May 19, 2024

The announcement comes amid a sharp rise in anti-Muslim incidents since the start of the war in Gaza in October.

The United Kingdom will pump an additional 117 million pounds ($150m) into protecting Muslim communities, the government said.

The new funding, announced on Monday as the Muslim month of Ramadan began, will be used to install security cameras, alarms, and fences in mosques, Muslim faith schools, and other community centres. The move comes amid a rise in hate attacks since the start of the war in Gaza in October.

“Anti-Muslim hatred has absolutely no place in our society. We will not let events in the Middle East be used as an excuse to justify abuse against British Muslims,” Home Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

An estimated four million Muslims live in the UK. Tell MAMA, a group monitoring Muslim hate, found that online attacks, physical assaults, and other forms of targeting, grew 335 percent last month compared with the same time in the previous year.

“The prime minister has made clear that we stand with Muslims in the UK,” Cleverly continued. “That is exactly why we have committed to this funding, giving reassurance and confidence to UK Muslims at a time when it is crucially needed.”

Under fire

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come under fire in recent weeks for failing to condemn inciting statements coming from his fellow Conservatives.

His government is now planning to unveil a new official definition of extremism to ensure groups that promote unacceptable views do not receive state funding or support.

Communities minister, Michael Gove, who will set out the new definition, said some recent pro-Palestinian marches in central London had been organised by “extremist organisations”.

Conservative lawmaker Lee Anderson said in February that London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Keir Starmer were “controlled by Islamists”. Although Sunak called the comments “unacceptable” and suspended Anderson, many critics point out that the prime minister did not specifically condemn the comments as Islamophobic.

In the same vein, former Home Secretary Suella Braverman wrote in a February opinion piece that “Islamists are bullying Britain into submission”.

Last week, a group of “terror attack” survivors penned an open letter to British politicians, warning them to stop equating Muslims with “extremism” and calling such action the “height of irresponsibility”.

The additional fund allocation for the Muslim community is in addition to an already-budgeted 29.4 million pounds ($37.7m) for 2023 through 2024. The funding will be disbursed over the next four years.

The UK announced in February 54 million pounds ($68m) of new funding to protect Jewish communities, which have also suffered a sharp rise in hate incidents.

A total of 4,103 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in 2023, almost double the number the previous year and the highest in decades. Two-thirds of these attacks took place after October 7, according to the Jewish advisory body Community Security Trust (CST).

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