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Islamophobic attacks against Muslim women on the increase

26th Oct 2017
Islamophobic attacks against Muslim women on the increase

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addressing the rise of anti Muslim hate crimes targeting women at Finsbury Park Mosque. Photographer: Ahmed J Versi/The Muslim News

Ahmed J Versi

 

Muslim women were invited to Finsbury Park Mosque in London on October 16 to discuss their experience of hate crime.

The event, which was attended by the local community, councillors, politicians, police officers, heard attacks on Muslims, especially Muslim women and mosques, which are visible form of Islam, increase after terrorist attacks in the country. One of the main reasons for the increase in the attacks according to the victims is the way the media portrays Muslims. They asked “What can we do to make our media accountable?” as “they are creating hate against Muslims.”

Muslim girls spoke about being insulted daily for the way they dress. One claimed a white van man had sped at her while she was crossing the road.

Another pointed to passive aggression: people moving to another seat when she sat next to them on a train.

And in questions from the floor, a recurring theme emerged, calling for media accountability overspreading “hateful messages”.

Leader of the Labour Party and the local MP Jeremy Corbyn, responding to the victims stories, said there should be “serious discussion with the major media organisations on the way they are reporting” about Muslims of “singly out only one community”.

Muslim girls wearing the hijab faced abuse and negative remarks in schools and very little is being done by the teachers and head teachers to help such students. Corbyn said, “it was important for the schools to intervene on their side…and we cannot allow casual racist remarks to be made.”

To complaints about the way Muslim women treated insensitively by the police, Corbyn said there should be “awareness training of how to respond to hate crimes and how to treat those who report the crimes.”

However, most hate crimes go unreported. The reason most people said was that they don’t have confidence in the police and do not believe they would anything to help the victims and catch the culprits.

Fatima, who was studying at SOAS, said, for women “hate crime becomes normalised and we feel we will not be listened to and will be belittled.”

Maryam agreed with Fatima and said hundreds of women face verbal abuse and when they got to services “do not get any help.”

When someone is arrested for attacking a Muslim woman is often let free as they claim “they are suffering from mental illnesses.”

Some said it was not only Islamophobia that was targeted at Muslims but face surveillance by the counter-terrorism police. “So I am afraid to comment anything on the social media as even if it is a silly tweet we may be arrested,” said one teenager.

Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, blamed the media and politicians who “created a climate where hate crimes happen” giving examples of the tweets by Farage and Hopkins when the accident took place near the National Museum in London, and The Times reporting of adoption case which was “pretty disgraceful”. “We need to ask serious questions why such articles were published.”

*A new group that will help grassroots organisations work together to combat hate crime was announced by Minister for Faith, Lord Bourne, on October 17.

“Let me be clear – hate crime has no place whatsoever in British society. All communities must be able to live their lives free from fear of verbal or physical attack,” he said at the launch.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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