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Social media to tackle under-reported Islamophobia in Bristol

By Caroline Le Marechal
BBC News, Bristol

Published
image copyrightTIWG

A social media "poster" encouraging Muslims to report Islamophobic hate crimes has been designed in Bristol.

Rizwan Ahmed, from Bristol Muslim Cultural Society (BMCS), is behind the initiative.

He said the "under-reporting of Islamophobic abuse" made it difficult to gauge the scale of the problem.

The idea is part of a move by the Tackling Islamophobia Working Group (TIWG), set up to unite Muslim communities, police and other agencies.

image copyrightTIWG

Rizwan Ahmed said he came up with the idea after the success of a graphic he designed a few years ago, which used important dates from the Islamic calendar to help people plan time off work.

He said it was "so effective" that some of his friends in Bristol were "sent it from as far as Singapore."

He said Islamophobia was "becoming a growing issue" and people were not aware of what they could report, such as verbal abuse.

'Traumatic emotions'

Hasina Khan, from Bristol, is working with TIWG and said her experience of anti-Muslim hate crime "still brings back traumatic emotions".

Ms Khan said: "My immediate reaction was not to contact the police and to be by myself, stay at home."

She added: "The aim of this communication is to let Muslims know they do not have to suffer and they aren't alone. People may not be aware that what is happening to them is actually against the law."

She said "youth in particular who may be more familiar with the hostile environment" needed to "realise they have the same rights as everyone else".

Supt Andy Bennett, who deals with hate crime for Avon & Somerset Police, said: "Tackling all forms of hate crime, including Islamophobia, is a priority for us.

"We know hate crime remains under-reported, and these figures don't show the full picture, so we're keen to encourage more victims to come forward."

What can be reported?

  • Physical / verbal attacks - you can also report on behalf of others if you witness such acts
  • Attacks on property
  • Negative comments - written or verbal about Muslim people (their dress or their culture)
  • Islamophobic letters - anti-Muslim hate mail
  • Online Islamophobia hate comments
  • Islamophobic graffiti

Source: TIWG and Stand Against Racism & Inequality

Related Topics

  • Avon and Somerset Constabulary
  • Muslims
  • Islamophobia

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