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Hostile Environment: Islamophobia in the UK

Maz Saleem’s father was killed by a white neo-Nazi terrorist when he was walking home from his local mosque in 2013. She took a journey across the UK to speak to Muslims who are – too often – spoken about but not listened to. From the fourth-generation supermarket owners to the Islamic centre that was attacked with swastikas graffitied on its wall. From the rappers and poets who are fighting Islamophobia with their art, to her very own family. She explores issues of racism, identity and Islamophobia, and even drops in to visit the far-right.

Journalist Roshan Muhammad Salih told Maz that the media plays a significant role in anti-Muslim sentiment today: “the mainstream media is institutionally Islamophobic in my point of view. I think we’ve had enquiries in to the police finding them institutionally racist, but we haven’t really had the same scrutiny of the media.”

Spoken word artist Suhaiyma Manzoor-Khan, also known as Brown Hijabi, told redfish: “I think for people of my generation Islamophobia is so normal. Instead of actually being able to address the ways that Islamophobia affects them, it’s like the burden of trying to prove your humanity and trying to prove your moderation.“

The Bahr Academy in Birmingham was attacked just days after the Christchurch massacre. Muhammad Zaman recalled the aftermath, saying: “When we came in we seen all the books on the floor, ripped to shreds. They smashed the windows from outside as well as inside. Seeing the Quran ripped to shreds on the floor. The Quran for us is our holy scripture, it’s the words of Allah, it’s the words of God and it hurt us a lot.”

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