Government commits extra funding to protect UK Muslims

More than £117 million allocated to enhance security at mosques, schools and community centres

British Muslim women and children demonstrate against Islamophobia. Getty Images
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The UK government has announced an allocation of more than £117 million of taxpayer money to increase the protection of mosques, Muslim schools and community centres against hate crimes.

The investment, spread over the next four years, is to protect these sites against threats and provide reassurance to the Muslim community in the country.

Home Secretary James Cleverly revealed that the fund would be directed towards various security measures, including the installation of security cameras, alarm systems and perimeter fencing.

Mr Cleverly said this financial support would offer “reassurance and confidence to UK Muslims", ensuring they feel secure in their places of worship and community gathering.

Anti-Muslim hatred has absolutely no place in our society,” he said.

“We will not let events in the Middle East be used as an excuse to justify abuse against British Muslims.

“The Prime Minister has made clear that we stand with Muslims in the UK.

“That is exactly why we have committed to this funding, giving reassurance and confidence to UK Muslims at a time when it is crucially needed.”

The decision follows a £70 million ($90 million) package for Jewish groups, highlighting the government's response to growing concerns about hate crimes in the UK.

These concerns have been exacerbated by the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, which officials fear is fuelling division and hatred in the country.

In light of the recent surge in reported anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish incidents, the government has strongly condemned such acts of hatred.

Ministers have stressed the importance of thorough investigations by the police, in collaboration with the Crown Prosecution Service, to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

But the initiative to appoint a new adviser on tackling anti-Muslim hate encountered difficulties.

The leading candidate for the role, Fiyaz Mughal – founder of Tell Mama, an organisation dedicated to monitoring anti-Muslim hate – withdrew due to the significant backlash and abuse received after being linked to the advisory position.

This funding announcement coincides with the start of Ramadan and encompasses community sites across the UK.

Notably, the budget exceeds the amount provided to the Community Security Trust for Jewish centres, reflecting the larger Muslim population and the greater number of sites requiring protection.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat voiced the government's firm stance against hate crimes and any form of abuse or harassment against British Muslims.

“This funding demonstrates that this government stands firmly against hate crimes, abuse, threats or harassment against British Muslims,” Mr Tugendhat said.

On Monday, he dismissed suggestions the Government’s new funding will create a political advantage, but said it was a response to the “game-changing” attacks by Hamas on October 7.

Asked during morning media interviews about criticism that the Government was using the funding as a short-term, tactical advantage, Mr Tugendhat said: “I don’t think we should and I don’t think we are. I think we’ve already put £70 million towards protecting Jewish community sites in the United Kingdom.

“I think the Prime Minister set out ... a very, very clear, and I would argue very inclusive agenda on keeping British people safe, and he made the point – and I think it’s the correct one to make – that extremism in this country sadly has risen. We must take action to confront it, because this isn’t just about a single community or a single point of origin.”

Updated: March 11, 2024, 9:00 AM