This year the launch for Islamophobia Awareness Month in the West Midlands was hosted by Birmingham Central Mosque.
The event was kicked off by a few words from Maqbool Ahmed the chair of the Birmingham Central Mosque and an appearance from Muhammad Afzal (Lord Mayor of Birmingham) recognising the problem of Islamophobia and welcoming an open discussion on how it can be tackled.
The event boasted a panel discussion that included Simon Foster (Police Crime Commissioner for West Midlands), Councillor Ahmed Bostan (Sandwell), Yousif Eltom (President of the Muslim Scout Fellowship) and Azhar Qayyum (CEO of MEND). Councillor Obaida (Wolverhampton) was also due to sit on the panel but it was announced that she was in an important council meeting discussing the adoption of the APPG definition of Islamophobia in Wolverhampton. It was also announced at the end of the event that Wolverhampton had adopted the definition to a cheer from the audience.
There were approx. 60-70 members of the audience from different organisations across the West Midlands in attendance including, EDI Leads from the NHS, representatives from community organisations and representatives from other mosques to name a few.
The conversations were rich with a commitment to recognising and tackling the problem of Islamophobia. Simon Foster stated, ‘I will always support Islamophobia Awareness Month and I am always against discrimination and hate crime in any form’.
The spoken word poem performed by Tamana, a lady who spoke of her personal experiences of Islamophobia, connected emotionally with the audience and panellists and was referenced throughout the evening for her courage and bravery to share.