VICTIMS of 'Islamophobic' abuse can now report incidents using a new telephone helpline thanks to funding from Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner.

The dedicated third-party reporting service for victims of anti-Muslim abuse, run by the Lancashire Council of Mosques, aims to raise awareness of the problem and was launched on Friday after helpline bosses accepted a £2,500 grant from Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, and £1,500 from Lancashire Partnership Against Crime.

It was recommended that the helpline be set up in research by Professor Paul Iganski at Lancaster University, commissioned by Lancashire County Council.

Abdul Hamid Qureshi, Lancashire Council of Mosques chairman, said: “This shows that when research comes in front of us, we do take action. This is a unique project in the county and we hope we will rise to the challenge.”

Faz Patel, community cohesion campaigner from Blackburn, said he thought the helpline was needed.

He said: “There is a real need for this. I think it is important that people can pick up the phone and report something confidentially."

“It is important that vulnerable people from the Muslim community who have been victims of crime can contact this telephone line.

“Any forms of hate crime should not be tolerated whether it is antisemitism or homophobia.

“At this moment in time Muslims have been made a scapegoat.”