Commenting on the figures, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson expressed concern particularly at the rise in alleged offences against Islam, and added: “One incident of hate crime is one too many. Intolerance in any form is simply unacceptable and there is no place for it in 21st century Scotland.”
The Justice Secretary also said that the increase in the number of charges "does indicate an improvement in the willingness of the public to report these crimes, and that should be welcomed." SCoJeC echoes that sentiment, and continues to urge members of the Community to report all incidents – antisemitism and other forms of hate crime cannot be effectively tackled if their extent is not known, so all incidents should be reported so that the authorities are aware of the true scale of the problem. In an emergency, always dial 999. Non-urgent reports should be made to the police by phoning the national non-emergency number 101, or using the Third Party Reporting form on this website.
SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski said: “Although the reduction in the number of antisemitic incidents is welcome, the relatively high number remains a concern, as does the disproportionate number compared with abusive behaviour directed against other religions. More needs to be done to counter the negativity that we found in our recent study of What’s changed about being Jewish in Scotland when no fewer than 10% of the sample told us that they could think of nothing at all good about being Jewish in Scotland.
“We are also concerned to see the increasing number of hate crimes against Muslims, ranging from cowardly verbal abuse in social media to attacks on individuals and religious centres. Hate crime is defined by its selection of the victims because of their membership of a particular group, and it therefore makes all members of that group – and indeed all minorities – feel vulnerable. As Jews we understand this more than most, and we therefore once again condemn unreservedly the irrational hatred that demonises entire communities, express our sympathy and solidarity with the Muslim community, and reaffirm our commitment to a diverse Scotland of many cultures, faiths, and traditions. As a community which has a proud record of engagement with others through interfaith and inter-community activity, we wish the Muslim community a Ramadan Mubarak, a month of blessings, security, and peace for us all.”