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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)

 

Religious Hate Crime Statistics

 
30 June 2014

The latest statistics on religious hatred published by the Scottish Government show a welcome decrease of 18% in the total number of charges for conduct “derogatory to” all the main faiths, from 805 to 659. In particular the number of charges for "conduct derogatory to Islam" fell from 80 to 50, and for antisemitic conduct from 29 to 12, reductions of 37% and 59% respectively.

This is the second year of operation of the Offensive Behaviour at Football (etc) Act. Figures relating to these offences are published separately, and show a very significant decrease, from 106 to 62 charges, a drop of 41.5%. Excluding these football-related charges, the main report, also shows a decrease, from 699 to 597 charges, a reduction of 14.6%.

However, as in previous years, the picture is very different if the number of charges is considered relative to the sizes of the communities. This is the first set of hate crime figures to be published since the 2011 census figures were released, and also the first detailed statistical report on offences relating to football. The figures for 2012-13 in the table below therefore differ from those in last year’s commentary, as they have been restated to reflect these changes, including the increase in the size of the Roman Catholic and Muslim communities, and the decrease in numbers who stated in the 2011 census that they belong to other faiths. One particular effect of the fall in the reported size of the Jewish community, from 6448 in 2001 to 5887 in 2011, although subject to a number of caveats, is that the number of charges per 10 000 members of the community for “conduct derogatory to Judaism” was not 41.9 as reported last year to but was in fact 49.3.

Despite the overall improvement in the statistics, as the table below shows, Muslims are still almost 3 times, and Jews almost 8 times, as likely as Christians to be the victim of religious hatred, down from 4 and 18 times respectively in 2012-13.  The decrease is obviously welcome, but it remains a matter for concern that there appears to be an element of “antisemitism without Jews”, a phenomenon that is more associated with Eastern Europe and the Far East, in Scotland.

 
number of
charges 2013-14
number of
charges 2012-13
size of community
(2011 census)
charges per
10,000 members
(2013-14)
charges per
10,000 members
(2012-13)
 Church of  Scotland
215
287
1,717,871
1.3
1.7
 Roman Catholic
378
404
841,053
4.5
4.8
 Other Christianity
4
5
21,275
   
 All Christian
597
696
2,850,199
2.3
2.7
 Islam
50
80
76,737
6.5
10.4
 Judaism
12
29
5,887
20.4
49.3

This reflects what we were told by people living in remote locations during our Being Jewish in Scotland project: "much as I like living here, it's not a good place to be Jewish. We're isolated, misunderstood, and there's an underlying hostility." As a result of which, people told us "I sometimes feel afraid of stating openly my background and beliefs. I see increasing hostility in my surroundings."

SCoJeC continues to keep these developments under review, to meet the Community Safety Minister, the Lord Advocate, Police Scotland, and civil servants to discuss them, and to work with others on campaigns to reduce hate crime, and to highlight the damage it does to those beyond the immediate victims.  At a recent conference of hate crime, representatives of several equality strands referred to the attitude of many in their communities that harassment and discrimination are just facts of life that they must suffer in silence, and we are therefore working with others to encourage better reporting.

That said, it remains the case, as the Chief Rabbi pointed out at his meetings with church leaders and politicians in the Scottish Parliament, that Scotland provides a generally hospitable environment for Jewish people, and indeed that antisemitic incidents are less prevalent in Scotland than the rest of the UK; nonetheless, some patterns and trends are clear, and need even stronger action by Government, the churches, the trades unions, and the media.

 

   
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