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Communities across the country came together in solidarity against ‘Punish a Muslim Day’

Communities across the country came together in solidarity against ‘Punish a Muslim Day’

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday April 04 2018

Yesterday, the 3rd of April 2018, was supposed to be a terrifying day in which hate crimes would be inflicted on British Muslims. However, it became a day of beautiful community solidarity against Islamophobia.

In a vile letter sent to various addresses last month a game was set out in which a person would gain an increasing number of points for committing increasingly horrific atrocities against a Muslim, such as torturing someone for 250 points and bombing a mosque for 1000 points.

However, the idea was brilliantly turned on its head and the day was transformed into ‘Love a Muslim Day’. A day of solidarity with fellow Muslims, a day of celebration of fellow Muslims and a day of denunciation of flagrant Islamophobia present in our society.

The idea of ‘Love a Muslim day’, originally propagated by MEND’s Yorkshire and Humber Regional Manager Mr Shahab Adris, was supported by a number of communities across the country resulting in a number of beautiful events in support of British Muslims.

The Bradford working group of MEND held an event, organised by Ms Hiba Mukhtar and Mr Adris, that included entertainment, delicious good and inspiring speeches.

Ms Mukhtar said: “Our intention was to change the negativity the letters were trying to incite by being positive and we wanted to bring the community together to show we care”.

Mr Adris also said: “We wanted to turn the aim of the horrible letters on its head and hold a day to love Muslims and appreciate the Muslims in Bradford and Yorkshire”.

Mr Moseem Suleman held another MEND event in Cardiff, called “Cardiff Together: One Love”. The event was co-hosted with the Muslim Council of Wales and supported by a number of other faith groups.

Mr Suleman said: “…it became a day my young children were afraid of. They had heard bad things might happen to them. It is all they could talk about on their way home from school and it made me so sad…I did not want them to remember this day of fear…I wanted them to have happy memories. And because of this event, now they do”.

Mr Ali Abdi, a local community activist and an attendee of ‘Cardiff Together: One Love’ said: “This area has fabulous cohesion and a great history of it…in the face of division and hatred, as a community we carry on…no one is born to hate another person. People are taught it, and anything that is taught can also be untaught”.

Ms Zenab Siddique, who hosted another MEND event in Leeds, said: “We’re all one community. We need to just come together and stand in solidarity against such horrible acts…Leeds is a multi-cultural city. There’s a lot of diversity and there’s a lot of support and love. Obviously today is a reflection of that”.

Among those who attended were Mr Alex Sobel, MP and Councillor Mr Javaid Akhtar.

In Newcastle, nearly 100 members of Citizens UK joined together to form a human chain around Newcastle Central Mosque in a stand against Islamophobia.

Stand Up to Racism held a number of events, in collaboration with “Muslim groups, mosques and other faith and community groups” to stand up against Islamophobia, including in: Birmingham, Cambridge, Leicester, Manchester, London, Oxford and Sheffield.

It is important to remember that whilst the threatened wave of attacks did not materialise and the 3rd of April has passed, the threat of Islamophobia and religiously and racially aggravated assault is still very real and just as significant to the British Muslim population for the other 364 days of the year as well.

Police forces across England and Wales reported 68,634 racially and religiously aggravated assaults, an increase of nearly 30% from the previous year (53,819). Numbers released by the Mayor of London’s Office showed a 40% rise of Islamophobic hate crimes in London.

As such, we must continue to strive for the promotion of community cohesion and continue to address Islamophobia in all of its form; whether that be as flagrant as the letter from last month, or be more subtle such as the negative portrayal of Muslims in the media.






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