#IAM2020 Lewisham Islamophobia Conference
Categories: Past Event Articles
Wednesday November 11 2020
After a warm welcome and introduction by Imam Shakeel, the floor was open to brother Moustapha Bechir who spoke to the audience about MEND and the objectives which MEND aims to achieve. The audience found the facts about islamophobia very shocking to hear. It was great to hear about how MEND tackles the issue of islamophobia and exactly how each and every Muslim can play a direct role in this important endeavour. The listeners were directed to mend.org.uk/volunteer for an easy way to start contributing with whatever little or great time they could offer; as well as get access to a wealth of information at their fingertips by downloading the MEND application.
“Islamophobia awareness is not just for one month, but it is the constant engagement of Muslims with wider society to educate people about what true Islam is as well as remove the negative image of Islam portrayed by the press and media”, said Cllr Tauseef our second speaker of the day. His opening statement spoke volumes and set the tone for him later educating the audience about the experiences of Muslims in the grapple with islamophobia. He also shed some light on the contribution of non-Muslims and their support, describing them as the ‘Najashis’ of our community. Some eye-opening facts, such as 54% of the British people believing that Islam is a threat to their British way of life, were shared and this served to really bring the issue into focus which is the first step towards achieving a solution.
Umay from the IRU was third to speak. We heard her tell the audience about what the IRU is and how it offers support to Muslims. She was able to give the audience a great sense of the scope of the kind of cases she and her very committed team deal with.
The audience learned about the finer details of case preparations and reporting, such as the importance of securing evidence very quickly after an incident. She articulated the solutions and success stories the IRU have been able to secure as well as giving guidance on how victims of Islamophobia can also contact the Islamophobia Response Unit online. The relevancy and significance of the role of IRU in the lives of many Muslims was felt as Umay said in closing “recently, we have had 6 educational cases where Muslims have not been given the right to pray freely during school hours” – a fundamental part of the faith of every British Muslim.
Conclusions: ‘they say that the best part of a conference is the Q&A’ this indeed can be said about the Lewisham Islamophobia Awareness Conference. We will not give away too much because we want you all to watch this yourself here: https://youtu.be/s5-ehPcs2-g … however, we will briefly say that a very insightful question and answer session ensued which allowed the speakers to address a lot of the communities’ questions. The Q&A was very rich and interesting and there were many takeaways for the audience.
Thanks for reading.
MEND – South London