The Times attacking efforts to tackle Islamophobia
Categories: Latest News
Thursday March 22 2018
A recent article in The Times by Mr Dominic Kennedy sought to attack and defame the work of Islamophobia Awareness Month and its critical importance in tackling the rising problem of anti-Muslim rhetoric, discrimination and violence.
In the article, Mr Kennedy mentions Mr Jeremy Corbyn and other parliamentarians as having attended IAM’s 2017 parliamentary launch however fails to mention NUS President Ms Shakira Martin, NUS Women’s Officer Ms Hareem Ghani, Special Advisor to Max Hill QC (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism) Mr Hashi Mohammed, Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation Dr Rimla Akhtar, Dr Evan Harris from Hacked Off and Reverend Steven Saxby who were all also present at the launch.
Indeed, the month-long campaign aims at working with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC), local councils, journalists, local media, MPs and a host of local community members to raise awareness on the scourge of Islamophobia, and over the years it has gained increasing attention and praises by many segments of British society.
The events of IAM 2017 ranged from ‘Reporting and Resilience Workshops’, a celebration of ‘Women Leaders’ and events on ‘Challenge Islamophobia’ as well as many others.
It is important to note that Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) is like Black History Month, Holocaust Memorial Day and the Gay Pride March in the sense that it is not owned by any single organisation or individual. As a result, no organisation, including MEND, has overarching responsibility for each and every aspect of the month.
Mr Kennedy’s article is seemingly motivated by the Henry Jackson Society’s (HJS) new report on MEND, titled: ‘Profiting From Prejudice: How MEND’s ‘IAM’ Campaign Legitimised Extremism’.
It should also be noted that HJS is an integral part of the Islamophobia Network in the UK and is known for entertaining links to far-right, Islamophobic organisations in the USA and has supported anti-Muslim speakers who have been banned from entering the UK.
The think-tank Spinwatch produced a report in 2015 describing HJS as having “joined the ranks of the transatlantic Islamophobia network”.
Additionally, one of the founders of HJS, Mr Matthew Jamison has said the organisation is “a far-right, deeply anti-Muslim racist organisation, run in the most dictatorial, corrupt and undemocratic fashion and utilized as a propaganda outfit to smear other cultures, religions and ethnic groups”.
The HJS has also been forced to resign from two parliamentary All-Parliamentary Party Groups (the Homeland Security and Transatlantic Relations APPGs) due to the lack of transparency over their donors.
For a neo-conservative, corrupt and anti-Islamic organisation such as HJS to discredit the important work that is being done by legitimate British Muslim organisations in combating Islamophobia serves only to foster and maintain an environment in which Islamophobic hate-speech and hate-crime thrive unabated.
MEND remains undeterred by Mr Kennedy’s and HJS’ attack and is proud of the part it continues to play to ensure that IAM raises awareness of the problem of Islamophobia in our society and empowers British Muslims in addressing and reporting Islamophobia in all of its forms.