The gendered nature of Islamophobia increasingly highlighted as hate crimes rise


The gendered nature of Islamophobia increasingly highlighted as hate crimes rise

Tell MAMA UK, a national project which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the United Kingdom., has said that over half of all reported hate crimes in the UK target visibly Muslim women. Religious hate crime has risen in the UK by 40% from 2016 to 2018.

Sammayya Afzal of the Muslim Council of Britain, in a video report for the Middle East Eye explains that gendered Islamophobia happens because Muslim women are “at the intersections of two different identities”, being both visibly Muslim and women. Such attacks described include the ripping off of the hijab, derogatory name calling, and letters through letter boxes threatening acid attacks in Yorkshire to women who wore niqab (the face veiling). Afzal describes it as undermining a Muslim women’s “right to exist in a public space”.

What has been highlighted is that gendered Islamophobia is systemic, fueled by both the media and politicians, not only from the far right but in the mainstream. Pointing to the historical pattern, Afzal described the public unveiling ceremonies that took place in colonial Algeria. In recent times, the focus on gendered Islamophobia was noted when, in August 2018, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said, when commenting in support of the introduction of a “burka ban” in Denmark, “I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.”

The idea of gendered Islamophobia was also brought up this past year in relation to 2018’s Bodyguard, the BBC’s most watched drama since 2008, with 11 million viewers.


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