This November marks the 10th anniversary of Islamophobia Awareness Month being founded. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Project Officer, Safyan Rahman, explores this years IAM theme ‘Tackling Denial’.
Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) is a campaign founded in 2012 by a coalition of Muslim organisations. It aims to highlight the impacts that misconceptions and discrimination can have on Muslims and showcase the positive contributions Muslim communities make within society. November 2022 marks the 10 year anniversary of IAM which has spent the last decade rapidly building engagement with supporters, putting on hundreds of events across the country and embarking on several profile-building media campaigns.
Each year the campaign adopts a theme, with this years’ specific focus ‘Tackling Denial’. It aims to raise awareness of the denial of Islamophobia within political and social spaces, highlighting the dangerous and pervasive impacts such denial can have on Muslims around the globe. Denying or diminishing the existence of Islamophobia, whether institutional or in day-to-day interactions, prevents meaningful conversations on how to tackle Islamophobia. IAM aims to spotlight this theme as a means for generating uncomfortable yet valuable conversations and collective education.
Islamophobia has a pervasive impact on communities around the world. Opinion polling by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) found that 22% of Britons had negative feelings towards Muslims and that 33% believed equal opportunities had gone too far when it comes to Muslims. In October 2020, the Home Office published data showing that over 50% of the UK’s religious hare crimes had been targeted towards Muslims in the preceding year. In 2014, the Office for National statistics found that Muslim men were up to 76% less likely to find UK employment compared to white, male British Christians of the same age and carrying the same qualifications. Muslim women were 65% less likely.
These attitudes and actions do not manifest within a vacuum and are often influenced by narratives presented about Muslim communities by national policy-makers, media broadcasters and other prominent media forms, demonstrating that what are traditionally considered ‘overt’ and ‘covert’ acts of Islamophobia are inherently linked. This is evidenced by a 2019 study conducted by the MCB which concluded that the UK coverage of Muslims was predominantly negative, with 59% of industry coverage of Muslim-based stories containing negative themes.
Islamophobia Awareness Month encourages people to educate themselves on the context of Islamophobia within the UK but also to think proactively about their role in tackling it. Islamophobia will inevitably affect a large portion of King’s Muslim community (staff, students and visitors), making it more important that as a community we actively seek to continue educating ourselves and understand the importance of this campaign. As a starting point, we encourage all members to explore the following resources:
- ‘What is Islamophobia?’ – Muslim Council of Britain
- State of Media Reporting on Islam & Muslims – Muslim Council of Britain
- Creating a Muslim Friendly Workplace – MEND
- Sign up to Active Bystander training on SkillsForge to learn how to become an effective ally for all marginalised communities against bullying and harassment.
- Book the the newly updated Diversity Matters training to increase your knowledge on the importance of a diverse workforce.
- Contact email@example.com if you would like us to put on a Tackling Microaggressions training session within your staff group, directorate or Faculty. Separate sessions for students and staff can be held.
- Read the Religion & Belief Policy which outlines our expected behaviour of all members of the King’s community in relation to religion and belief.
- Use Report + Support to report any incidents of islamophobia, bullying or harassment, and to receive support.
For further information on how to get involved with Islamophobia Awareness Month and, be kept up to date on events happening in your local area, and how to spread awareness of the campaign, visit the IAM2022 webpage.
At King’s we affirm our commitment to the safety of all staff and encourage all to use this month to reflect on how they can further their self-education and get involved with Islamophobia Awareness Month.
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