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Religious Hate Crime at 11-Year Low

Religious hate crime in Scotland is at an 11-year low according to recent statistics from the Government.

The statistics that come from Police Scotland indicate that life for many in Scotland has become somewhat easier as tolerance increases. Relationships in Irish based communities are thought to have improved the most. However, intolerance still exists for many in Scotland and across Glasgow.

Of 7,423 cases of ethnically-related hate crime over the last year, 174 (2.3%) were seen as anti-Irish.

According to figures, religious intolerance was the highest cause of hate crimes last year with close to 300 crimes being against Catholics, who were one of the most discriminated against groups.

A British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly report said: “The evidence we heard was that the experience of Irish communities had improved considerably in recent decades and that such negative experiences were becoming rarer.

“Indeed they stood in marked contrast with some of the successes of recent times.”

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, stated that in general religiously aggravated offences were at their lowest level in ten years. This comes alongside recorded crime being at the lowest level since 1974.

The figures come after it was revealed that Glasgow was responsible for one-third of all hate crimes in Scotland.

Warning of an Increase in Hate Crimes

Despite the positives regarding the low crime rate and the decrease in hate crimes, Police Scotland have warned that recent events, including the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, could result in an increase in religious hate crimes.

Since the attacks in Paris, officers have noted a spike in religious hate crimes, especially against members of the Muslim community. Officers have warned of a rise in attacks following many racial fuelled attacks including the firebombing of a cultural centre used by the Muslim community is East Dunbartonshire. SNP Minister Humza Yousaf has also been the victim of hate crimes with the politician being subject to many racial offences on social media.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This government is clear that any form of hate crime is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in 21st-century Scotland.

“Mr Yousaf has informed the police of recent social media activity and urges anyone else to do the same. We value the cohesion of our communities and welcome Scotland’s diversity. Scotland is becoming a more inclusive country and this is very much to be welcomed.

“We want everyone in our communities to live safely and without fear, to live with dignity and respect.”

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone admitted that some members of the Muslim community were being asked to stay at home while hate crimes were being investigated. However, he condemned the rise of attacks seen in Scotland saying: “Police Scotland have investigated instances of crime since the events in Paris on Friday that have been motivated by religious hatred.

“These crimes have been both online and in public. Arrests have been made.

“Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of hate crime and I urge everyone across the country to continue working together to ensure that no one feels threatened or marginalised.”

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If you have been accused of carrying out a religious or racial hate crime or of breaching the peace and require legal advice our team of criminal defence solicitors can help. Get in touch with our team of expert solicitors today using our online contact form.