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Islamophobia: The realities of lived experience in Scotland

Islamophobia: The realities of lived experience in Scotland

Categories: Past Event Articles

Thursday July 08 2021

The full report for the first public enquiry on Islamophobia in Scotland was launched by Scotland Labour leader Anas Sarwar at an event last week. The report came about from the Scottish Governments Cross Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia.

At the launch attended by Scotland regional manager and Scotland’s Chair, speakers including Zara Mohammad of Muslim Council Britain and Omar Afzal of Muslim Council Scotland spoke of the realities of Islamophobia in Scotland.

The report highlighted the staggering levels of Islamophobia in Scotland. With 83.4% of all Scottish Muslims saying they had experienced Islamophobia and 60.5% of Muslims stating that they had altered their behaviour due to Islamophobia. These findings especially in a country that prides its self on being open, welcoming and accepting of all are far from expectable.

The report showed, “Almost four-fifths of respondents were fearful of experiencing Islamophobia and this had real consequences for how they lived their lives”.

“Islamophobia permeates all domains of Scottish society; it is not only restricted to one context. It threatens education, limits employment prospects, and impacts everyday issues including health, wellbeing and housing”.

But what can be done? The report its self contains 45 recommendations that need to be implemented to help tackle the issue. These included:

  • Work towards adopting a formal definition of Islamophobia to promote understanding, to encourage reporting and to indicate a commitment to addressing it.
  • Actively support initiatives to recruit more officers from within Scotland’s diverse communities, including Muslim officers, into Police Scotland.
  • Require all local authorities, schools, and Police Scotland to ensure all officers are provided with high-quality training on countering Islamophobia.
  • Fund and support organisations and initiatives that promote social cohesion and integration.

Anas Sarwar in speaking at and after the launch highlighted the need for education at all levels. He also stated that this was not the end, that he would be writing to Scotland’s First Minister with the recommendations and that he would be undertaking an annual review to mark and ensure progress on the recommendations.

Following the launch, several members of the MEND team spoke to BBC Scotland and STV about their personal lived experiences of Islamophobia.

Watch MEND working group member Sofia Akbar as she discussed lived experiences with STV news: https://twitter.com/mendcommunity/status/1412831694944673795?s=21

Watched MEND’s Scotland Regional Manager Linsay Taylor as she talks about her lived experiences with The Nine: https://twitter.com/mendcommunity/status/1410910900954013698?s=21

Watch Anas Sarwar discuss the report with BBC Scotland: https://www.facebook.com/1433739670223532/videos/2622131701416564

To read the full report: https://anassarwar.co.uk/islamophobia-public-inquiry/

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