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Manchester attack: Islamophobic hate crime reports increase by 500%

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image captionAssistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said police will be tough on "hatred or discrimination of any kind"

Reports of Islamophobic hate crimes and incidents in Greater Manchester rose by 500% following the Manchester Arena attack, police figures show.

There were 224 complaints of attacks and abuse against Muslims in the month after the bombing, on 22 May, in which 22 people were killed.

That compares with 37 in the same period in 2016 - a 505% increase.

The spike was temporary and hate crime reports have returned to similar levels as before the attack, police said.

Immediately after the attack, at an Ariana Grande concert, a bomb threat, racist taunts, and graffiti were among the incidents reported to Greater Manchester Police.

Other types of hate crime also increased with a 61% rise in race-related crimes and incidents, a 41% increase in those targeted at disabled people, and a 9% rise related to sexual orientation, according to police figures.

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image captionThe level of hate crime reports has now returned to a similar amount as before the Manchester attack, police say

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said the city is proud of its diversity and police "will not tolerate hatred or discrimination of any kind."

It is "sadly not unusual for there to be a spike" in hate crimes after this kind of attack but "thankfully they do decrease again quickly", he said.

Other areas have also reported an increase in attacks. Earlier this month, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, highlighted a five-fold increase in Islamophobic incidents reported to the Met Police since the London attack.

ACC Potts said hate crime is often under-reported, echoing Ch Supt Wasim Chaudhry's recent comments that fear is preventing Muslims from reporting hate crimes.

He urged people to contact police, Crimestoppers, or organisations like Tell Mama, which supports victims of Islamophobia.

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