Islamophobia Awareness Month launched in Europe

The Islamophobia Awareness Month will be hosting a series of events aiming to highlight and address issues surrounding anti-Muslim hatred. This event in East London saw the launch of the campaign that included organisations from different religious and political backgrounds.

The event gathered high-profile speakers from the police and universities to members of parliament. Speakers included the British human rights lawyer, Imran Khan, who highlighted, what he believes, is a direct link between the negative portrayals of Islam in the media and hate crimes against Muslims.

Among the audience were many Muslims; hopeful to engage with other communities and change people’s perception of Islam. They feel it’s important to calm tensions that might exist amongst fellow citizens, because those tensions could and have spilled out into violence.

There is a strong feeling amongst Muslims in Europe that they are the target of discrimination and hatred. They feel like a community under siege. And they hope schemes like the Islamophobia Awareness Month will highlight these problems and bring about a grassroots change in society.

However, the society they live in doesn’t have a very favorable view of Islam. A recent survey reveals just 25% of people feel positively about Islam. And over 60% feel Islam is incompatible in British society.

Event organizers believe a lot has to do with name association. Terms like terrorism and extremism is closely attributed to Muslim stories in the media. They believe this correlation then creates an attitude hostile towards Muslims.

The Islamophobia Awareness Month aims to reach many cities, schools, institutions and governing bodies. Engagement with other communities is seen as an important step in demystifying and tackling hatred against Islam and Muslims.

Press TV, 7 November 2012

For the campaign organised by the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France as part of Islamophobia Awareness Month, see CCIF news report, 31 October 2012

See also the website that the CCIF has launched to support the campaign.

Links to media coverage of the CCIF initiative can be found here.