Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 18, antisemitic crimes surged from 15 to 218 incidents compared with the same period last year, police said on Friday. Islamophobic crimes went from 42 to 101, an increase of 140%. A total of 21 have been arrested for these categories of hate crimes in that period.
Last week, one man was arrested on suspicion of defacing posters in the Camden neighborhood that depicted Israelis taken hostage by Hamas. Another man was arrested in connection with Islamophobic graffiti at bus stops in the southern London neighborhoods of New Malden and Raynes Park.
Other reports include abuse targeted at individuals or groups, both in person and online.
Police prepared for tensions to flare in the capital after Hamas’ Oct. 7 rampage through Israeli towns, which was quickly followed by Israel’s pounding of Gaza with airstrikes. But ramped-up patrols, including police visits to 445 faith schools and 1,930 places of worship, have not stopped hate crimes from spiking across London.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan met with Muslim and Jewish faith leaders, police officials and community groups to discuss the crisis on Friday.
“I know how the conflict in Gaza and Israel is having a direct impact on London and Londoners,” Khan said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Increasing cases of abhorrent antisemitism and Islamophobia seen in the capital show how important it is for us to be united against hate.”
A pro-Palestinian rally drew about 100,000 demonstrators to the streets of central London on Saturday. More than 1,000 police officers also attended the protest and made 10 arrests for offenses involving fireworks, disruption of public order and assault of an emergency service worker. Five officers sustained minor injuries.
Police blocked protestors from reaching an area surrounding the Israeli embassy, citing security concerns. They referenced the same reason for preventing a Jewish organization, Campaign Against Antisemitism, from displaying images of children abducted by Hamas on billboard vans near a pro-Palestinian vigil on Oct. 18.
“There will be occasions where we try to avoid groups with strongly opposing views coming into immediate contact with each other,” police said.