Hate crimes against Muslims increase by 65 per cent in a year in London

Hate crimes against Muslims in London have increased by 65 per cent in a year, figures show.

The number of reported crimes rose from 344 to 570 in the last year, the Metropolitan Police said.

Many of the attacks involved women wearing the Islamic niqab or hijab, according to police.

There have been "significant jumps" in the numbers of hate crimes involving Muslims in the UK after high-profile events such as the September 11th attacks, previous studies have shown.

Shopkeeper Asma Sheikh, who sells traditional Islamic clothes from her store in Kilburn, told the BBC she had been the victim of car vandalism after the beheading of drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

She said: "All four of my tyres were burst because someone had put nails in them.

"And it had written on my window 'go back home'."

She said there was a "pattern" of low sales at her shop whenever there was a major police incident involving Muslim extremists.

She said: "There is a pattern. When we hit an event like the [Woolwich] beheading, 7/7, 9/11, then generally everything dies down for a while. It takes time for people to come out again and we understand that."

She added she had become "wary" about who she spoke to in the capital.

She said: "I have had friends who have had eggs thrown at them.

"Sometimes when you say hello to someone, you know from the hello you get back, you will know straight away whether you stay away or if you carry on conversing with someone."

Fiyaz Mughal, director of non-profit group Faith Matters, told the Standard he was concerned that Muslims were being targeted, particularly in London which he said was traditionally more accepting of other cultures.

He said: "If this is the case in a metropolis and very urban place like London then what are the real issues happening up and down the country?"

He continued: "We have seen Muslim women who wear the head scarf and the face veil being the main targets [of crime] at street level.

"Two years ago it seemed there was a problem around Muslims particularly and in some ways those fears have been proved to be founded, given the attacks we are seeing."