Equal Rights – Equal Responsibilities

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Combating Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Hatred

By on 2 February 2017

Rahima Sajid, IAW DPI Youth representative, attended this forum:

On January 17 the United Nation held a High Level Forum on: Combating Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Hatred.  There were opening statements, three different panels and a movie screening of The Sultan and the Saint.  During the opening statements Secretary General Antonio Guterres quoted a verse from the Quran and stressed the importance of unity across religions and cultures. We were reminded that Muslims are very often the victims of terrorism and that anti-Muslim discrimination is on the rise. There has been a 67% increase of hate crime targeting Muslim, which is the highest we had since the spike after 9/11 (there is still under-reporting happening).  Governments and Civil Societies can work together by comparing data to get more accurate numbers for, “Under-reporting disrupts the real picture of the issue”.

We need legislation protecting the vulnerable population, political will, and education to help end the Anti-Muslim discrimination. This discrimination comes in many forms including violence. It was stated that governments take up the administrative role and civil society helps prioritize the issues to administer. Municipal advertising displaying tolerance, police training, collation building were some of the strategies that were thrown out there.

One very important point repeatedly made was that hate crimes against Muslims is highly gendered because Muslim Women are attacked more often. Muslim women end up facing double-discrimination. A couple of attendees also brought to attention that there was a lack of representation from the Black Muslim communities on the panel; reinforcing the agreement that we need to work together across sectors, cultures, religions, races etc.  and include all to address this Anti-Muslim discrimination.

The last panel on Using Positive Narratives to Promote Pluralism and Inclusion was very interesting. It put a light on the role of the media and how it can be a tool used to voice positive Muslim narratives that normalize and humanize Muslims to the general public.  Muslims have been “othered” so often that we forget that they too are regular humans dealing with life challenges and emotions we all deal with.

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