Launched in 2012, Islamophobia Awareness Month (which takes place in November) aims to highlight the threat of Islamophobic hate crimes and showcase the positive contributions of British Muslims to society. The overall aim of the month is to eliminate Islamophobia in the UK, in all forms. It’s also a time to think about what Islam means to many students here at Goldsmiths, as well as people around the world.
But what exactly does Islamophobia mean?
The Mirriam Webster definition of the word is: ‘irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against Islam or people who practice Islam.’
This discrimination could be in the form of a hate crime, street harassment, verbal or online abuse, which excludes or limits Muslims’ equal exercise of fundamental freedoms. Certainly, we know that Muslims face workplace discrimination (they’re paid 13-21% less than their white Christian counterparts of equal qualification), along with policies that unfairly target them (i.e. stop and search), and shutting down Muslim voices from legitimate debates.
While we won’t ever be able to destroy all forms of discrimination, there’s lots we can all do to deconstruct and challenge stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.
For starters, we urge you to educate yourself, share your stories and experiences. This NUS article on Islamophobia Awareness Month is an interesting read as it highlights the ways in which Islamophobia manifests on campuses as well as what we can do as a collective.
There are many events being organised around the UK to raise awareness, and we have a bunch coming up here at the SU - you can check them out here: goldsmithssu.org/whatson. Our first will be an Islamic Students’ Icebreaker kicking off on Tuesday 3rd November which is designed for our Muslim students to meet other like-minded people, make community connections and have fun. Click here to book yourself a ticket.
Of course, one month will never be enough to raise awareness of such a critical issue but it’s vitally important that we stand together in solidarity to combat Islamophobia in all forms.
*If you need to report a hate crime we recommend contacting MEND.*