Trump blames rise in British crime on Islamic terror, surprising Britain

Christopher Wilson
·Senior Writer
President Trump at the White House, Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
President Trump at the White House, Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Donald Trump fabricated a link between a rise in United Kingdom crime and Islamic terror Friday morning, causing confusion among Brits.

“Just out report,” wrote Trump on Twitter, ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ Not good, we must keep America safe!”

Trump is apparently referring to a report released Thursday by the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics, which indeed cited a 13 percent rise in crime. However, the words “Muslim” and “Islamic” are not mentioned in the 60-page, 18,000-word report, despite Trump putting them in quotes in his tweet.

Most of the 13 percent rise in crime, per the report, comes from an increase in knife crime and sexual offenses.

There were 664 homicide victims in the United Kingdom during the 12 months ending in June 2017, compared to 762 in Chicago for the calendar year 2016. The population of Britain is about 66 million. Of those 664 murders, 35 resulted from two terror attacks: a van and knife attack at London Bridge in June and a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester a month earlier. “Terror” is mentioned five times in the report, referring to those two events.

“There was a substantial increase of 59% (426 offences) in the number of attempted murder offences in the latest year,” read the report. “This rise is due largely to the London and Manchester terror attacks, where the police recorded 294 (69% of the rise in) attempted murder offences.”

The president’s tweet caused confusion on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Donald Trump links UK crime rise to ‘radical Islamic terror’, despite complete absence of evidence to support claim,” read a headline in the U.K.-based newspaper the Independent. “Donald Trump has erroneously linked a rise in recorded crime in England and Wales to the ‘spread of radical Islamic terror’ in his latest outburst on Twitter,” read a story in the Guardian.

There was also pushback from some British politicians, with one lawmaker asking, “Can you please stick out of our business with such divisiveness?”

Trump had previously criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his handling of the June terror attack in London, earning the president criticism for misconstruing Khan’s comments. A state visit by Trump to England was put on hold shortly after.

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