What is Islamophobia?
Islamophobia can be defined as: a prejudice, aversion, hostility, or hatred towards Muslims and encompasses any distinction, exclusion, restriction, discrimination, or preference against Muslims that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
Islamophobia not only refers to a category of hate crime, but pertains to barriers that Muslims face across all areas of public life. This includes, but is not limited to: discrimination at work, such as the failure to be promoted based on achievement; marginalisation from political positions; demonisation based on negative stereotypes within media discourse; and public policies that discriminate against Muslims based on their religious identity.
What is Islamophobia Awareness Month?
Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) was co-founded by MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development) with other British organisations in 2012 to deconstruct and challenge the stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. Our campaign, held every November, aims to work with City students, staff, alumni. We also want to work with the local council, journalists, local media outlets, councillors, local MPs, mosques, Universities, schools, community organisations and others, to raise awareness of the threat of Islamophobia and encourage better reporting of incidents to the police.
What impact has Prevent had on the Muslim Community?
Notable cases impacting the community include:
- A 14-year-old Muslim boy who mentioned “eco-terrorists” as it was discussed at a debating society meeting, and then was then questioned about his support for ISIS.
- An Extinction Rebellion campaigner who was referred to PREVENT by their NHS Trust for radicalisation.
- A 3 year old child who mispronounced “cucumber” and the nursery teachers thought he’d said “cooker bomb”
- A college student was referred for his Palestine activism and told by officers that expressing support for the Palestinians was tantamount to supporting extremism.
- A 14 year old boy was referred by his school for mentioning that he was an ‘antifascist’. The school accused him of attending ‘antifascist terrorist training camps’
- A Masters student was referred for reading a book in his university library on terrorism...for his course on terrorism. He was left so affected by the incident that he left the university.
- Kings College London (KCL) admitted to monitoring student emails under Prevent. It is likely that this happens at many other Universities.
- NUS report on Muslim students (2017-18) revealed that one third of Muslim students felt negatively affected by Prevent. 43% said that they felt unable to express their views or be themselves. 80% of Islamic Society Presidents reported that Prevent negatively impacted their Islamic Society.
- At some Universities, CCTV has been installed in prayer spaces.
- Some quotes from individuals affected by Prevent include: “This has caused me a lot of stress. I feel I am being watched… You worry that they could take your children into care.”
What is happening during November for Islamophobia Awareness Month?
Launching as part of Islamophobia Awareness Month 2021, 'Rooted In Religion' is our community-led campaign that celebrates the huge diversity of our Muslim community at City. Over the month, people from our Muslim community will be invited to have their photo taken by our team, or to take a photo of something that symbolises what their faith means to them, and then will be asked to write a short description or word to contribute to the work. Student and staff of faith or none are invited to come and view the exhibition.
The work will be displayed between 9th - 25th November.