Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl . Image from The Times of Israel

Religious hate crime is on the rise in England and Wales, according to a report published by the UK Home Office on Tuesday.The data showed that there were 8,336 religious hate crimes in 2017-18 — up from 5,949 the previous year.

Muslims were the targets of 52% of these offenses. Jews were the next most commonly targeted group — at 12%.

In a statement responding to the report, Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl said, “Today’s shocking revelations of a 40% rise in religious hate crime must serve as an urgent call to action. All of us — faith leaders, politicians, and the media — should today step up our efforts to stamp out this cancer in our society.”

“The figures reveal that the most commonly targeted groups are Muslims and Jews,” she added. “The Jewish community will continue to work in solidarity with Muslims and people of all faiths. We cannot let Britain become a place where a hijab or a kippah marks someone out as a target.”