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Jeremy Corbyn launches Islamophobia Awareness Month 2017 in Parliament with MEND

Jeremy Corbyn launches Islamophobia Awareness Month 2017 in Parliament with MEND

Categories: Latest News

Friday November 03 2017

MEND launched Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) 2017 at a packed Boothroyd Room in Parliament on Wednesday night.

An array of speakers and organisations lined up to support the event hosted by Stephen Kinnock MP, including MPs, NUS, Byline Media, Spinwatch and Hacked Off.

The evening started with a discussion of the controversy surrounding the event that had led to several MPs pulling out. Stephen Kinnock tackled this head on by disclosing that he had come under immense criticism and pressure to withdraw also but had decided to continue since he believed in the good work that MEND were undertaking.

Wes Streeting echoed his colleague’s experience but added that he had stood firm due to the importance of stamping out anti-Muslim hatred in our society. He added that some of the criticism MEND had faced had been unfair and bizarre citing the fact that MEND had held hustings at the time of the general elections and fringe meetings at Party conferences as “good practice”.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the appearance of Jeremy Corbyn, who said he had spoken to a number of Muslim women about their experiences of Islamophobic hate crime and how it had affected them. He called for a unified approach, adding “an attack on one is an attack on us all”. He invited MEND to work with the Labour Party on their ‘Race and faith’ manifesto launched earlier this year.

Naz Shah MP, Afzal Khan MP and Kate Green MP added their voices to the importance of MEND’s work.  Lord Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Peer spoke of his professional experiences of working as an Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police and commented that the phrase “Islamic terrorism” was a contradiction in terms.

We also had contributions from NUS President, Shakira Martin and NUS Women’s Officer Hareem Ghani about the impact of Islamophobia on students, with the latter adding that there was “a witch hunt against Muslim student activists and for that matter Muslim organisations as a whole”.

Other speakers included Hashi Mohammed, Barrister, as the representative to Max Hill QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism, Dr Rimla Akhtar, MBE, Chair of the Muslim Womens Sports Foundation, Professor David Miller from Spinwatch, Reverend Steven Saxby, and Dr Evan Harris from Hacked Off.

Professor David Miller from Spinwatch said it was important to consider the political agenda, including the role of the State and foreign policy, when understanding the causes of Islamophobia.

Dr Shazad Amin, CEO of MEND talked about different types of Islamophobia, including Professional Islamophobia. He explained the ‘double-bind’ that Muslims are often faced with, with on one the hand being called isolationist and unwilling to integrate, but when they tried to become politically active they were vilified by being labelled as ‘extremists’ and ‘Islamists’.

Sufyan Ismail, MEND’s founder, commented on the Policy Pledges that Mend had created as the foundation of their work in tackling Islamophobia.

Peter Jukes from Byline Media provided the quote of the night by stating that in his experience, “When the Sun say something is right it is usually wrong, and when the Henry Jackson Society say something is wrong it is usually right.”

Stephen Kinnock officially closed the meeting and thanked all the speakers and attendees.

IAM occurs every November and is spearheaded by MEND in conjunction with a number of delivery partners, including the police, local councils, schools, universities, mosques and others. The idea is to raise awareness of Islamophobic hate crime and discrimination end encourage reporting of incidents to the police.

This year there are over 60 events planned nationally, including numerous displays of MEND’s Islamophobia Exhibition, which is designed to educate the public about Islam in general, and showcase positive contributions to society that British Muslims have made. Other events include:

  • Screening of the award winning film ‘Freesia’ in Cardiff and Ilford;
  • A conference entitled ‘Islamophobia – Don’t hate what you don’t understand’ in Bradford;
  • Meeting in Birmingham: Trojan Horse – the facts;
  • Islamophobia Panel event at Manchester Cathedral.

Details of these events and others near you are available here.

  • Joseph O’Neill

    Marvellous to learn of your group, MEND.
    I learnt about your group after reading an attack by the notorious islamophobe, Douglas Murray, who is associated with the disreputable HJS.
    If Murray is against you, I know you must be doing good work!
    Yours in solidarity.

    • Irfan

      True… well said

    • CMFG

      Knowing full well Douglas Murray would dismantle your brittle arguments and make you eat them within 5 minutes I presume you are a MEND stooge masquarading as a commentator. I notice also that after the forensic expose’ of MEND in the recent Henry Jackson Society Report the HJS are now ‘disreputable’. How interesting.

      • Joseph O’Neill

        In February 2006, Murray expressed his bigoted views on Islam and Muslims in Europe.

        “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.”
        Not very islamophilic.

