Friday, 11 June 2010

Turning tide on Islamophobia

This statement on Islamophobia was adopted by the Stop Islamophobia: Defend the Muslim Community Conference held on Saturday 5 June 2010 at Camden Cenre, London:

'There is a rising tide of prejudice against Muslims. In many parts of Europe there are calls to ban the building of mosques, to prevent women wearing veils or scarves, and generally to treat Muslims and their religion or culture as uniquely reactionary and anti-Western. Far right and fascist parties increasingly put anti Muslim racism at the centre of their campaigning.

In Britain we are also seeing a growth in Islamophobia, from daily media prejudice and distortion to the increasing mobilisation of the racist English Defence League. This increase in attacks on the Muslim community comes from a number of sources. The UK has introduced policies that target Muslims. Young Muslims are subject to surveillance at school or college, when attending prayer rooms and mosques. There is a growing debate about banning the burka, a garment worn by only a tiny minority of Muslim women.

The continued justification of the "war on terror" involves treating Muslims as potential ‘extremists’ or ‘terrorists’, and these wars as somehow representing a clash of civilisations between the west and Islam. There have been serious attacks on civil liberties which have hit Muslims particularly hard. The stereotyping and prejudice against Muslims in the media only contributes to Islamophobia.

This racism should be unacceptable throughout society, not repeated by politicians and used to whip up prejudice. We should note that it resembles the growth in anti-Semitism in Germany, which began with restrictions on Jewish life and culture and ended with the Holocaust.

We are committed to campaigning against Islamophobia and in defence of the Muslim community. We reject the stereotypes and believe that Muslims have the right to practice their religion and dress how they wish. We also reject the government's attempts to criminalise sections of the Muslim community. We believe that everyone who wants equality and opposes racism should do everything they can to stand shoulder to shoulder with that community.'

See Fourman Films for further videos of speeches at the conference.


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