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MEND Statement: Muslims facing abuse following bombing in Liverpool

MEND Statement: Muslims facing abuse following bombing in Liverpool

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday November 16 2021

Following the horrific bombing outside a maternity ward in Liverpool on Sunday 14th November 2021, MP for Liverpool Riverside, Kim Johnson, has warned against the abuse being directed at local Muslim communities.

Despite the suspect reportedly being a Christian convert, this has not prevented the promotion of hatred and scrutiny of Muslim communities, including by former minister Kim Howells, who in a discussion about the bombing with LBC yesterday blamed Muslim communities for being “highly secretive”, not engaging with police, and allowing terrorists to go undetected.

Muslims were the victims of 45% of all religiously motivated hate crime in 2020-2021, the highest rate of any religious group. Meanwhile, data confirms that racially and religiously motivated hate crime offences spike following terror incidents, such as those witnessed on Sunday. As such, Howell’s comments serve only to unfairly criminalise entire communities and legitimise the abuse that they face.

November is Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) and is designed to highlight the prejudices, discrimination, and harassment that Muslims often face.  The campaign, held every November, aims to work with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC), local councils, journalists, local media outlets, councillors, local MPs, mosques, universities, schools, community organisations, and others to raise awareness of the threat of Islamophobia and encourage better reporting of incidents to the police.

Meanwhile, despite its adoption by major Muslim organisations and all other major political parties, the Government continues to refuse to adopt the definition of Islamophobia proposed by the APPG on British Muslims: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. Accepting the definition is the first step in recognising Islamophobia in all its public, structural, and institutional forms, and therefore is central to forming a strategy to address it.

The abuse being directed at Liverpool’s Muslims is an example of the way that Muslims have been increasingly racialised and stereotyped over recent decades. Assumptions and assigning blame for such atrocities to Muslims before the facts are known is not uncommon and it is important that public figures show maturity and recognise the impacts of their statements.

As we enter the final weeks of Islamophobia Awareness Month, parliamentarians and other public figures must come together to support the principles of IAM and commit to tackling Islamophobia in all its forms, including through adopting the APPG definition of Islamophobia as the first step in recognising the barriers to Muslims’ equal enjoyment of freedoms and opportunities.

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