“An exaggerated, irrational fear, hatred and hostility towards Islam and Muslims perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination and marginalisation of Muslims from civic, social and political life”
– Fear Inc. and Fear Inc. 2.0 Centre for American Progress
Islamophobia can present itself in many different forms and can affect an individual in a number of ways, financially, emotionally, physically etc. Recognising islamophobic behavior whenever and wherever it occurs is imperative.
All cases and instances of Islamophobia, big or small should be reported. The more these cases are documented, the more it will help to track Islamophobia and aid in eliminating it from our communities. Reporting Islamophobia can be a frightening and confusing process, but there are many organisations that can support you and guide you through the process.
The following list of organisations are recommended by MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development)
MEND: Aims to empower and equip Muslims with the necessary skills and knowledge to play a more active part in society, particularly in regards to the Media and Politics.
IRU (Islamophobia Response Unit) (Part of MEND): Records all instances of Islamophobia reported to them and use these to raise awareness of Islamophobia, and aims to use political and legislative measures to combat Islamophobia, by working with police and local councils.
They help victims find out what legal recourse is available for them to take. Highlighting free sources of available legal assistance, publicising the victim’s case in mainstream media, to raise awareness and support.
NZF (National Zakat Foundation): Provides financial support, for those in dire need for a number of things, such as for legal matters, counseling, and essential living costs. For example a case study of Bilal Stoimenova, a construction worker who after accepting Islam was disowned and kicked out of the house by his brother. NZF helped him by helping with food and accommodation costs, and also in helping to find a job.
HHUGS (Helping Households Under Great Stress): Provides emotional, financial and practical support to families affected by counter-terrorism and extremism-related laws and policies. They aim to help families of those affected cope better in the long-term, by empowering them and providing them with skills and resources to support themselves and others and training them as volunteers to help other families in their situations.
Prevent Watch: Supports people affected by government-led strategy, PREVENT. Majority of the cases they handle involve children and families from Islamic backgrounds. They provide a legal helpline and support services. They investigate and track prevent cases to make sure they follow the rule of the law at all times, and that rights are protected.
It is important to note that these organisations are not meant to be an alternative to approaching the police and many other organisations also exist that have not been mentioned. If you believe you have been a victim of Islamophobic abuse, it’s important to make sure you report it to the police, so they can investigate it further.
Israa is a Creative writing and English literature graduate, and currently volunteers for a few charities. In between her routine of nerding out over Dungeons and Dragons, and obsessively eating strawberries, she spends her time writing as much as she can.