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#IAMBristol 2017: A City Against Islamophobia

#IAMBristol 2017: A City Against Islamophobia

Categories: Past Event Articles

Friday May 25 2018

For those who aren’t aware, IAM stands for Islamophobia Awareness Month, which is November! #IAMBristol was the first and biggest city-wide campaign in Bristol to stand against Islamophobia; hence IAMBristol. This name also means I am Bristol – this city is mine, as a Muslim, as much as it is yours. A city for people to live together in peace without the company of bigotry and hatred. The campaign was student led that was guided and supported by MEND. It involved students at the University of Bristol, those at University of West England (UWE) and the city of Bristol and their community initiatives, such as Bristol Muslim Cultural Society (BMCS)  and Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI).

Why do we need IAMBristol?

The BME Network and the Universities Islamic Societies are leading the campaign to stamp out Islamophobia. We’re not here to make you like Islam or agree with our religion – you’re not getting converted, don’t worry. Islamophobia is so much more than just religious hatred or prejudicial comments like ‘how awful that your religion oppresses women’ or ‘why does the Qur’an encourage violence?’ Have these people read and studied the Qur’an? No. Is IAM about reading and studying the Qur’an? No. These ignorant comments, as annoying as they are, are part of a bigger institutionalised problem of discrimination, based on religion, which is racialised. If the problem ended with ignorant comments and questions, Islamophobia would be like a first-year exam- though it still hurts, it doesn’t amount to much.

However, when you have differential treatment of people perceived as Muslims on a mass scale, policies calling for the racial profiling of Muslims, the media demonising Muslims every day, you have a bigger problem that has very tangible effects. It can do as much as curtail your freedom of expression and thought to hold you back in the workplace and effect your employment opportunities. Being Muslim, this is obviously something I feel passionately about. But, being human, the dehumanisation of a group of people is something we should all feel passionately about.

The events included

-Reporting and Islamophobia resilience training

-NUS students not suspects

-What is Islamophobia: the UK counter-terrorism matrix

-What is PREVENT?

-Islamophobia conference

-Freesia (2017) – Film screening

Almas Talib, BME Network of University of Bristol Student Union 

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