London: 64 suspected hate crimes have been reported in Scotland since the Paris terror attacks last week with at least three suspected to be in direct reaction to the events, the police said today.
“I am disappointed to say that since the tragic incidents in France last Friday, there have been 64 hate crimes reported to Police Scotland which were racially or religiously motivated,” Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said in a statement.
“While we cannot say how many of these were motivated by last week’s events, these are 64 crimes too many and are not in keeping with our traditions of a multicultural Scotland,” he said after meeting religious leaders at Glasgow Central Mosque.
High-profile cases included an attack on a takeaway shop owner, a deliberate fire at an Islamic cultural centre and online abuse against Humza Yousaf, a minister in Scotland’s regional government, he said.
Livingstone did not specify how many of the reported crimes were Islamophobic in nature but added that 40 of them had already been solved and said he was confident that more arrests would follow.
The latest annual figures specifically for Islamophobic crime in Scotland show 71 charges over a 12-month period.
Scottish police on Wednesday told AFP that there had been “three incidents linked to the events in Paris” and that five people had been arrested.
“The increased police activity in responding to international terrorism is matched by the increased efforts of Police Scotland officers dealing with hate crime,” Livingstone said today.
“People of all the faiths, and of none, should live in a Scotland that is free from hate crime and discrimination,” he said.
Speaking at Glasgow Central Mosque, lawyer Aamer Anwar said there had been reports of a young woman being called a “terrorist”, a mother and child attacked, verbal abuse of school children and death threats against a Muslim students’ group.
“We call on the people of Scotland to unite with the Muslim community and not let the terrorists and racists divide us,” Anwar said.