Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia

Sabby Dahlu is Secretary of One Society Many Cultures. She comments on the unreported Islamophobia that still hurts many British Muslims.

Sabby Dahlu is Secretary of One Society Many Cultures.

The recent report Islamophobia and anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK case studies, published by the European Muslim Research Centre based at the University of Exeter, documents the grim reality of a sharp increase in violence against Muslims and their religious institutions in Britain since 2001. Whether it is assaults on individual Muslims or arson attacks on mosques much goes unreported in the media, so little is understood outside the communities subject to this wave of violence.

For twelve months a team of researchers investigated the intimidation and discrimination experienced by Muslim communities. Amongst their findings are a disturbing number of assaults on Muslim women wearing hijabs, niqabs or burkas, incidents that have invariably taken place in public places – streets, shopping centres, trains or buses – and in full view of passers-by and onlookers who have generally not intervened to help. The researchers came across many harrowing incidents alongside what they describe as the more “mundane” assaults such as a mother being punched and abused by an unknown assailant while returning home on a bus from a shopping centre while her petrified infant daughter watched on.

The report reveals a dramatic rise in attacks on mosques, Islamic institutions and other Muslim organisations with arson and criminal damage now widespread. Particularly vulnerable have become the mosques in isolated Muslim communities – such as in market towns and suburbs – as they do not have the resources or support to defend themselves against this political violence.

Muslims face a particular threat of Islamophobic violence from politically motivated attackers including from individuals and gangs not aligned to the extremist nationalism of the English Defence League and the British National Party.

A number of mosques, such as the East London Mosque in Whitechapel, are highlighted because of their success at tackling arson attacks and intimidation by far right thugs whilst at the same time being at the forefront of tackling al-Qaeda inspired violent extremism. The report’s authors note that these mosques are often demonised and wrongly conflated with extremism by a small number of lazy journalists and some politicians, when in fact these are the mosques with the track record of combating terrorism.

The findings illustrate the extent to which the media and right wing politicians have helped fan anti-Muslim feeling. Recent examples of this growing hysteria include; tabloid hostility whipped up against halal meat in schools, wild claims about Sharia law, alongside English Defence League demonstrations chanting slogans such as ‘Burn the Mosque’.

It is important politicians stand up against this tide of prejudice and defend the long established freedoms of religion and cultural expression that are now under attack. To roll back this assault requires those who oppose this vilification of Muslims to promote a different dialogue, one that celebrates the benefits of our multicultural society including the Muslim communities currently under attack. That is the best way to defeat the right wing’s offensive against freedom of thought, conscience, religion and cultural expression.

These issues will be discussed at a conference – Speak out against racism and Islamophobia – on Saturday 11th December, 10-5.30pm in London. Addressing the event will be Jack Dromey MP (Shadow Minister for Communities and local Government), Shabana Mahmood MP (Shadow Home Office Minister), Ken Livingstone, Doreen Lawrence OBE, alongside Dr. Jonathan Githens-Mazer (one of the authors of the report). To register at the conference visit here.

24 Responses to “Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia”

  1. Al Makraz-Sellers

    RT @leftfootfwd: Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia writes @SabbyDhalu //bit.ly/eWOZMG

  2. Sabby Dhalu

    RT @leftfootfwd: Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia writes @SabbyDhalu //bit.ly/eWOZMG

  3. Rukiyah Khatun

    RT @leftfootfwd: Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia //bit.ly/fvQJ9g

  4. London Muslim

    Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia //bit.ly/fvQJ9g

  5. Milena Buyum

    RT @leftfootfwd: Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia //bit.ly/fvQJ9g

  6. Milad Yaumil Karim

    RT @londonmuslim: Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia //bit.ly/fvQJ9g

  7. TU Cultural Studies

    Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia //bit.ly/gBXVhn

  8. RaidingTheParks

    RT @leftfootfwd: Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia writes @SabbyDhalu //bit.ly/eWOZMG

  9. Stay Blessed

    'Islamaphobia' needs to be tackled. There's been a sharp increase on Muslims and religious organisations since 2001.. //bit.ly/fg3GW9

  10. Wild Claims

    The article mentions “wild claims” about Sharia? How long does the journalist believe that s/he would survive in a country that was under Sharia law? How long does the journalist think that the average Englishman or woman would survive under Sharia law? Try calling a spade a spade.

  11. MCB

    "Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia" writes Sabby Dhalu, Secretary of One Society Many Cultures: //bit.ly/eWOZMG @SabbyDhalu

  12. LibertyPhile

    You will find a pretty good explanation of the causes of “Islamophobia” here:

    //libertyphilewhy.blogspot.com/2010/11/this-is-why-part-2.html

  13. Mr. Sensible

    The media need to take some responsibility for this.

    Some of the things you read in the likes of the Mail would be enough to create an anti-Islam feeling.

  14. 1society

    read our latest blog on Left Foot Forward – urgent action needed to tackle #Islamophobia //tinyurl.com/3ygassl #muslim #hatecrime

  15. Ben Folley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia writes @SabbyDhalu //bit.ly/eWOZMG

  16. Ben Folley

    @SabbyDhalu from @1_society writes for @LeftFootFwd – urgent action needed to tackle #Islamophobia //tinyurl.com/3ygassl

  17. Fiona Edwards

    Read blog on Left Foot Forward – urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia //tinyurl.com/3ygassl @1_society #antiracism

  18. Gareth Nicholas

    @ #2: Blaming the victims of Islamophobia for the racism they face highlights exactly why this problem is so endemic in society.

  19. LibertyPhile

    It is very clear who to “blame”. It is those who commit violence or threaten violence against persons or property. And, they should be punished.

    But, the authors of the report (political tract) praised here blame millions of decent people in this country, the great majority, who don’t like what large numbers of Muslims in the UK and around the world believe and practice and which is accurately reported by responsible journalists.

    You can study the link above a bit more carefully or consider “amputation for theft”, “death for apostasy”, “easy divorce for men”, “stoning for adultery”, “segregation of the sexes”, “polygamy”, “veiling of women”, “a Muslim can marry only another Muslim”, “suppression of other religions” etc., etc.

  20. Wild Claims

    @#4: Your argument is circular. Is blaming the people who are locked up in prison for murder highlighting the problems that are endemic with the legal system? Or is it highlighting the fact that someone committed a murder and murder is wrong?

  21. Sheffield UAF

    RT @1_society: read our latest blog on Left Foot Forward – urgent action needed to tackle #Islamophobia //tinyurl.com/3ygassl #musl …

  22. The Great Fear

    […] Urgent action needed to tackle Islamophobia (leftfootforward.org) […]

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