Islamophobic attacks rocket by 500% since Charlie Hebdo murders

Islamophobic attacks rocket by 500% since Charlie Hebdo murders
By Chris Harris with AFP
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Attacks on Muslims and other Islamophobic acts in France have surged 500 percent since the Charlie Hebdo murders, new figures reveal.

There were 222 anti-Muslim acts recorded in the first quarter of 2015, compared with just 37 over the same period last year, according to the French Council of the Muslim Faith.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory for the Fight against Islamophobia, said: “These anti-Muslim acts resulted in violent assaults on men and women, some pregnant.

“Not since the observatory was established in 2011 have we seen an implosion of anti-Muslim acts, whether actions, threats or on social networks.”

The European Network Against Racism says anti-Muslim acts this year have included grenade attacks on mosques and the stabbing to death of a man in the region near Avignon, linked to Islamophobia.

It comes amid a climate of rising racism and hate speech highlighted in a Council of Europe report, which revealed anti-Semitic acts had nearly doubled in the first half of 2014.

France was home to around 4.7 million Muslims in 2010, according to estimates by the Pew Research Center, making up 7.5 percent of the population.

France was second to Germany, which, with 4.8m, had Europe’s biggest Muslim population in 2010.

Pegida is still holding weekly anti-Islam marches in Dresden, which far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders attended earlier this month.

Most of the Islamophobic attacks in France in the first quarter of 2015 came in January, indicating a strong link with the murders in Paris.

Racial tensions have also arisen over the number of people who have left France to fight with jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

Around 1,200 people had left France to fight jihad by December 2014, up from 412 a year earlier, according to estimates from The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.

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