On Thursday 4th November, the North West launched Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) in Manchester.
The event was in the form of a roundtable event with an emphasis on including young Muslims in the conversation around Islamophobia. Stakeholders (Greater Manchester Police, Local Councillors and Members of Parliament) were invited to discuss Islamophobia and how young Muslims can be more involved in decisions that affect them.
Jonathan Reynolds MP was present who spoke about his party’s commitment to tackle Islamophobia. As the MP of Stalybridge and Hyde, he agreed that Tameside council having not yet adopted the APPG definition of Islamophobia was disappointing and something that needed to be addressed as a first step in the fight against Islamophobia.
Cllr Karina Carter spoke about the work she does in Trafford as part of her Education portfolio. She commented on the importance of cultural understanding when working with minoritized communities.
Sgt Ali, a representative of Greater Manchester Police, discussed how the GMP are working to increase Muslim representation in the force and why this is important. He also spoke about the importance of reporting Islamophobia. He was surprised to hear about the stats relating to hate crime and felt that Muslims should continue reporting in order to ensure that the true extent of Islamophobia is measured.
Sarah, a medical student from University of Manchester, spoke to the group about the ‘Muslim Medic Guide for Muslim Students’. This is a guide put together by staff and students aimed at Muslim students to help them navigate through their medical journey. The aim of the guide is to help Muslim students, through offering practical tips and advice and has a section on tackling the specific experiences of Islamophobia that medical students can be subject to. You can read more on the guide here: http://www.socialresponsibility.manchester.ac.uk/news/october-2021/muslim-medic-guide–for-students-by-students/
Ismael, an ex-student at MMU, spoke about the Manchester Muslim Student Fund. This is a charity set up to benefit Muslim students who are from, studying and or residing in the Greater Manchester area by helping to alleviate poverty through providing funding in the form of bursaries and grants. They support and create initiatives to increase their wellbeing, reward excellence, campaign around causes relevant to Muslim Students and conduct research to direct their initiatives. You can read more here: https://mmsf.org.uk/
Thanks to the young Muslims who attended and to the stakeholders for their insights and commitment to include young Muslims voices in the future.
If you’re in Greater Manchester, or in the North West, and want to get involved locally in the fight against Islamophobia, get in touch with the IAM team at [email protected]