On Friday 23rd October 2020, MEND North West was invited to Rochdale Islamic Academy- Girls Division to deliver an Islamophobia workshop to their Year 9 students.
As part of the work the year group had been doing on racism, MEND came to speak to the students about Islamophobia. During the session, we introduced the students to the term as it was one they had heard, but weren’t necessarily familiar with what it actually meant in its comprehensive sense. We discussed the APPG’s definition before breaking it down to think about why specific terms had been used in it. The students engaged brilliantly with this section and were able to bring in their previous knowledge about racism into the conversation.
We then went through the stats around hate crime and how Islamophobia can manifest itself. We spoke about discrimination, especially institutional biases that persist due to the perception of Muslims in the UK. The students were shocked to find out that only 5% of the UK is Muslim and more than half of all religiously-aggravated hate crimes are targeted towards them.
Having looked through the way the media reports on Muslims, legislation around race and religion, and the difficulties when it comes to participation in media and politics, we then closed up our discussion with how we, as individuals and as a community, can work towards making the changes required to decrease the barriers currently facing Muslims and, ultimately, tackling Islamophobia.