Manchester attack: Fear 'stops Muslims reporting hate crime'

Wasim Chaudhry
Image caption Ch Supt Wasim Chaudhry urged victims to report hate crimes

Fear of the unknown is preventing Muslims from reporting hate crimes, a senior police officer has said.

Ch Supt Wasim Chaudhry said incidents in Greater Manchester may be under-reported as the numbers have fallen since a spike after the 22 May bombing.

Those affected fear their identity may be revealed or are unaware crimes do not have to be reported directly to police, he said.

Victim Shiraz Khan, 30, said he was scared of "repercussions or reprisals".

'Terrorist bomber'

Mr Khan was attacked with a glass bottle in Manchester on 27 May after being persuaded to pull his car over by two white British men who told him he had a flat tyre.

"While I was looking at it one of the guys said 'We're only joking. You're a terrorist bomber' and tried to smash a bottle over my face."

The customer support officer managed to cover his face with his hand, which was damaged in the attack, but he did not go to the police.

He explained: "I don't want anything to happen again. I don't want my picture going around anywhere and for me to become a target.

"My friend reported a similar incident a few years ago. There was CCTV and nothing came of it."

Image caption Shiraz Khan's hand was treated in hospital

He added: "I've been pulled over a few times by the police, I've been stopped in the street by them asking me what I'm doing. I think there is a lack of trust in the system.

"I'm just happy I've defended my face, and it's only my hand been injured."

Ch Supt Chaudhry, Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) lead officer for hate crime, said: "It is a fear of the unknown, about what support victims are going to get coming forward and they [do not know] if they will be exposed in terms of their details."

In the days after the Manchester Arena attack, GMP saw a rise in reports of hate crimes. However, the numbers have since returned to pre-attack levels.

"I get the fact that not everyone is comfortable and confident coming to a police officer or to the police," Ch Supt Chaudry said.

He believes people do not know they can report hate crimes online to anti-hate crime organisations True Vision or Tell Mama, which works with the victims of anti-Muslim attacks, but said it is "incumbent" on people to report them.

"If the perpetrators are left unchecked, and if their behaviour is not tackled, then they risk going on and undertaking further victimisation that can increase in terms of its gravity," he said.

Mr Khan's son was born two days after he was attacked and he has not been able to pick him up because of his injury.

He said the incident has changed him: "I got set up. I was so shocked, I thought they wanted to help me.

"It's appalling, It has stopped me going out. You don't know what's around the corner. My trust has gone."

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