By all accounts, race-hate attacks have increased linearly in the last few years here in the UK.
In 2004, a staggering 33,2374 victims of racially-motivated crime were helped by charities in England and Wales. Prosecutions were up 22% to 5,788 racial incidents in the 2004-2005 period.
Included, and often related, in these race-hate incidents are faith-hate incidents which have also risen sharply. Britain suffered the highest rise in anti-semitic attacks of any country in 2004, with 304 incidents (an increase from 163 the year before). Ninety two of these attacks took place in July, a month after the war in Lebanon began. France tops the list of countries with anti-semitic violence with Britain following close behind.
Some of these attacks are committed by Muslims, we know. Not to say that Muslims in the UK have not suffered bitterly from an increase in anti-Muslim attacks either. Since the July 2005 bombings, about 500 faith-hate and race-hate crimes have been reported. The crimes ranged from arson attacks on mosques to women being spat at in the street.
Certain sections of the media have also been singled out by both Jewish and Muslim groups for being responsible for demonisation which, they argue, lead to the increase in racially-motivated violence. I am yet to find a definitive study that demonstrates a categorical relationship between the media and incidents of racial/faith violence. I’m tempted to quote the well known statistician’s maxim “Correlation does not imply causation”. But is it a logical fallacy to speculate a causative relation between media and incidents of racial violence?
All pretty grim stuff. So to warm the multicultural cockles of your heart (or what’s left of them), here’s the happy story of Hassan Askari, who came to the aid of three Jewish people while they were being violently attacked in a New York subway recently:
Hassan Askari has been described as a “latter-day Good Samaritan” for coming to the aid of the three, who were attacked earlier this month.
A gang yelling anti-Semitic slogans had assaulted them on the city’s subway.
His intervention left him with a possible broken nose, a stitched lip, bruises and two black eyes.
Hassan, a slightly built accountancy student, saw the attack taking place on a crowded train when returning home from work one night. Mr Askari comes from the aristocratic Dhaka Nawab family of Bangladesh (they’re related to that PP bone of much contention and even more logical fallacies, the Great Mughals). Askari’s own grandparents were knighted by British monarchs.
The hero remained unassuming, “I have friends who are Jews, Christians and Buddhists and would have acted in the same way if they were victims of an unprovoked attack,” he said. He is due to be presented with a medal on Wednesday that will be handed to him either by or on behalf of the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.
Rabbi Marc Scheier, from the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, who presented Mr Askari with a bravery award earlier this month, said he could tell from injuries sustained by one of the three victims that it was a “brutal and extremely violent” attack which would have required “immense courage” from Mr Askari to get involved in.
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