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Campaign Launched to make ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ Official

The Aziz Foundation launches a timely campaign to make ‘The International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ official in the UK.

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The Aziz Foundation launches a timely campaign to make ‘The International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ official in the UK.

Today, the Aziz Foundation launched a campaign to enshrine the International Day to Combat Islamophobia into UK law. This means the day will be officially acknowledged, marked and commemorated. If the campaign is successful, it will be a significant step in the right direction, shedding light and awareness on the discrimination Muslims face in the UK, and it is hoped other countries will follow suit.

The International Day to Combat Islamophobia was introduced in 2022 due to a UN resolution tabled by Pakistan. The UK was one of 140 nations to sign the UN resolution to observe the day. The day will be marked on 15 March and seeks to expand efforts to create a dialogue that promotes tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs. The date was chosen to commemorate the 2019 Christchurch Mosque shootings, in which 51 people were killed and 40 others injured in an Islamophobic attack.

Two girls looking at tributes to honour Christchurch mosque shooting victims

The UN resolution and the Aziz Foundation’s campaign to enshrine the day into law are timely and much-needed. Islamophobia numbers in the UK make for bleak reading:

In the last eight years, Islamophobia has steeply risen across the entire world. This has been largely due to Islamophobic policies introduced by the government, such as Trump’s travel ban and various hijab bans across Europe to, more recently, official permission being given to burn the Holy Quran in Sweden and other anti-Muslim sentiment masked as ‘free speech’ in cases such as the Charlie Hebdo drawings.

Such acts normalise Muslim hate, which is why the Aziz Foundation hope their campaign will encourage the UK Government to make more resources available to teach understanding and religious tolerance and to celebrate the enormous contribution the British Muslim community brings to the UK. The Foundation has already begun to reach out to other faith bodies.

Asif Aziz, the founder of The Aziz Foundation, said:

Islamophobia is a type of racism. That should be an obvious thing to understand but to many it isn’t. The UN resolution in 2022 was a welcome first step, but to root out religious intolerance in all its forms we need to educate our children that Islamophobia cannot be allowed to grow unchallenged. Having the government acknowledging the UN day will allow us to begin peeling back the layers of misunderstanding and mistrust that have built up over the years, so we can teach our children not only to be respectful of each other, but to celebrate our differences.”

Naz Shah MP, (Bradford West), Vice Chair British Muslims APPG said:

I am fully supportive of this hugely important campaign, and I look forward to working with both the Foundation and parliamentary colleagues from across the House to achieve this goal. Greater understanding and tolerance are the cornerstones of a truly multicultural society.”

About the Aziz Foundation

The Aziz Foundation is a family charitable foundation established to nurture confident,  articulate public leaders of Muslim backgrounds who can critically engage with public narratives and address the social challenges facing British Muslim communities and wider society.

 

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