Did you know that 42% of religiously motivated Hate Crimes were targeted against Muslims, according to the most recent Home Office Hate Crime statistics? That’s 3,459 reports in one year alone of people being targeted because they were perceived to be Muslim. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as many Hate Crimes go unreported.
Islamophobia is entrenched within Hate Crimes against Muslims. According to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, Islamophobia “is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” It ignores what we have in common and paints our differences as something to be afraid of, hinging on dangerous misinformation, fear and prejudice.
This month is Islamophobia Awareness Month in the UK. This year, organisers are encouraging people to tackle denial of Islamophobia, hoping that by acknowledging its existence, we can start important conversations and begin to find solutions.
At SARI, we know all too well that Islamophobia exists, and too often is funnelled into Hate Crimes against people perceived to be Muslim. The placement of a pig’s head in view of residents in Barton Hill is a recent example of this, but there are many more examples where Hate Crime has been fuelled by Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is not just constrained to incidents on the street but is also visible within factions of the media and politics. According to Tell Mama, in the week after Boris Johnson made derogatory remarks about Muslim women who wear the Niqab, Islamophobic incidents rose by 375%. When you have mainstream politicians and media outlets both normalising and fuelling Islamophobia, it is all the more important to speak out against it. Especially when some deny it is an issue in the first place.
Whilst highlighting Islamophobia, it is also important to celebrate Islam and the contribution Muslims make in the UK. We have worked closely with Bristol City Council, University of Bristol and the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group to put together a booklet which looks at Muslims in Bristol and Britain. With a foreword from Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the booklet covers the core beliefs of Islam, the early Islamic immigrants to the UK, and the cultural and scientific contributions the community has made since. A detailed FAQ covers misunderstood topics, answering questions on Shari’ah law, female empowerment and terrorism.
Nobody should be subjected to discrimination, harassment, or violence because of the religion they follow, yet Islamophobia continues to be a scourge in our society. For anyone in the Avon & Somerset area who believes they have been a victim of Islamophobic-fuelled Hate Crime – please know that we are here for you.
The Bristol Muslim Cultural Society (BMCS) will be hosting the following events to mark Islamophobia Awareness Month:
- 7pm – 17th November – UWE – BMCS will be delivering an Islamophobia awareness session called Tackling Islamophobia. This is at aimed adult Muslims.
- 7:30pm – 27th November – Online – BMCS will be hosting an online webinar session on Islamophobia with Q&A. More details can be found on BMCS social media channels closer to the time.
- Organisations /schools /companies can get in touch with BMCS to organise an Islamophobia awareness session for them. If you are interested, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.