Retaliatory violence against Muslims was more or less expected following the terror attacks in Paris.
Almost a day into the Charlie Hebdo shooting on Jan.7, several Islamic targets were struck by violence. The Guardian reported that three grenades hit a mosque in Le Mans while in Aude in southern France, two gunshots were fired at an empty prayer room. A Muslim family was shot at in the car in the Vaucluse region of southern France. In Villefranche-sur-Saône, an explosion blew out the windows of a kebab shop next door to the town mosque.
However, a U.K.-based charity has revealed that British Muslims have also faced a backlash since the attacks in France.
The Tell MAMA hotline for recording Islamophobic crimes registered 112 cases of physical and verbal violence against Muslim students following the terror attacks in Paris.
“We are seeing more incidents of radicalized language and bullying against Muslim children in schools and it has led to a significant number of incidents following the events in Paris,” said Fiyaz Mughal, chief executive of Tell MAMA.
The Independent reported that in one case, a teenage Muslim student was allegedly slapped and called a “terrorist” by classmates after a teacher brought up Charlie Hebdo in classroom discussion, suggesting Muslims should be “challenged” by drawing the caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. Later, the pupil refused to return to school.
Hate crimes against Muslims soared in the U.K. during 2013. Hundreds of anti-Muslim offenses were carried out across the country, especially after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamic extremists in Woolwich, southeast London. Britain’s Metropolitan police recorded 500 Islamophobic crimes in 2013, up from 336 in 2012 and 318 in 2011.
Instead of coming up with plans to counter anti-Islamic sentiment, the British government proposed new counter-terrorism measures earlier this month that would require nursery school staff to report any toddlers who they believe are at risk of being terrorists.
Perhaps, instead of interrogating 3-year-olds, U.K. officials should start paying attention to what’s actually going on in the schools and streets of the country.