    • T.E. Dewan

      To dismiss Douglas Murray as someone suffering an irrational mental illness and a fake ‘phobia’ is disingenuous to say the least. There’s no evidence that Douglas Murray is a bigot or hate-preacher. Instead, his critique of Islam is well-founded and well-considered. To misrepresent his critique on the threats to European civilisation that certain parts of Islamic doctrine and culture present–indeed, it would be lying to maintain that there are no such problems–as a “phobia”, and to use insulting ad hominem language, does no favour for MEND’s claim to be fighting anti-Muslim hatred or bigotry. No idea is above scrutiny, and no human being is beneath dignity. Sharpen up your act, folks, or you will lose traction in actually combating racism.

      • Joseph O’Neill

        Murray is a rabid islamophobe,
        and has identified what he sees as, “a creed of Islamic fascism—a
        malignant fundamentalism, woken from the dark ages to assault us here
        and now”…

        • CMFG

          If you dont recognise a a creed of Islamic fascism in our midst then there is no hope for you. You are part of the problem.

          • Joseph O’Neill

            All religions have extremist elements – but strange how some are never referred to the islamophobic “Prevent” program…

            Ms Priti Patel should certainly be referred for her extremist views, and her active collaboration with a barbaric Middle Eastern terrorist regime and a non-state terrorist group working closely together on militarily occupied land stolen from the Syrian people, to spread murder and mayhem.

            Some places of worship (non-Muslim) in the UK openly flaunt their support of terrorism against the Palestinian people. Why are they not referred to Prevent?

            Time for some genuine interfaith working in the UK to support the human rights of the suffering Palestinians.

          • CMFG

            Presumably, after your anti-semetic rant the ‘genuine interfaith working’ you advocate would exclude Jewish people. You are aware of your hypocrisy I guess.
            Additionally, If you reject the Prevent program you are certainly comparable to MEND – the suit and tie Jihadis masquerading as Democrats. Have a nice weekend.

          • Joseph O’Neill

            Genuine interfaith includes all religions, and includes the major moral issues of our era – the suffering Palestinians, and the key domestic interfaith issue for the UK – the rampant informal and institutional islamophobia – the latter expemlified by the discredited “Prevent” program, and the UK’s continuing Muslim-killing wars.

            I work closely with the moderate UK Jewish community, and admire groups like Rabbis for Human Rights, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

          • CMFG

            Presumably then, if you are so informed and in touch with the moderate UK Jewish community you see MEND for what they are – suit and tie Jihadis who are absolutely NOT democratic in their intentions and certainly not part of the moderate UK Muslim community. I think you are more than showing your blind spot now.

          • Joseph O’Neill

            I am afraid you are poorly informed.
            Do not believe the hasbara propaganda from the sinister 8200 unit deep in the black heart of the barbaric apartheid Middle Eastern regime oppressing the Christian and Muslim Palestinians.

  • Annie Bulmer

    Mr Corbyn why don’t you sort out anti Semitism first? This should be easier since you know most of the people. Whoops you can’t do that – it would be Islamophobia.

    • Joseph O’Neill

      JC consistently supports Palestine, along with Jews for Justice for Palestinians. A great example of genuine interfaith in action.

      • Annie Bulmer

        We know Jesus Christ supports Palestine – he was born there. Just one of the many Jews to occupy Palestine!

        • Joseph O’Neill

          Both JC’s want peace and justice for all in the Holy Land. Let us hope and pray their wish will be granted – but they need our active help.

  • T.E. Dewan

    I feel strongly that we not continue to use the misnomer “Islamophobia” when in fact, it is “anti-Muslim bigotry/hate” that is the true problem. Islam is not a race; it is a doctrine which an honest reading of the Koran makes abundantly clear includes a great many vile tenets which has no place in modern society. To put Islam itself beyond criticism, claiming that critics suffer a mental illness with the suffix “phobia”, is deeply insulting to Freethinkers as well as reformist Muslims. It is also counter-productive, in that the term offers a special protection that many proponents of Islamic doctrine seek to insulate Islam from criticism. This can then lead to the very sort of anti-Muslim bigotry that MEND claims to be against. As a passionate anti-racist, I implore MEND to reject use of this troublesome term, for it only inflames the fires that will burn us all in the end.

    • Joseph O’Neill

      If you are anti-religious you can also find lots of violence in the Old Testament…

      As a passionate ant-racist, I abhor the genocide of the Christian and Muslim Palestinians, as does the International Community, the UN.

  • Joseph O’Neill

    Islamophobia and anti-Catholicism are the two main religious sectarian problems of the UK.

    Baroness Warsi, the Tory, has written a whole book about islamophobia this year.

    The Annual Festival of Hate on the 12th July , with over 2000 KKK style marches by the sectarian Orange Order continues , as does the sectarian march on Novemebr 5th in Lewes, sussex, where an effigy of the pope is burnt.

    Internationally, the genocide of the Palestinians (Christian and Muslim) is the major moral issue of our era.


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