The number of hate crime incidents reported to police in Manchester has almost doubled since the suicide bomb attack at the Manchester Arena on May 22 that killed 22 people and injured dozens of others.
A total of 56 hates crimes were recorded by the Manchester Police on May 24; a significant rise from the 28 reported two days previously. Police say 28 is a fairly typical number.
“It is important that we continue to stand together here in Greater Manchester,” Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said.
“Particularly against some of the hateful views that we’ve seen from a very small minority of the community that have no place here.”
Although a direct link couldn’t be made to the attack on Monday night – which was carried out by Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent – the police are continuing to monitor the situation.
Some of the victims are afraid to report such incidents to police, while others are frightened of reprisals from the community.
“I know some [Muslim girls] who have been attacked. There was one who doesn’t wear a headscarf or anything, but a man came up to her and punched her in the head,” Tracey Pook, a Muslim receptionist, told Al Jazeera.
“I’m frightened of the anger that will follow. No doubt, we’re going to have some protests from far-right groups.”
Fear amid solidarity
The residents of Manchester have shown plenty of solidarity since the attack. Several crowdfunding campaigns have been set up to raise funds for the families of the victims.
A campaign entitled “Muslims United for Manchester” is being led by the British Muslim Heritage Centre that seeks to raise at least $65,000 for the victims and their families.
“We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action,” the campaign’s description reads.
However, there are also fears that the current unity that largely prevails is only a temporary distraction from the city’s problems with hate crimes.
“There is something burning underneath and all those injustices, whether they are here or abroad – they have an effect on the reaction of people,” Abdul Aziz, a Manchester-based member of the Muslim Association of Great Britain, told Al Jazeera.
On Saturday, Britain lowered its official terrorism threat level from “critical” to “severe” after police said they had dismantled a large part of Abedi’s network.