“Islamophobia and Stereotypes” The challenges facing the Muslim community in Kent
At the end of Islamophobia Awareness Month, the challenges facing the Muslim community in Kent were highlighted.
The month-long campaign aimed to raise awareness of the threats of Islamophobic hate crimes and challenge stereotypes surrounding Islam to enable a better understanding of religion.
Muslim adviser Naushabah Khan, who represents Medway, said the growing trend towards Islamophobia must be tackled, starting with education.
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She said: “There is usually a lack of understanding of how different communities live their lives, and I think that sometimes creates fear, which is where we see some of these difficult behaviors manifest.
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“There are clearly challenges that exist around understanding Islam, how it manifests itself, and I think we have seen a growing trend towards Islamophobia in recent years, which needs to be tackled, especially in the Kent. “
The adviser believes that acts such as the ban on the burqa in France and Prime Minister Boris Johnson comparing women wearing the burqa to “letterboxes” have led to an increase in Islamophobia.
She added: “There are many reasons why Kent is often faced with challenges, which can sometimes manifest as communities turning against communities.
“When we see terrorist attacks, which people claim to be in the name of Islam or the perpetrators claim to be in the name of Islam – this level of tension between communities has certainly been a factor. I think there is a general lack of understanding of what Islam is.
Kent Police recorded an offense in which Islamophobia was a factor as a religious hate crime “according to the circumstances”.
“I honestly think the police can always do more about this,” said Cllr Khan. “I think they’ve done a lot of work on hate crimes in general. So I think it’s very helpful, but with the specifics of religion, and how they identify Islamophobia, I don’t know.
“And actually, if I look at the company’s website and you type Islamophobia, the first thing that comes up is how to report possible terrorist activity.
“So again, I don’t think that kind of a relationship that you have to have with the Muslim community for us to somehow trust the police on this particular issue, maybe doesn’t exist and I think it’s something that needs building. “
“No one deserves to be the victim of a hate crime”
Detective Chief Superintendent Coretta Hine of the Kent Police Diversity and Inclusion Command has said tackling hate crime is a priority for Kent Police.
She said: “The new Diversity and Inclusion Command has developed a 2021-2024 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, part of which includes identifying and supporting cultural campaigns.
“The campaign schedule is under development and will be constantly revised. We have started working with the National Muslim Police Association to recognize future initiatives.
“While awareness campaigns are extremely important, diversity and inclusion are central to the daily activities, thinking and behavior of the police. Embracing diversity is a constant theme within Kent Police, with all officers and staff receiving ongoing development and training on the subject. . “
In October, Kent Police supported Hate Crime Awareness Week, a nationwide campaign involving all UK police forces and coordinated by the National Council of Chiefs of Police.
As part of the week, their community liaison officers organized roadshows and events at local police stations to educate staff. The tours also included Black History Month, World Mental Health Day and National Inclusion Week.
She said: “As a force, we align the majority of our campaigns with the National Council of Chiefs of Police. UK Policing is done by consent and Kent Police seek to engage positively with all of our communities, and in doing so, we regularly show our support by engaging in national and international events and religious festivals throughout the ‘year.
“No one deserves to be the victim of a hate crime and we will continue to work with partner agencies and communities to promote a better understanding of this type of hate crime and remind people of the many ways it can be reported. “
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