Islamophobia Awareness Month

November marks our Islamophobia Awareness Month campaign, and our Muslim student societies have been working together to organise it.

The campaign works on two levels. The first part of the campaign aims to challenge and deconstruct the stereotypes about Islam and Muslims, and to raise awareness of Islamophobia and the impact it has on Muslims in the UK and at our university.

Islamophobia is a prejudice constructed as a result of ignorance, fear and hate towards a section of our community. Deeper than prejudice, it is systematic injustice that invades an individual’s personal and professional life. The Students’ Union does not tolerate Islamophobia or any other form of hate; we aim to work towards creating a safe and welcoming environment for all our students. At a time when this behaviour is becoming more common, this awareness month is still extremely relevant and important to recognise. In a context of the continued drastic rise of the far right, Prevent strategies which are still biased against the Muslim community, and Muslims still having to justify their faith at every corner of their lives, Islamophobia Awareness is a necessity.

The second part of this campaign aims to focus on the positive by celebrating Muslim achievements and highlighting important Muslim figures in history and society today. Our Muslim community is extremely diverse, coming from a wide range of backgrounds so why not attend some of our events to learn more about these experiences?

We don’t want any of our students to feel as though their faith puts them at a disadvantage within the university or is the reason why they are vulnerable to hate. Therefore, we encourage you all to educate yourself and others, for the sake of a safer and more accepting community. We hope to see you all at our events and please do not hesitate to get in touch using the details below!

IAM Organising Committee 2021

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Facts & Figures
  • CVs submitted under a non-Muslim name are three times more likely to be offered an interview than those with a Muslim name. (Source: BBC News)
  • In newspaper coverage of Islam and Muslims, words relating to conflict, such as violence, terrorism and war, were 5 times more prevalent than words relating to religion, culture or education. (Source: IAM)
  • 1 in 5 times the word ‘Islamophobia’ was used in newspaper articles, it was to deny that the concept exists. (Source: IAM)
  • Post-Brexit, the number of incidents of racist and religious abuse recorded by police in England and Wales increased 41% in the month after the UK voted to leave the EU. (Source: IAM)
  • Muslims experience the highest levels of disadvantage in the labour market, according to the National Equality Panel. (Source: IAM)

Influential figures
Malcolm X

Malcolm X was a minister, activist, and prominent Black nationalist leader whose ideas and speeches contributed to the development of the Black Power movement. He embraced Islam and the civil rights movement when he completed Hajj. Speaking of his experience in Mecca, he stated that seeing Muslims of all colours interacting as equals participating in the same rituals, displaying a spirit of unity, led him to see Islam as a means by which racial problems could be overcome.

Fatima al-Fihri

Fatima Al-Fihri (800AD - 878AD) was a Muslim woman who is credited with founding the world's oldest existing university, Al-Qarawiyyin, in the Moroccan city of Fez! During her lifetime, Fatima was called the ‘Mother of Boys’, likely due to her charity and taking students under her wing.

Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi

Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi was a Persian polymath who specialised in various fields, most notably mathematics, astronomy and geography. Known as ‘the father of algebra’, he was the first to present mathematical solutions that are still used to this day, and without them many jobs (e.g., Engineer) and products (e.g., laptops) would not be as they are today!

Mesut Özil

Mesut Özil is a German professional footballer of Turkish descent. A talented playmaker, he faced controversy in 2019 when he criticised China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in East Turkestan and was removed from the Chinese versions of FIFA and PES. His team at the time, Arsenal, distanced themselves from the comments.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer and activist. Inspired by his spiritual and political mentor, Malcolm X, Ali became widely known and celebrated for his work outside the ring. As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Ali said: “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America”.

Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain is a British Bangladeshi chef, author and winner of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off. When she won the competition in 2015, she was a full-time mum of three. In her acceptance speech, she said: “I'm never gonna say I can’t do it. I'm never gonna say ‘maybe’. I'm never gonna say, ‘I don't think I can.’ I can and I will”. Since then, she has released several books and TV programmes, and has spoken about her experiences with anxiety.

Riz Ahmed

Riz Ahmed is a British actor, rapper, and activist. Ahmed is notable for his 2017 speech to the House of Commons, where he advocated promoting diversity and combatting negative representations of Muslims in TV and film. From this speech emerged the Riz Test, which raises awareness of the stereotypes of Islam and Muslims that have been constantly reproduced by the media in the years since 9/11 and the global ‘war on terror’.

Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib

Husayn ibn Ali, son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the third Imam for Shi’a Muslims. Husayn was martyred in the Battle of Karbala when he raised the standard of revolt against injustice. The life and death of Husayn is observed for his justice, courage, and devotion to save the Islamic nation in the face of tyranny and oppression.

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