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Hate crimes soar since UK’s EU exit vote

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Hate crime rates in the United Kingdom have surged five-fold following Britain’s last week referendum to break away from the European Union (EU).

The UK’s National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) says it has registered a staggering 500-percent increase in hate crime incidents, with over 330 cases compared to the weekly average of 63.

The NPCC says most cases are related to anti-immigrant abuses. The UK police say in just one week, migrants have been reporting verbal abuse, negative social media commentary including xenophobic language, anti-migrant leafleting and, in very limited numbers, physical assaults.

However, NPCC chief Sara Thornton says it is hard to tell how many of such cases are directly linked to the Brexit vote.

The official added she was “shocked and disgusted” by the uptick in such attacks, urging the victims of abuse to come forward and not “suffer in silence.”

The latest news comes amid reports that violence against Muslims in the UK has also risen dramatically in the past year. Experts believe the media have played an important role in depicting a negative picture of Muslims.

The reports have raised concerns about rising levels of violence and intolerance against minority groups in the country.

In a shocking report, the Muslim Council of Britain said that over the weekend alone, it had recorded some 100 hate crimes against Muslims and their mosques across the UK.

“Our country is experiencing a political crisis which, I fear threatens the social peace,” said Dr. Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the council.

According to statistics by Metropolitan Police, Muslims in London faced a 70% increase in Islamophobic attacks in one year.

A total of 816 hate crimes against Muslims have been recorded in the 12 months to July 2015. The number stood at 478 over the same period in 2013-14.

Statistics show that the UK police recorded 52,528 hate crimes in 2014/15, up from 44,471 in 2013/14. According to the state-funded BBC, more than 80% were classed as race hate crimes, with others involving religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender victims.

Hate crime is defined as an offence which is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.

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