The next few days or even weeks may bring together parties from various political positions into what could be a coalition or a minority Government, or even a loose agreement which votes issue by issue.
Whatever the outcome, we call out to the future Government to seriously look at the issue of anti-Muslim hatred and set in motion a sustained package of support that can help to tackle this issue. Yet, we also have to be honest and say that there is much division, ideological differences and dare we say, marginalisation of groups that do this work at various levels.
Some of this marginalisation is within some sections of Muslim communities who hobble the work of organisations simply for being ‘too liberal,’ or for helping Ahmaddiyas or for standing against LGBT hate that some receive. Yet some of the marginalisation is by groups whose message is that the United Kingdom is so bad and the British public so Islamophobic, that the lot of Muslims is to be consistent victims. We firmly reject and abhor such tactics and rhetoric which does nothing but places into the minds of people an existence that can only be regarded as melancholic and passive in nature, as though they live their lives in a state of internalised mania. This is neither healthy for them, nor for our country.
We are not going to be like some other groups who want to ‘play up’ or overstate what they call Islamophobia, yet the issue of anti-Muslim hatred does not need statements that make out that it is worse than other forms of hate. The impacts on all victims of hate crimes are unique and what is specifically unique about anti-Muslim hatred is the fact that the one thing which unites fractious far right groups across the US and Europe is anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Sadly, this is certainly unique to anti-Muslim hatred.
So we do not need to exaggerate on what are the facts which we have systematically laid out for 3 years; that anti-Muslim hatred is an issue and continues to be an issue, though it should be systematically tackled with other strands of hate.
We have also repeatedly mentioned that Muslims are not looking for special treatment because of anti-Muslim hatred. They simply want to be able to know that they can get justice, much like any other victim and that their complaints are handled seriously and with care.
We must also acknowledge the fact that TELL MAMA was started with support from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). As an independent project, the Department did not pressurise us nor influence us, yet it sought to ensure that together, we could build the first national recording mechanism on anti-Muslim hatred, much like the Community Security Trust, (even though the CST was created with financial support and vision from within Jewish communities). We commend the Department and Ministers in DCLG who believed that this work was important and who stuck to that principle.
However, work on tackling anti-Muslim hatred is bigger than one individual or a Department. It needs to be sustained, developed and given stability over time. Which is why we are calling on any future Government to take the position of long term support for this work and in ensuring that just as any other hate crime strand, anti-Muslim hatred is publicly and politically acknowledged, resourced and supported, as long as the work is professional and well developed.
So as voters go to the poll tomorrow, we know that the British public will vote with their heads and their hearts for what they believe is right for the nation. They will also carry with them some key qualities and principles which we believe are based on freedom, fairness and justice. All three of these qualities are fundamental to ensuring that victims of crime can rehabilitate themselves and get through some of the most traumatic of times. We see no difference for victims of anti-Muslim hatred and that is why this country leads the way in being fair to all citizens. The British people know intrinsically when something is not right and anti-Muslim hatred and bigotry certainly fits into that category.
So today on May 7th let us say that, “together we can make that difference – together we can push back those who seek to divide communities, create intolerance and harbour bigotry that do our country a great dis-service”.