The Blog

Islamophobia on the Rise in the UK: A Call for Unity

ISIS better known as Daesh, who claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks have sparked a rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes on innocent Muslims in the UK. Frustratingly, it is peaceful Muslims who are facing the wrath of retaliation from those who ignorantly associate the terrorist group with Islam. There is nothing 'Islamic' about daesh, they have destroyed mosques, killed mercilessly and the majority of victims that they have murdered have been Muslims themselves, a fact that many fail to realise.

The majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world have stood against the atrocious acts of daesh and continue to rally against them. What is becoming increasingly difficult to comprehend is the rise in Islamophobic incidents that is becoming prevalent not only in the UK but around the world.

Since the Paris attacks, there have been countless reports of Anti Muslim hate crimes. A young Muslim woman had been pushed into an oncoming train on the London underground, a Muslim couple was beaten outside their shop in Scotland and a recent fire attack on a mosque in Glasgow is just a few of the many reported incidents of anti-Muslim hate crime post the attacks. In Canada, a Muslim woman was physically assaulted whilst picking her children from school and has been left traumatised and shaken by the incident. The reports of hate crime against Muslims, makes it even more important that there is an emphasis on better interfaith understanding and the need to isolate daesh from having anything to do with Islam.

Tell MAMA, an UK organisation that monitors such attacks, reported on their website, that despite the rise in Islamophobia, "The reaction by members of the British public to anti-Muslim bigotry has been heartwarming. There are some groups who campaign against Islamophobia and who do not reflect the fact that many non-Muslims regularly stand up against anti-Muslim prejudice and do so out of a conviction that prejudice must be addressed and countered".

The Environment for Hate report into the day-to-day experiences of British Muslims, carried out by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), found an increasing number of people reporting verbal and physical abuse. "Muslims in the UK feel targeted by media and political institutions, which in their understanding contribute heavily towards a deteriorating climate of fear, a rise in far-right groups and a rise of anti-Muslim racism... Most Muslims now feel they are hated," the report says.

As a British Muslim, living in Scotland, I am deeply concerned that the backlash is escalating. I no longer feel as safe as I used to when dropping my kids to school or going out alone because I can see a change in the way Muslims are being treated. I have experienced verbal abuse by Islamophobes myself and can feel the atmosphere is worsening. What is even more concerning, is the fact that the Muslim community is being urged 'not to go out alone' until things have calmed down, making us feel even more anxious about a possible encounter with misguided members of society. It is understandable that safety is paramount and it is imperative to be cautious in such difficult times. However, the harsh reality of the rise of Islamophobia leaves many Muslims feeling frustrated with the whole situation and the fact that people are unaware that these divisions are playing directly into the hands of daesh.

Being born and bred in the UK, living in a multicultural society, I have always loved then fact that Britain is a diverse and tolerant nation. It is important that we continue to represent these values and remain united in the wake of these attacks, in order to send a strong message to daesh, that they will not defeat us and we will not fall prey to their motives.

Arie Kruglanski, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland who studies how people become terrorists said, "This is precisely what ISIS was aiming for -- to provoke communities to commit actions against Muslims,". Kruglanski further stated that, "Then ISIS will be able to say, 'I told you so. These are your enemies, and the enemies of Islam.'"

Daesh would love the fact that they are inciting hate crimes amongst the community. Those who carry out verbal or physical attacks on Muslims in the UK and abroad are only contributing to a far worse situation by giving ISIL exactly what they want. The public can help the situation by taking action in reporting such incidents of hate crime and this will help to protect the victims and reduce the chances of a serious assault taking place. The best thing that we can do to really defeat daesh is to work together as one, stay united and support each other against all forms of violence, terrorism and evil.