TELL MAMA would firstly like to thank Calderdale Council for co-ordinating a community focussed event today which brought together local residents, taxi drivers, police officers and statutory providers to reflect on and discuss Islamophobic hate incident and crime reporting. Key speakers included the Leader of Calderdale Council (Councillor Tim Swift), the Director of Communities (Robin Tuddenham), Cllr Jenny Lynn of Calderdale Council, Henri Murison (Research Director of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire), Fiyaz Mughal OBE (Director of Faith Matters & the TELL MAMA project), Rev. Hilary Barber (Halifax Minster), Martin Petto (Department for Communities & Local Government) and Amjid Mahmood of the Calderdale Council of Mosques.
Calderdale Council has developed a strong interfaith network that came together and issued statements of calm after the murder of drummer Lee Rigby. Speakers talked about the language that was used in Islamophobic hate incidents, the targeting of visible Muslim females, Islamophobic hate incidents/crimes against taxi drivers and ways that they could be reported in. Attendees also heard a heart-warming set of experiences from an elderly non-Muslim resident who thanked local taxi drivers who were predominantly of Pakistani heritage. Without them she said, she could not be mobile and she expressed her heartfelt thanks for the courtesy that they always showed her.
Further community questions and statements were raised about the plethora of anti-Muslim prejudice on-line and with one non-Muslim attendee highlighting the ‘pack nature’ demonstrated by hate perpetrators on-line and the flood of abuse sometimes targeted towards people which led to mental and emotional traumas and severe distress for victims. More work, it was highlighted, was needed to bring perpetrators to justice for promoting on-line hate.
The TELL MAMA team is proud of the dynamism, focus and drive of Calderdale Council who have the support of their local communities. We hope to develop good practice at the local level to counter Islamophobia and which may be replicated in other areas in the UK. We also want to thank the newly formed Calderdale Council of Mosques who pledged their support for TELL MAMA and who had already started to promote the service to congregations at Friday (Juma’a) prayers.