Islamophobia Awareness Month: How to get involved in the annual campaign

The awareness campaign is supported by the Mayor London and the Labour Party among others  (Levi Meird Clancy/Unsplash)
The awareness campaign is supported by the Mayor London and the Labour Party among others (Levi Meird Clancy/Unsplash)

Islamophobia Awareness Month has reached a decade of alerting people to prejudice against Muslims, and is calling for reform across policy and practice.

According to police statistics, Muslims – and those who are perceived as Muslim – face the highest amount of religious hate in England and Wales.

And the month is off to a costive start as this week it was reported that the Government has stopped work towards an official definition of religious prejudice against Muslims, although the Westminster interpretation of Islamophobia was promised more than three years ago.

So what is the work being done to combat this targeted discrimination?

What is Islamophobia Awareness Month?

The month of awareness was co-founded by the Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) team and Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development), which empower British Muslims to engage more actively with media and politics.

Now on its 10-year anniversary (#10yearson) the group is looking to tackle stereotypes, barriers between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, improve recognition of Islamophobia and develop a working definition of Islamophobia.

What is the theme for Islamophobia Awareness Month?

The theme for IAM 2022 is #tacklingdenial, with emphasis on Islamophobia both visible, such as verbal and physical attacks, and invisible, such as stereotyping, exclusion and marginalisation.

IAM said: “The denial of Islamophobia can be seen in many forms in both political and social spaces.

“If you allow people to deny the very existence of Islamophobia, how can we begin to have a sensible conversation about it and therefore tackle this problem?

“Denial simply shuts down this conversation.”

What are MPs doing about Islamophobia?

MPs such as Labour leader Keir Starmer and Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, have voiced their support, as has the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Starmer responded to a tweet from shadow equalities minister Anneliese Dodds on the 28 per cent rise in Muslim-focused hate crimes in the last year.

He said: “We must all play our part in eradicating Islamophobia. My Labour Party is committed to tackling it in all its forms.”

Khan emphasised his “zero-tolerance approach to hate crimes” and support for communities in his message commemorating the month.

In 2018, the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims released a report with the following definition: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

This definition has been adopted by the Mayor of London, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Plaid Cymru and various London borough councils.

The Conservative government rejected this definition of Islamophobia, and began its slow progress towards its own definition in 2019.

The Muslim Council of Britain and Mend, which began the hashtag #AdoptTheDefinition, have supported the statement, and many other Muslim-led organisations are onboard.

A report from Mend said: “By conceptualising Islamophobia as ‘a type of racism’, we come to understand that Muslims are victims of more than just overt expressions of religious hatred and abuse but are subject to a system of discrimination, control and socio-economic exclusion.

“In this way, the APPG definition is capable of capturing all the different forms of Islamophobia that may otherwise go unnoticed.”

How to get involved

The IAM website offers users options to join as official supporters of the campaign, space to advertise their own events and resources, and an IAM official exhibition to host their own awareness campaigns.

Campaigners and allies can attend events and follow @IslamophobiaAM on social platforms to get involved.