Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

 
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

Antisemitic incident statistics 2012

 
February 2013

Scotland is generally a welcoming place for Jewish people to live, as the findings of our Being Jewish in Scotland project showed, with fewer antisemitic incidents relative to the population than in England. That is borne out by the Community Security Trust’s recently released annual Antisemitic Incident Report for 2012, which reports a 50% fall in reported incidents in Scotland, although the figures for the entire UK are the third highest ever recorded.

However, it is important not to be too complacent, since the answer to a recent question in the Scottish Parliament gives cause for concern about the pattern of religious hatred in Scotland. What the media highlighted was that there were more charges for incidents “derogatory to” Roman Catholicism than to any other religion – 509 as compared with 353 against Protestantism, 19 against Islam, and only 14 against Judaism. However, when the size of each community is taken into account, there is a significant change in the pattern. Figures from the 2011 census will not be available until later this year, so the most recent figures available are from the 2001 census.

 
size of community
(2001 census*)
number of charges
ratio
charges per
10,000 members
  Church of Scotland
2,146,251
353
1 in 6,080
2
  Roman Catholic
803,732
509
1 in 1,579
6
  Muslim
42,557
19
1 in 2,240
4
  Jewish
6,448
14
1 in    461
22

* 2011 census figures will not be available until later this year.

The figures need to be qualified because it is not the religion of the victim that the Scottish Government has reported, but the religion which was targeted by the offender, so that the final column does not show the likelihood of any individual having been a victim. Nonetheless, it is a matter of concern that the disparities remain so large. The fact that there was one charge for incidents derogatory to Judaism for every 461 people in the community, means that individual Jewish people in Scotland are more likely to be aware of incidents than members of other faith communities, where the ratio ranges from one charge per 1,579 members, to one in 6,080.

It is also important to remember that not all reported incidents result in a charge, and not all incidents are reported, so the number of people who have experienced or know someone who has experienced an antisemitic incident is likely to be even larger than the table would indicate.  As the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) put it, “Whilst all crime can increase the fear of being targeted in people other than the victim, fear of hate crime escalates dramatically in those who share with an immediate victim, the same group identity that has made a victim a target.” That fear was evident in many of the responses to Being Jewish in Scotland, such as the view expressed by one man who told us that he “wouldn’t wear a kippah in the street because I’ve seen what happens to people who do, and that would be asking for it.”

In her parliamentary answer, the Community Safety Minister, Roseanna Cunningham, stated: “The Scottish Government has been investing to tackle religious intolerance across Scotland, funding the national Scottish Interfaith Council to promote inter faith dialogue and specific communities, such as the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, to address the specific needs of these communities.”

SCoJeC is continuing to work with the Scottish Government and other bodies to raise awareness of the experience of Jewish people in Scotland, and of what can be done to ensure that Scotland remains, in the words of another participant in Being Jewish in Scotland, “a darn fine place to be a Jew”.

 

   
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