Wednesday 26 January 2020

Islamophobia is harmful prejudice that sadly has been shown to thrive in certain sections of the UK. Our communities have suffered directly from the impact of Islamophobia and our institution itself has faced numerous attacks from far-right groups and others. So we understand well the damaging and degrading nature of anti-Muslim hatred prevalent today.

The timely report published by the University of Birmingham, ‘The Dinner Table Prejudice: Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain’ , backed by YouGov data, is a stark reminder about the challenges faced, especially negative perceptions and hostility towards Muslims in the UK. The fact that “Muslims are the UK’s second ‘least liked’ group…” is a reminder that little has changed in the last two decades. There are still mainstream politicians and media commentators who downplay the seriousness of Islamophobia and its impact on Muslims, in part to mask their own prejudices.

It is distressing to learn from the report that “hostility towards religion in general is significantly associated with prejudice towards Islamic belief”. Misinformation disseminated through the media, distorted further by sensationalist headlines, has helped create a warped understanding of the faith of Islam. The East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre will continue to work hard to educate others about Islam’s true spirit, beliefs and practices.

A drive for real change must come from the top of our society – intellectually, structurally, politically and morally – to challenge prejudices that cause minority communities to continue to live in fear of persecution. It is time for real recognition of the harm caused by Islamophobia, and for meaningful action to confront it.


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