his teachers after he displayed a Palestinian badge on his bag at school.

The student went on to say that he felt targeted because he was Muslim, which triggered an anxiety attack and led to exam failure, after he was interrogated by teachers about his faith and “his understanding of Hamas.”

A 32-year-old doctor also said he has been too scared to leave his home after an attack he believes stemmed from his support for Palestine.

He was awoken on February 5 after a large rock smashed through a window at his Manchester home, which displayed a Palestinian flag.

He said this event has been “extremely traumatic” and has had a significant impact on his well-being, adding that he was unable to sleep and took two weeks off work as a result of the incident.

 Majid Iqbal, CEO of the Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU), a charity which supports victims of Islamophobia, noted that there was a 365 percent increase in reports of Islamophobia in October 2023, following the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas’ attack on Israel.

“Since October 2023, IRU has seen a sustained increase in reports to the unit,” Iqbal said, warning that “It is clear that this is now developing into a long-term trend and is having a profound impact on those affected by it.”

He further called on the press and politicians “to not demonize legitimate Palestinian activism and, by extension, British Muslims, to avoid feeding into the serious societal problem of Islamophobia.”

TellMama, which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, also said there were 2,010 Islamophobic incidents between October 7 and February 7, more than triple the 600 reported during the same period the year before. 

The Israeli regime launched its deadly bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying regime.

So far, more than 29,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in the regime's brutal onslaught, while more than 70,000 others have been wounded.

Ever since reports of Islamophobic acts and attacks on pro-Palestine activists have been growing across the world.

Observers say Muslims — especially women wearing a hijab — have been insulted and attacked on the streets.  

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