On Monday 1st November, London marked the launch of Islamophobia Awareness Month at the iconic East London Mosque. In attendance were representatives from the Muslim community, local government, media, and police.
The event was kickstarted by an empowering speech by local Imam and community leader, Mawlana Shamsud-Duha, who addressed the Muslim community and encouraged confidence and bravery in practicing religion despite its challenges. Speaker of Hackney council, Cllr Micheal Desmond, expressed the need for society to be inclusive and welcoming to communities of all faiths, and Hackney Hate Crime Lead, Bennett Obong, emphasised the need and importance for reporting hate crime.
A letter was read out from Member of Parliament, Diane Abbot, who sent her apologies for being unable to attend the event: “…This tide of Islamophobia cannot be turned unless there is also change at the top. We need to see change from people in prominent positions in public life, and in the media. We also need to see a change from our politicians, not always solely in the Tory party, who seem to believe that attacking Muslims and others is a way to win cheap votes. This is a disgrace.
This is a long-term issue, and it will require stamina and courage from those fighting for justice. But nothing worthwhile has ever been handed to us, so the fight against Islamophobia must go on.”
The event was concluded with a powerful performance by spoken word artist, Usaamah Minhaas, and a moving first-person victim testimony of how Islamophobia impacted their lives and the support they received from the Islamophobia Response Unit.
The launch event was covered by British Muslim TV, Islam Channel, and City University Press.
See Islam Channel’s coverage of the event here:
Thank you to all our guests, attendees, and volunteers who made this launch event memorable!