An event organised jointly by the Hamara Healthy Living Centre and the Muslim Community Safety Forum (MCSF) took place on Tuesday 24 November in Beeston.
It was prepared as part of the national Islamophiobia Awareness (IAM) Month to look at issues of the recent unprecedented rise in anti-Muslim hate crime and ways in which to develop a more joined-up approach. The event brought together key people, including policy makers, statutory agencies, local authority officers, Police, youth and education providers.
Chair of MCSF Kauser Jan said:
“There has been a growing concern that there has been a sudden rise in anti-Muslim hate, particularly post Charlie Hebdo and the recent Paris attacks. A report to the Government’s working group on anti-Muslim hatred, shows a spike in Islamophobic hate crime of more than 300 per cent. So as organisers we felt that a platform was required to discuss these and other pertinent issues for our communities.”
Keynote speakers included: Rose Simkins, Chief Executive Stop Hate UK; Shahab Adris, Regional Manager of Muslim Engagement and Development; Sean McDonald, Police Hate Crime Coordinator; Sally Kincaid : Executive Member, Wakefield and District NUT.
A number of workshops were delivered in an attempt to help build awareness of how to identify an Islamophobic incident; how to report a hate crime and what representatives of key organisations and community members wanted to see from the MCSF moving forward.
“We have had an increase in people wanting to join the Forum to develop systems, policies and practice through collectivism to challenge issues of Islamophobia and race hate. We aim to develop a coherent voice and work with agencies to create unity among communities and religious harmony.
“These are vital factors for the development of the country. Divisions among us will strengthen various hostile forces seeking to deny us our safety. When communities rise in unity, the forces hostile to this will be weakened and security further strengthened. We will be creating a strategy that integrates the suggestions made by the course participants”, said Kauser Jan.
A full output and proceedings report will be published in the near future and available to the public. Further information and feedback can be found here.
In Leeds, Stop Hate UK provide a 24/7 Stop Hate Line service, which can be accessed via phone on 0800 138 1625 and also by text, webchat, email, online form and text-relay. People contacting the service will receive specialist advice from trained operators, providing immediate emotional and practical advice, as well as onward referrals to partner agencies.