Sometimes I find myself becoming myopic and feeling that hate crimes are really just a major American problem, that somehow they aren’t common in other countries or cultures, or that somehow they are all racist or homophobic in nature. That’s why I’m happy to have stumbled across the JAN Trust, whose bloggers are calling attention to Islamophobic hate crimes in Britain. Here in the U.S., New York City Comptroller John Liu recently came out in protest against an Islamophobic hate crime attack against a mosque in Queens. Islamophobia is rampant in many parts of the world, including both the U.S. and Britain, and there is still a great deal of ignorance about the religion of Islam and societies where Islam is central to the culture. JAN Trust helps tackle the issue in this great blog from last week. The trust is a non-profit based in London, England, which works with women and youth and helps to work against social problems, including racism and Islamophobia.
Through our work at JAN Trust we have dealt with many Muslim women over the twenty years who have suffered from Islamophobia. It has included verbal and physical abuse, their children being bullied and damage to their property.
The portrayal of Muslims and Islam in wide parts of the media is likely to be a contributing factor. An increasing awareness of the presence and actions of British Muslims, as a consequence of the 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks, have resulted in sensationalised scaremongering headlines such as “1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam and 40% want Sharia law” (Daily Mail, December 22nd, 2010) or “Muslim Schools Ban Our Culture” (Daily Express, February 20th, 2009). The religious preference of those involved often has no relevance to the crime or issue being reported. Furthermore, an article in the Independent exposed “The shameful Islamophobia at the heart of Britain’s…
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