Today marks the beginning of Islamophobia Awareness Month - where we acknowledge the anti-Muslim hatred that is too prevalent in our society, and reflect on how we can stamp it out in all its forms.
This year, Islamophobia Awareness Month coincides with an incredibly difficult time for Muslim communities here in the UK. The reverberations of the horrifying Israel-Gaza conflict have led to an unacceptable rise in both Antisemitism and Islamophobia across our country.
The figures are stark. Anti-Islamophobic organisation Tell Mama received 515 reports of anti-Muslim incidents between just 7th and 29th October - a sevenfold increase from the same period in 2022. Similarly, the Metropolitan police has recorded a 140% increase in Islamophobic offences this month compared to the same period last year.
And the stories accompanying these statistics are just as disturbing. From reports of Muslim communities being targeted at public transport hubs, to concerns raised with me by my local mosque.
We cannot let this type of hate fester.
There is simply no place for Islamophobia in our society, in any form. And it’s incumbent on all of us with a public platform to stand up against hatred of all kinds, including Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and racism.
I’m proud of the work that Liberal Democrats have done to combat religious hatred, and will continue to do. In light of recent events, many of our calls now feel even more timely.
Like giving law enforcement the resources and training they need to identify and prevent hate crimes, including threats and incitement to violence on social media. And providing funding for protective security measures to public spaces that are vulnerable to hate crime, like places of worship, schools and community centres.
Now more than ever, it is vital that we stand up against all forms of Islamophobia, and work together to end religious hatred everywhere.