Would you know how to detect and stop Islamophobia?

Any form of hatred towards a person can be really disturbing, whether it is their race, religion, sexuality, gender or a combination of all these characteristics.

Former English cricketer Azeem Rafiq spoke about the racism he faced in this sport, including wine being forced down his throat and the “constant” use of the word P.

The latest government data show that Muslims are the main target of hate crimes for religious reasons.

Over the past year, about half of all hate crimes have been committed against Muslims.

What is Islamophobia?

Let’s go back a little before we look at the definition of Islamophobia.

In 2019, a group of politicians representing all different parties, known as the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), was created to work out a working definition of Islamophobia.

They suggested defining it as a “kind of racism,” but two years later and the government has yet to conform to a definition.

A government spokesman says: “We are working to agree on a solid definition of Islamophobia and it is important to take the time to get it right.”

Muslims are the most targeted religious group when it comes to hate crimes.

Evrim Ertik via Getty Images

Muslims are the most targeted religious group when it comes to hate crimes.

So is there a difference between Islamophobia and racism?

Racism is the belief that one race is better than others. It also means any harmful act or unfair treatment towards someone because of their race.

When we talk about Islamophobia, the term encompasses prejudice or hatred towards Muslims and the religion of Islam.

The Council of Europe defines Islamophobia as:

“Fear or a prejudicial view of Islam, Muslims and related issues. Whether it takes the form of everyday forms of racism and discrimination or more violent forms, Islamophobia is a violation of human rights.”

When acts of Islamophobia or racism are reported to the police, they are known as hate crimes. Hate crimes can also be recorded as a result of ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, and disability.

In the case of Azeem Rafiq, being subject to drinking wine would be seen as a form of Islamophobia since in Islam it is not allowed to drink alcohol.

However, when it comes to calling the word P or other derogatory terms because of ethnicity, these would be classified as racial insults.

It is common for Islamophobia and racism to go hand in hand when people converge religion and ethnicity.

Since his ruling, Yorkshire Cricket County Club chairman Roger Hutton has resigned and coach Andrew Gale has been suspended.

Hutton has “unreservedly apologized” to Rafiq since he left the club.

In a parliamentary hearing he said: “To be honest with you, my first wish was to improve the club’s culture more broadly, and not in relation to discrimination specifically.”

Hope Not Hate, an anti-racism organization, has launched a campaign called #RunOutRacism and supports Rafiq in calling for transparency in its case.

They say Rafiq’s experiences are “not isolated” and want the issue to be addressed urgently in the sport.

“Seeing Azeem Rafiq talk about the racism he experienced was heartbreaking. When racism is not taken seriously, or dismissed as ‘good nature jokes,’ there are real consequences. People get hurt.”

– Nick Lowles, CEO of Hope Not Hate

How to fight Islamophobia?

Since November is Islamophobia Awareness Month, organizations are stepping up training to educate more people on how to combat Islamophobia.

MEND, a non-profit organization that encourages British Muslims to become more involved in the media and politics, recommends some ways to oppose Islamophobia.

  • Visit their website and other anti-racism organizations to read about the different forms of Islamophobia and racism.

  • Report any form of Islamophobia to the police (physical assault, verbal harassment, discrimination).

  • Get legal advice and support from the Islamophobia Response Unit.

  • Hold discussions in schools, workplaces, family groups / friendships on how to make spaces more inclusive.

  • Check out the resources available as part of Islamophobia Awareness Month.

Mend’s CEO Azhar Qayum says Islamophobic or racist comments “should never be tolerated as jokes” and encourages people to denounce the behavior when they hear or see it.

  • Tell MAMA supports victims of anti-Muslim hatred.
  • Young Minds provides information on racism and mental health for the youngest.
  • SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality) offers help to victims of hatred.
  • Stop Hate UK works to challenge all forms of hatred.

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