What is Islamophobia?
In our reporting, Islamophobia includes when someone or something is targeted, discriminated against or excluded in any way, due to their/its actual or perceived Muslim identity. It also includes prejudice that promotes fear against Muslims and Islam.
To see further information about Islamophobia, see the 1997 Runnymede report – Islamophobia: A Challenge for us all
Islamophobia Awareness Month – November
Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) was co-founded by the MCB, with other British organisations in 2012 to challenge stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and highlight rises in anti-Muslim sentiment. Every year, in November, we raise awareness of the reality of Islamophobia, and how it blights the lives of Muslims in every day life.
Islamophobia is growing in the UK, with ongoing and regular scaremongering about Muslims from certain sections of the media and with anti-Muslim hatred becoming more socially acceptable, having “passed the dinner table test”. There is a real danger that such prejudice will further stoke up anti-Muslim hatred and provide the fodder for an already growing number of acts of violence against the Muslim community.
There have been in recent years, a rise in attacks against mosques, physical abuse against Muslims, anti-Muslim graffiti at a university, a rise in verbal abuse and hate mail, reports of Islamophobia in schools and continued online abuse against Muslims through social media.
This can be seen in our infographic (on the right), looking at hate crime statistics from 2016-2017. The data was collected through FOI requests by the Press Association to UK Police Forces, and the response from 42 out of 45 Police Forces. This is, notwithstanding, a lack of reporting on attacks, which makes it very difficult to grasp what the actual statistics are.
Further examples can be seen here: http://www.mcb.org.uk/rise-in-attacks-against-muslims-muslim-council-of-britain-calls-for-political-leadership-on-worrying-growth-in-islamophobia/ and here: http://www.mcb.org.uk/pm-apology-to-sulaiman-ghani/
Whilst the best way to defeat hatred is to build stronger bonds between communities, there needs to be a strategy to proactively tackle this divisive issue for our society at large and help reverse this trend in anti-Muslim prejudice. Britain can be proud of its record as a tolerant society and so can the Muslims for their continued positive contribution in that enrichment.
Key relevant statistics demonstrating attitudes towards Muslims
– View of the British public on Muslims shows a growth in Islamophobia and its social acceptance (1):
o Muslims make up 17% of the population(2), compared to the reality of 5%
o 37% admitted they would be more likely to support a policies to reduce the number of Muslims in Britain (3)
o 62% agreed that Britain would lose its identity if more Muslims came to live here (vs. 48% in 2003) (4)
o 80% of readers’ comments from a range of newspapers are critical or highly critical of Islam(5) and “the hateful way views are expressed against Muslims is notable(6)
o 55% would be bothered by the prospect of a mosque being built in their community(7)
o A quarter of Britons blame Muslims for the existence of Islamophobia(8)
o 33% agreed with the suggestion of UKIP leader Nigel Farage that ghettoes had sprung up in Britain where Sharia law prevailed and from which the police and other legal authorities had withdrawn(9)
o Almost 70 per cent think that Islam encourages repression of women(10)
o Only 3% consider that unfair treatment of Muslim workers by their employers is an urgent problem(11)
o Muslim men were 76% less likely to have a job of any kind compared to white, male British Christians of the same age and with the same qualifications (65% for Muslim women) (12)
o UKIP supporters believe Muslims in British society as 3rd most important issue facing the country (after immigration and economy); two thirds of UKIP supporters strongly disagree that Islam does not pose a threat to the West
1 Growth in Islamophobia is real and dangerous according by the renowned Dr Chris Hewer, who has worked in Christian-Muslim relations for 30 years and has taught 1000s of Muslims and Christians in that period.
2 Average of sample in YouGov, 12-13 January 2015.
3 YouGov, September 2012.
4 BSA National Survey, 2013.
5 “Readers’ Comments: What People Think of Islam – left, right and centre” by Islam Surveyed, February 2015.
6 “Anti-Muslim prejudice is real, and it’s scary”, Matthew Parris, Spectator, 21 March 2015.
7 BSA National Survey, 2008.
8 Comres poll on Britons, “Islamophobia and the Qur’an”, 2011.
9 YouGov, The Sunday Times, 15-16 January 2015.
10 YouGov, “Exploring Islam Foundation survey results”, May 2010.
11 YouGov, 25-26 February 2013.
12 The Independent, November 2014 reporting on research from Bristol University.