On November 10th 2021, Daniel Gilius from Edinburgh University hosted the University of Edinburgh’s Islamic society (ISOC) first 2021 Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) event. The event Islamophobia Causes and Cures (CnC) was presented by MEND’s Scotland Regional Manager via Zoom.
Scotland’s Regional manager delivered the Islamophobia CnC presentation, which first highlighted the Fear Inc definition of ‘Islamophobia’, explaining how well it lays out what is Islamophobia. The presentation then looked at the definition by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), stating that it did not explain well enough the extent to which Islamophobia can be spread and experienced and highlighted the need for guidelines to be adopted with the definition.
The presentation continued on to discuss various Islamophobic attacks that have taken place, such as the arson attack on an Islamic charity in Glasgow and brutal murders that have been committed simply because individuals appear to be Muslim. The RM also highlighted that Muslims face difficulty in the job market because of their Muslim-sounding names; and that Muslim women also face discrimination as a result of their appearance and religious dress. The presentation then talked about reporting Islamophobia upon seeing it or experiencing it, emphasising its importance and reinforcing the aims of MEND.
An important aspect discussed was the significance of empowering Muslims by educating communities and organisations about Islamophobia, encouraging Muslims to get involved with public affairs, vote, engage with and attend events and make themselves known to the greater public. These were all methods in which Muslims can come together and tackle Islamophobia. Lastly, the presentation shared a video on Islamophobia and the chat was open for any questions from the attendees.
The Edinburgh ISOC were thankful for the insightful discussion, and they asked some very insightful questions of the presenter and host at the end of the event. Attendees asked whether there was a different perception of Muslims depending on their geographical background and if all Muslims from around the globe experienced an ‘equal’ amount of Islamophobia. The presenter highlighted that Islamophobia is prevalent all around the world and can be experienced in many ways; however, in other countries, Islamophobia may be more extreme than others. Also that individuals in the UK may experience Islamophobia in differing ways due to gender, ethnicity and a whole host of other reasons.
Thank you to Daniel Gilius for hosting the event. Thank you also to all of the members who attended and Edinburgh University ISOC for arranging the event and for the amazing work they do to address and tackle Islamophobia throughout the year.