Leicester

Reported abuse against Muslims in Leicestershire rises

Muslims in Leicestershire are facing increasing abuse, according to figures from the police.

Between April 2008 and March 2009, officers recorded 25 offences against Muslims but in the following 12 months, the figure rose to 42.

Most incidents involved verbal abuse but there was a small number of cases in which veils were pulled off.

Police said they treated all types of hate crime as a priority and urged victims to report any problems.

'More confidence'

Insp Bill Knopp said that while the number of offences was relatively low, they took the upward trend seriously.

"We have a very good track record in detecting racial and religiously motivated crimes.

"I would encourage anyone with information to come forward and there is a good chance we will find the offenders and bring them to book."

Rehana Sidat, from Leicester, who wears the niqab, said: "I think there are two things going on. There is more Islamophobia, people are becoming more intolerant.

"But also more people are reporting this sort of thing, having more confidence to bring it to the police."

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