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Religious hate crime

Any incident, which is perceived to be based upon prejudice towards or hatred of the victim because of actual or perceived religion or belief.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 was amended by the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 which extended the scope of the Crime and Disorder Act by creating new specific religiously aggravated offences and applying the same sentencing duty to all other offences where there is evidence of religious aggravation.

Incitement to religious hatred:  It is illegal to say anything or produce any written material that tries to persuade someone to commit a criminal offence against another race or group of people. This means that leaflets, flyers or speeches that promote crime against people because of their religion is against the law. This is called incitement to religious hatred. 


There has been an increase in the amount of crime and disorder directed at members of the Muslim community and those associated or perceived to be from the Islamic Faith.

The term Islamophobia was first introduced as a concept in a 1991 and defined as: “Unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims."

The term was coined in the context of Muslims in the UK in particular and Europe in general, and formulated based on the more common "xenophobia" framework. Bedfordshire has a high ethnic mix, and Bedfordshire Police responds to this by recording Islamophobic incidents or crimes under a separate category. 

Support available

Listed below are support agencies aimed at victims of religious hate crimes. You can also view our Hate Crime Support Services page which details all hate crime support groups.   

Bedford Council of Faiths

Tel: 01767 627 626 07957 972855

FAIR (Forum Against Islamophobia & Racism)

Tel: 0208 940 0100

Luton Council of Faiths

Tel: 01582 416946

Muslim Community Helpline

Tel: 0208 9086715

Muslim Council of Britain

Tel: 08452 626786


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