What is Islam?

Islam is one of the three Abrahamic faiths, meaning that it shares its roots with Christianity and Judaism. Muslims therefore consider Christians and Jews as “People of the Book” because of their shared beliefs. The Arabic word “Islam” means “submission” and is derived from the word “peace”. Islam teaches that one must submit to God (Allah) in order to achieve true peace of mind. The word “Muslim” means one who submits to God’s will. The testimony of faith in Islam is to bear witness that “there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”.

Muslims base their lives around the Five Pillars of Islam, which are:

  • Shahada: The testimony of faith
  • Salah: Five daily prayers
  • Zakat: Giving to charity for those in need
  • Hajj: Performing the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during a lifetime
  • Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan

What is Islamophobia?

Islamophobia is a prejudice, aversion, hostility, or hatred towards Muslims and encompasses any distinction, exclusion, restriction, discrimination, or preference against Muslims that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

MEND’s Definition of Islamophobia

MEND’s definition of Islamophobia can be split into two parts:

  1. The overt part: Islamophobia is a prejudice, aversion, hostility, or hatred towards Muslims.
  2. The “hidden” part that effects all Muslims both as individuals and as collective groups: that is the discrimination that excludes or limits Muslims’ equal exercise of fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

In other words, Islamophobia is not just hate crime and abuse, but must also be recognised in the ways in which it excludes Muslims from all realms of civic life, whether that be through workplace discrimination, or through institutional Islamophobias that silence Muslim voices within democratic debates.

What is Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM)?

Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) was co-founded by MEND with other British organisations in 2012 to deconstruct and challenge the stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. The month-long campaign aims to work with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC), Local Council, in particular the lead on Hate crime or Community safety, Journalists and local Media, Councillors and local MPs, Mosques, Universities, Schools, Community organisations and others to raise awareness of the scourge of Islamophobia and encourage better reporting of incidents to the police.

Subscribe to our Newsletter