Strathclyde Telegraph

November raises awareness about Islamophobia

November is Islamophobia Awareness Month. Across Britain mosques and students stand up against Islamophobia and gather to combat the issue together.

Following the terrorist attacks in Manchester Arena in May, 2017 and London Bridge in June of this year, hate crimes across Britain have “increased fivefold since the London Bridge attacks” states the Guardian. Also attacks on mosques and on women wearing the hijab or the burqa using acid have become common.

Activists particularly see fault with the media’s documentation of the Muslim community in Britain.

“The portrayal of Muslims in the mainstream media holds an important role in creating perceptions that the wider public hold about Muslims… there needs to be greater responsibility”, said Samayya Afzal, an activist based in Bradford.

Photo credit: SUMSA

The activist wrote in her review in Ceasefire Magazine: “The first few minutes of My Week As a Muslim are dominated by self-confessed Muslim-sceptic Katie Freeman sharing her views, which range from orientalist fantasy to overt racism.”

The programme particularly offended Muslims in the British Pakistani community as the brown face and the larger nose was seen as necessity to make her look of Pakistani origin.

Samayya Afzal, Biomedical Science graduate and co-founder of the National Union of Students (NUS) Students Not Suspects campaign said: “to combat Islamophobia, we should be listening to and legitimising Muslim voices”.

“The documentary went to such lengths to achieve the process of changing Katie’s mind, without challenging where her racist views came from”, the activist continued.

One twitter user also criticised the programme: “Imagine actually listening to Muslim women about their experiences of islamophobia but islamophobia doesn’t exist until a ww (white women) experiences it.”

Strathclyde University Muslim Student Association (SUMSA) campaign every year to raise awareness about Islamophobia and incidences of hate crimes in the community and beyond.

Asad-Ali Sarwar, the president of SUMSA said: “Islamophobia Awareness Month in my eyes was effective last year. SUMSA had launched a social media campaign (#IAMStrathclyde) (…) and this was picked up by the NUS and FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies)”.

Strathclyde University is a registered third party hate crime reporting centre. If you have been subject or witness to a hate crime please report them on www.strath.ac.uk/equalitydiversity/equalityinformationforstudents/hatecrime.

By Ayisha Qazikhel