Shocking images of a woman in a hijab being attacked from behind and beaten unconscious reveal the reality of an increase in hate crime in London.
Young Muslim women today described how they had been attacked, spat on and verbally abused in the street.
The footage, shot in Plaistow, is just one example of Islamophobic attacks in the capital which Scotland Yard says almost doubled in the 12 months to June, from 406 to 800.
The total number of racist and religious hate crimes across London rose by almost 28 per cent last year, from 9,965 reported incidents to 12,749. Victims say the increase is being fuelled by unrest and terrorists in the Middle East.
The woman is struck viciously from behind, knocking her unconscious
Victims say the true scale of hate crime is masked by under-reporting with people often too scared to go to police.
Student Meanha Begum, 18, who wears a full veil and lives in Tower Hamlets, said: “I know young Muslim women that have been attacked but they are too scared to go to the police about it.” She and a friend were attacked in the street by a woman carrying a knife who pulled down her face veil and pushed her to the floor.
Sahina Khan, 31, tells: “I was walking to work and this man came towards me. I thought he was going to punch me. It’s like he saw me and he just went mad.
“He said something about ‘killing Christians in the Middle East’ or ‘your people killing Christians in the Middle East’ and he was just ranting at me.”
Victims also warn that Islamophobic attacks are making young Muslims vulnerable to extremist recruiters trying to lure people to fight in the Middle East.
Ayesha, 21, from Kensington, revealed how two women approached her in an online chat room before bombarding her with phone calls and text messages, telling her Britain hates her and promising her a husband abroad. She was repeatedly targeted by extremists in an 18-month campaign after they said she would “never find peace in Britain”.