On the fourth anniversary of the white supremacist terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, which claimed the lives of 51 Muslims and on the first International Day to Combat Islamophobia, Tell MAMA Director Iman Atta has issued this statement.
Today marks the first International Day to Combat Islamophobia – a United Nations initiative that began in 2021, two years after a white supremacist terrorist murdered 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.
With any anniversary, we stop to honour and remember those lost and those living with injuries and traumas.
We also stop to reflect on how, in the spirit of mutuality, we, as individuals and groups, can change the conditions in society for the betterment of Muslims and other minorities.
For the UN Secretary-General António Guterres to “stamp out the poison of anti-Muslim hatred”, we must re-assert our common ground and our common humanity in opposition to those who seek to divide. The inaugural launch of this day in 2021 saw links between rising anti-Muslim hatred globally with a “resurgence in ethnonationalism, neo-Nazism, stigma and hate speech targeting vulnerable populations including Muslims, Jews, some minority Christian communities”.
Secretary-General Guterres recognises that anti-Muslim hatred is not just an interpersonal bias or form of violence but a structural problem, “Beyond structural, institutional discrimination and the wholesale stigmatization of Muslim communities, Muslims suffer personal attacks, hateful rhetoric, and scapegoating,” with Muslim women facing a triple prejudicial penalty (gender, ethnicity and faith).
At Tell MAMA, our work prioritises the support and care of Muslim communities – with holistic support, advocacy and access to free counselling services amongst other services. We prioritise and centre the voices of those we support; inform government, civil society and others about the issue and advocate for change; challenge bystanders to do more and stand up for others; and let our research bridge the gaps between theoretical ideas and the real-world impacts anti-Muslim hate has on society, within the UK but also beyond.
Let’s collectively work to stamp out and challenge anti-Muslim hate and bias where we see it – on our streets, inside our institutions, online and beyond.