Islamophobia on rise in Scotland: Inquiry Representational image (iStock)
MUSLIMS feel Islamophobia is on the rise in Scotland and it is more serious in Glasgow than in the rest of the country, according to a survey.
An inquiry by the Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia reveals that the abuse of Muslims is a “regular issue” in Scottish society.
It said the problem – predominantly experienced on the streets, restaurants and public transport – has also percolated into places of work and education.
Some 83 per cent of 447 Muslims surveyed said they experienced Islamophobia “directly” mainly in the form of verbal abuse. More than 80 per cent said their friends or family members endured the issue.
The findings also showed that 65 per cent of Glasgow residents reported having experienced verbal abuse, compared to 52 per cent of those living outside the city.
Many respondents said Islamophobia is perpetuated by “Scottish politicians” and it has filtered into local party politics; the inquiry found that this tends to “intensify before and during election campaigns”.
Scotland’s Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who heads the group of parliamentarians that organised the inquiry, said the results “should shame us all”.
“We pride ourselves on being a welcome and tolerant country, but it’s clear how much more work we have to do. There are people in Scotland who feel scared to leave their homes for fear of verbal or physical attack, are withdrawing from public services with devastating knock-on consequences on their health and education and feel they are outsiders in their own country”, he told the BBC.
The inquiry report, authored by Peter Hopkins, recommended the government support initiatives to recruit more officers from within Scotland’s diverse communities, including Muslims, into the police force.
Ministers should also “fund restorative justice initiatives to work with offenders”, it said.
Among other recommendations, it said the government should provide funding for initiatives, organisations and agencies that challenge Islamophobia and racism in the country.
On tackling abuse at the workplace, it suggests the inclusion of representatives from diverse communities “where possible” on interview panels.