Islamophobia Awareness Month ran during November 2022.
The theme this Islamophobia Awareness Month was tackling denial: tackling the denial that Islamophobia exists in Scotland and tackling the denial about the effect it can have on recipients of Islamophobic abuse.
I tried to encourage all my constituents during Islamophobia Awareness Month to speak out when they experienced abuse, or saw it being perpetrated.
By raising awareness that these problems exist, we can all support each other, encourage more victims to speak out and inform parliamentarians and law officials about what constituents are facing daily.
I know from an event I attended with the organisation MEND that many victims of Islamophobia feel unable to raise this issue with their MSPs, whether this be due to worry about the consequences, a lack of supportive access to MSPs or language barriers.
MEND can offer you support on these issues and help you to reach out to parliamentarians, so I would encourage those struggling to contact them here.
I was glad to see that Islamophobia Awareness Month also coincided with Interfaith Week.
Religious hatred and intolerance affects all and so I believe that religions should be working together to foster peaceful relations and end abuse such as Islamophobia and Antisemitism.
By working together and joining each others’ celebrations, we can learn more about our differences and be unified it our common aims of equality and peace.
It was also interesting to learn during Islamophobia Awareness Month that some Islamophobic attacks are carried out against those who aren’t Muslim.
For example, I heard of Sikh individuals who are victims of Islamophobic attack because the attackers mistake them for a Muslim.
These forms of Islamophobia also have a devastating effect on recipients of the abuse and we must develop more robust reporting and monitoring frameworks for hate crime so that these intricacies can be better understood and better support can be given to victims.
Islamophobia and other religious and racial hatred is a stain on our society that needs washing out urgently.
Foysol Choudhury MSP
Whilst this Islamophobia Awareness Month has brought many saddening factors to light about how far we have to go until we live in an Islamophobia free world, it has also highlighted the positive impact of how we can work together to provide each other with support and hopefully end religious intolerance and abuse once and for all.
If I could give everyone one takeaway this Islamophobia Awareness Month, it would be to speak out about Islamophobia, provide support for religious communities and work with all to create a better, more tolerant and peaceful world.