Above: ODARA will always provide a space where you can relax and feel supported.
At ODARA, we pride ourselves on being a space where women can relax, talk to a friendly face and – above all – feel safe.
Every woman deserves a sanctuary from the realities of life, especially in this day and age. Over the past few weeks, the dress choices of Muslim women have become a topic of national discussion and sadly some of the public have taken this as an opportunity to voice Islamophobic comments. In light of this, we want to offer a quick refresher on reporting Islamophobia, especially if you experience it when a supportive environment like ODARA isn’t in reach.
Racist and discriminatory remarks and actions make us feel awful, and we often don’t want to risk re-living the experience by telling someone about it. But while it may be hard to broach, there are effective and safe ways of reporting Islamophobia.
Tell MAMA is an independent charity that monitors anti-Muslim hate crime incidents across England. Reporting to them is important and will help contribute to anti-Islamophobia efforts across the country, but they are not a replacement for the Police – in an emergency, call 999. Tell MAMA not only provide support services to victims, they also work with the police to help secure convictions and with the UK Government to shape public policy relating to hate crime.
“Tell MAMA are a key partner in our work to address anti-Muslim hatred,” Rt Hon. Amber Rudd MP, former Home Secretary, recently said. “They have developed initiatives to improve the reporting of anti-Muslim hatred, provided training for those who support victims and produced reports on the drivers and impact of anti-Muslim hatred, that have helped to inform Government policy.” Reporting hate crime, to both the police and Tell MAMA will help to tackle this issue head-on.
With the help of Tell Mama, we’re going to run through some examples of Islamophobia before giving you advice on reporting it. Examples include…
Over the past few years, there has also been a drive to call out microaggressions – subtler forms of discrimination that occur in everyday life. This could be someone making an off-colour comment at work or school, or a show of ignorance from a member of the public.
Often the perpetrator of a microaggression believes what they said or did was completely fine, so sometimes a straightforward “That’s not OK” can ensure it doesn’t happen again. If you don’t feel confident calling it out yourself, then be sure to report it to HR, a teacher or another relevant authority. Let us know here at ODARA too; we always provide a sympathetic and non-judgemental ear, so you’re always free to chat with us. We can help you get professional counselling too if that’s what you require.
For the examples listed in the bullet points, you should consider the space in which the Islamophobic incident happened and then take the appropriate course of action – even it that simply means confiding in friends and family.
But if you can, report it in a way that will work to sanction the person who did it. Whether that’s HR in a work situation, a teacher or head of department if you’re at school or university or – for the more serious acts – the police.
And if you’re not sure, ODARA will always listen to your story and help you with your concerns. Then we can support you in taking the right action.
Tell MAMA works to end Islamophobia in the UK. You can always report any incidents directly to them:
Happy World Hijab Day! Now in its sixth year and bigger than ever, World Hijab Day (WHD) is an annual event marked on 1 February…