EFFORTS to tackle hate crime in the Bradford district will be showcased during National Hate Crime Awareness Week which runs from today until next Saturday.

Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police and Bradford Hate Crime Alliance will work together to reinforce their commitment to tackle hate crime in all its forms.

Coun Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: “Every member of our community should be able to live their lives safe and free from verbal, physical or emotional attack – wherever they live, learn, work or play in this district.

“By working together we can build community cohesion and not fall prey to the forces that seek to divide us, such as Islamophobia.

“All forms of hate crime continue to have a massive impact upon victims and the quality of people’s lives. We won’t stand by and let prejudice and discrimination win.”

Chief Superintendent Scott Bisset, Bradford Police District Commander, said: “The law is clear. Hate crime is exactly that, a crime.

“Abusing someone because they are different can have devastating effects on victims, their families and friends. It can cause fear, anger and resentment in the wider community. It happens for no other reason than the offenders' ignorance, intolerance and cowardice.

“West Yorkshire Police stands shoulder to shoulder with other partners and the public to tackle this pernicious criminal behaviour. We will do all we can to support victims and bring offenders to justice in the most appropriate way.

"We recognise that Hate crime has been under reported for some time and we continue to work hard with the public and our partners to give victims the confidence to come forward and reassure them their complaints will be taken seriously."

Dr Martin Baines, the chair of Bradford Hate Crime Alliance, said: "Hate crime in any form has no place in the district. We can, by working together, continue to effectively tackle hate crime in our district. Working with partners we can work towards eradicating all forms of hate crime including Islamophobia.

“I would like to thank our community-based hate crime reporting centres, who play an important role in recording incidents in the communities. Don’t be a bystander we must all stand up against hate, and work together in order to build a better and safer district.”

Bradford Council is also working with partners including Bradford Council for Mosques to formulate a nationally-recognised definition of Islamophobia, which is robust and accepted by the Muslim community.

Hate Crime Awareness Week will be the launch of this study which builds on the islamophobia report which was launched last year by the Bradford Hate Crime Alliance. It will come back with recommendations and district-wide plan for all partners and stakeholders

The working group will investigate the ways hate crime is specifically directed at the Muslim community can be better understood in order to tackle it more effectively.

Zulfi Karim, Secretary General of the Bradford Council of Mosques, said: “We stand firm against hate crimes motivated towards any individual regardless of their background. Bradford Council recognises the unfortunate and worrying increase in the Islamophobia motivated acts of hatred against our Muslim citizens. We acknowledge the enormously important work being undertaken in this respect by Bradford Hate Crime Alliance and organisations such as Bradford Council for Mosques. We fully recognise the value of the lead coming from the community on this critical issue.”