Sadiq Khan has urged Londoners not to be afraid in reporting hate crimes, as he acknowledged that community tensions in the capital could remain high for some time.
The mayor said that police officers would maintain an increased presence around synagogues and mosques this weekend, while calling on Londoners to show allyship with those who feel vulnerable.
The Met Police recorded 408 anti-Semitic crimes in London between October 1 and 27, compared to 28 in the same period last year. In that time, there have been 174 Islamophobic offences compared to 65 in the same period in 2022.
“If anybody’s [been] the victim of crime, we’re encouraging them to report it. Don’t think ‘It’s not worth me reporting [it], it’s too trivial’,” the mayor said.
He added: “If you’re somebody who’s Jewish, you may have more confidence going to the CST [Community Security Trust]. If you’re a Muslim, you may have more confidence going to Tell MAMA…
“The police still have an increased presence around synagogues and mosques and other places of worship. They’ll be busy this weekend in those communities where there are particular concerns.
“I’d encourage those of us who aren’t Jewish and those who aren’t Muslim to show allyship to those who are feeling scared at this time, which is just heartbreaking.”
But the mayor warned that tensions could rise as the situation in the Middle East continues.
“What I know from my experience as a Londoner, but also my experience working with the police and looking at the data, is unfortunately whenever there are disturbances in the Middle East, you do see an increase in anti-Semitism, and also Islamophobia,” Mr Khan said.
“Frankly speaking, we don’t know how long these disturbances are going to go on for. What we do know is each day we see new images coming from Gaza about the horrors of what’s happening there. Each day we see some of the photographs of the victims of Hamas and we hear more stories about the horrors Hamas inflicted on October 7.
“That leads, understandably, to tensions rising. What we can’t afford though is those tensions and those passions leading to hate crime.
“So I’d say to everyone in our city, and those across our country is, look – you can have strong feelings about the Middle East, but please understand there’s got to be zero tolerance to hatred in our society and hate crime.”
The mayor was speaking after he attended workshops for young people at County Hall on Friday morning, organised by community projects that work to tackle discrimination and extremism.
He said these projects will “give young people the skills, empower them to tackle hatred, intolerance, and indeed extremism and racism as well.
“It’s really important to have confidence that these youngsters aren’t like yesteryear’s youngsters, who don’t have the skills to do so, and have allowed what’s happened in the Middle East to affect their behaviour.”