14 November 2017

This Islamophobia obsession does Muslims no favours

For the past three years I have been involved in leading a national initiative called Islam Awareness Week. A celebration of faith and community that has been running for more than 25 years, it aims to raise understanding of the positive contribution made by British Muslims in all walks of life, including education, medicine, the arts and politics.

Five years ago, a rather different initiative sprang up, called Islamophobia Awareness Month, which sets out to highlight one of the most negative aspects of being a Muslim in Britain today.

The hatred of others should not determine how Muslims are viewed. Focusing disproportionately on Muslims as victims creates division: it emphasises the us and them mentality that further alienates Muslims from society.

I have been involved in tackling hate crime for over a decade and for most of that time have chaired an award-winning hate crime prevention organisation. I am well aware that anti-Muslim hatred is a sad reality and that it needs to be challenged. A report by the monitoring group Tell Mama shows that in 2016, 2,840 Islamophobic crimes and incidents were recorded by 18 police forces in the UK. [The Times (£)] Read more