‘We have to be consistent on that and deal with all these issues on the same level,’ urges Mohammed Kozbar
Islamophobic attacks should be classed as terror-related and not simply hate crimes, the chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque has said.
Mohammed Kozbar, who is also the vice-President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), said UK authorities must “be consistent” when dealing with terror-style attacks, and voiced support for a change in the law that would see Islamophobic violence included.
Speaking at a local government conference in Birmingham, he accused police and the media of “always finding excuses” for a terror-style crime to be recorded differently when an attacker is non-Muslim, according to HuffPost UK.
It comes weeks after a van crashed into a group near the Finsbury Park mosque in the early hours of 19 June.
Darren Osborne, 47, has been charged with murder and attempted murder.
Mr Kozbar said ministers initially refused to call a national minute’s silence to pay respects for the attack, as they had done in the wake of the Manchester and London Bridge attacks.
Asked by an audience member whether the failure to categorise Islamophobic attacks as terror could fuel radicalisation and if it was time for the Government to introduce legislation to categorise Islamophobia as more than just a hate crime, Mr Kozbar said he agreed.
He said: “I think there is a feeling in the Muslim community when the attacker is non-Muslim attacking the Muslim community we always find excuse, we say ‘lone attacker’ or ‘mental health problems’ or whatever, ‘he’s bankrupt’, ‘he’s got issues with his family’. We start putting excuses to him.”
He added: “With the other attacks, it is terrorism and nobody argues with that. It is terrorism. We don’t give any excuse to these people who do what they did in Manchester or at Southwark or elsewhere but, on the other hand, we have to be consistent on that and deal with all these issues on the same level.”
His comments come as police record a spike in Islamophobic attacks in the capital, with Scotland Yard reporting a 40 per cent rise in the weeks following the London Bridge attack.