Most victims of religious hate crimes in England and Wales were Muslims and Jews in the year to March 2022, according to official government data.
The Home Office reported on Thursday that the overall number of hate crimes rose 26 percent from 2021 until 2022, to 155,841.
Some 8,307 were religious hate crimes; 42 percent of offences were against Muslims, while 23 percent targeted Jews.
But similar to previous years, most were “racially motivated”, which made up 109,843 offences and increased by 19 percent.
“The upward trend in hate crime seen in recent years is likely to have been mainly driven by improvements in crime recording by the police,” the report said, adding that previously spikes had followed divisive and tragic events such as the European Union referendum in 2016 and the deadly attacks in London in 2017.
“There was also an increase in public order hate crimes during the summer of 2020 following the widespread Black Lives Matter protests and far-right counter-protests,” the report said.
Iman Atta, head of the Tell Mama monitor, which tracks anti-Muslim crimes in the United Kingdom, said: “We have long warned about rising levels of violence in public spaces or on public transport.”
The latest Home Office data, he said, “confirms and validates our findings about how religiously-motivated offences targeted Muslims”.
The report follows recent unrest in the English city of Leicester, where Muslims and Hindus clashed on the streets.