French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in October accusing Islam of isolationism and of being ‘in crisis’, could not have provided better evidence of the challenge of Islamophobia facing European societies today.
For decades, Muslims who have long made Europe and Western countries their and their children’s homes, and to which they make immeasurably valuable contributions as citizens, those Muslims have warned that the most serious forms of Islamophobia are those which emanate from unsuspected sources.
While one would expect Islamophobic statements and attacks to come from Far-Right, xenophobic, white supremacist, neo-Nazi clusters, it shouldn’t be expected of a Centrist President of a major country such as France which itself is home to millions of Muslims. Further, it comes at a time when the entire world is debating the question of race, and nations are trawling through their respective legacies to see what gross crimes against other people were committed in order to provide the socio-economic conditions under which they currently live. It would’ve been thought that a politician of such stature should have been more careful.
Yet, such is the challenge of the rising and ever-expanding disease of Islamophobia, that few even in the much more tolerant Britain, even cared to mention it.
Therefore, the Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) this November could not have come at a more apt time, nor under more telling circumstances. An annual fixture now, after the challenges of launching this fantastically important initiative by a group of prominent organisations back in 2012, it is a crucial landmark in the history of British society and its development in relation to matters of race, faith and culture. The month-long campaign seeks to deconstruct and challenge stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. (Image: IAM launch event at the London Muslim Centre, 2nd Nov 2012)
IAM was initiated by, amongst others, The Cordoba Foundation, Enough Coalition Against Islamophobia, London Muslim Centre, Mend/Engage, Federation of Students Islamic Societies and the Muslim Council of Britain.
Even with the immense challenges of having to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns that bear great costs on all sections of society, IAM is a vital reminder of the added difficulties life in modern Britain brings to so many, including countless on the frontlines of maintaining a semblance of normalcy and care.
The Cordoba Foundation is proud to once more welcome the Islamophobia Awareness Month, and pledges to continue to work with others, towards celebrating the values and tenets of this great global faith, followed by a fifth of the world population, and to remove any stigma attached to being a Muslim in Britain.
Dr Anas Altikriti
The Cordoba Foundation