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Monday, May 03, 2004

Combat Islamophobia



IACN has mentioned this frequently but it is worth pointing out again. Islamophobia is still on the rise and we continue to witness attacks on Muslim men, women and children; even mosques and other Muslim property are not protected from such malicious attacks. Islamophobia takes many forms including verbal & emotional abuse and physical assault. Media coverage of Islam and Muslims is undoubtedly one of the major factors behind this rise in anti-Muslim sentiments.

Muslim women have been spat at, have had their headscarves pulled off and one was even repeatedly smashed on the head with a baseball bat; mosque windows have been smashed, graffiti has been painted on mosques, mosques have been fire bombed and a Muslim has even been attacked and paralysed. A recent case in point is the vicious attack on a 17-year-old Hijab wearing girl where the attacker tried to force her to recite the Holy Trinity and threatened to show her that "Christianity is the right religion”. The maniac cut a 'cross' into her hand, slashed her upper arms and side, in an hour long ordeal. (Click on link below for full story.)

http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/archived/2004/Wk122004/ilfbark/ilfnews/splash.asp

Islamophobia will continue to rise if left unchecked and an eventual Muslim holocaust is not beyond the realms of possibility. We must not forget that one of the precursors to the Jewish holocaust was that the Jews were demonized throughout Germany. It is vital that each and every one of us stands up against Islamophobia – NOW.

We must understand that a lot of Islamophobia is a result of ignorance about Islam on the part of non-Muslims. However having said that, we must acknowledge that we Muslims have failed to inform our non-Muslim neighbours, friends, co-workers, classmates, etc about Islam and hence we are also guilty of negligence and have consequently helped fuel the fire of Islamophobia.

Some simple steps that can be carried out by individuals, mosques and/or organisations to fight Islamophobia are as follows:

- Mosques should frequently hold open days for non-Muslims to give them an opportunity to find out about Islam and get to know Muslims

- Mosques should hold joint inter-faith sessions where misconceptions about each other can be removed

- Build contacts with local press. If you don't provide them with something to write about then someone else will

- Monitor your local press and respond to any Islamophobic and/or inaccurate articles

- Invite your local MPs to your mosque and ask them what they are doing to combat Islamophobia or what they plan to do

- Build links with police / use the police helpline number to ask any questions that you may have.
Visit http://www.police.uk/forces/default.asp to locate your local police constabulary

- Participate in radio and TV talk shows and air your views

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