Muslim knife attacker claim is unfounded and implausible

Published: 30th Aug 2019

In brief

Claim

There were 13,000 knife attacks in London.

Conclusion

We don’t know what time period the claim refers to but there is data to show this at the time. The latest data shows the police recorded just under 15,000 knife attacks in London in 2018/19.

 

11,000 of 13,000 knife attacks in London were carried out by Muslim migrants.

 

This claim is baseless as information on offenders’ religion and nationality is not held by the authorities. Regardless, the claim is implausible.

Claim 1 of 2

A post on Facebook, published in April 2018, claimed that in the past 12 months, 11,000 of the 13,000 knife attacks in London were committed by Muslim immigrants.

There is no evidence to back up the claim about the number of attacks committed by Muslim immigrants, and it is completely implausible.

As reported by Snopes, it’s difficult to tell exactly which time period the claim refers to, but as the post was published in April 2018, it likely refers to knife crime recorded by the police in the 12 months to September 2017 (the latest data available in April 2018).

That data originally showed that there were 12,980 recorded incidents of selected knife crime in London in the year to September 2017 (a figure also reported in the press). This has since been updated to 13,741.

The latest data for the 2018/19 financial year shows the number of selected knife offences has increased to 14,902.

“Selected” offences here includes a handful of offences most associated with knife crime: assault, robbery, threats to kill, attempted murder, homicide, rape and sexual assault. These figures only cover what the police record, of course, so can’t tell us about crimes that go unreported.

The claim that 11,000 of these attacks were carried out by Muslim immigrants is unfounded.

The police and criminal justice system do not collect data on the religion or immigration status of knife crime offenders so it’s impossible to say how many were Muslims or migrants.

Regardless, the figure is implausible for a few reasons. 

Data from the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime found that in 2017 half the knife crime offenders in London were black, Asian or minority ethnic. Which means that half were white.

Even if you were to assume that all ethnic minority knife crime offenders were Muslim immigrants (which is in itself implausible), the claim would still only be plausible if the majority of white knife offenders were Muslim immigrants.

This pushes the boundaries of possibility. Data from the Annual Population Survey from 2015-2017  shows that only 1% of white people in London were foreign-born Muslims.

This article is part of our work factchecking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false as the claim about the number of Muslim offenders is unfounded and implausible.

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