Data released on Wednesday by Spain’s Interior Ministry showed that hate crimes are on the rise in Spain, increasing by 9.3% during the first half of this year compared to 2019.
“The data confirms what we’ve been seeing for years -- an objective and constant increase in hate crimes,” said Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska during a presentation of the findings.
With a backdrop of the pandemic, hate crimes decreased in 2020, but they have re-emerged with force this year.
During the first half of 2021, there were at least 610 reported hate crimes, although the government found that just one out of every 10 are reported to the police.
Last year, racism was the leading motivator of the attacks, followed by ideology and sexual orientation.
In recent months, Spain has been shaken by the racist murder of Moroccan national Younes Bilal for being a Muslim, and the fatal beating of Samuel Luiz Muniz, 24, allegedly for being gay.
According to the statistics, young men are most likely to be both the victims and perpetrators of these attacks.
“Of those arrested for racist, xenophobic or gender crimes, 81% were male,” said Javier Lopez Gutierrez, the head of the statistics and victim attention department in the Spanish government.
Of those arrested, the majority were between 26 and 40 years old./aa