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Loughborough MEND Webinar on: ”Islamophobia -what does it mean to you?”

Loughborough MEND Webinar on: ”Islamophobia -what does it mean to you?”

Categories:Past Event Articles

Tuesday February 02 2021

”Islamophobia -what does it mean to you?”

This aptly named event brought IAM 2020 to a close and, despite behind the scenes efforts of a fairly novice team, provided a nuanced and meaningful addition to the preceding events.

With an intention to raise awareness of Islamophobia locally and provide a platform for exploring ways to tackle this, MEND Loughborough, with Maillem Al-Rawi at the helm, hosted a panel of distinguished and experienced professionals, who shared thoughtful insights on the varying degrees and manifestations of Islamophobia within communities; both locally and nationally.

Zain al Abidin, an educator and active member of the community set the scene by sharing his experiences of the initiation of a social media account, which was set up a few years ago in response to an increasing number of incidents of Islamophobic nature. This account of events surprised some of the panelists, who later confessed of their ignorance on the matter and applauded the local community’s strength in responding to the threats in such a mature and coordinated manner.

The points raised by Zain were further strengthened by Colin Hamilton, who as a Councillor and deputy leader of the Labour group on the local council, spoke of the “constant, low-grade microaggressions” often experienced by people of the Muslim faith on a daily basis, and its’ detrimental impact on a community’s wellbeing. Colin further highlighted the discriminatory numbers of Islamophobic incidents against Muslim women in particular and emphasized the unacceptability of this unfortunate phenomenon, and the need to address this.

Both representatives from Loughborough University: Muslim faith chaplain Syeda Midhat Batool and Zidane Khan, student and president of the Islamic Society, described the relatively harmonious atmosphere enjoyed by the student community at the university. However, both also spoke of experiences within the wider context of the community, wherein youth faced discrimination, on some occasions as young as primary school age. Sister Midhat shared her conviction that hatred and ‘othering’ stems from a place of ignorance and thus raising awareness and building community cohesion are vital steps in the fight to tackle Islamophobia.

Lastly, PCC candidate and longstanding Labour Councillor Ross Willmott eloquently expressed his thoughts on the divisive and negative stereotyping, spreading of false information, and generalizing- practices that are very much in vogue in today’s political landscape and that contribute to building a narrative of hate and furthers discrimination against Muslim communities. Ross agreed with Midhat’s point that bringing about a change is only possible through challenging this narrative and addressing ignorance – and most importantly to do so in a consistent and sustained manner.

All in all, the event provided panelists and the audience alike with much information and food for thought- thank you again to all our panelists and attendees!

To view the full webinar please follow the link

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