The SACC/IHRC Islamophobia Conference was held at the Augustine United Church, Edinburgh on Saturday 3 December. Around 100 people attended over the course of the day.
The conference began with round-table discussions amongst speakers and other conference participants at two parallel workshops. A third workshop, involving journalist and author Yvonne Ridley, was directed mainly towards young people.
Arzu Merali (IHRC), Yvonne Ridley (journalist and author), Faizah Shaheen (psychotherapist), Mohammad Asif (Afghan Human Rights Foundation), and Pinar Aksu spoke at the opening plenary about The Environment of Hate and the Police State
The two plenary sessions were livestreamed by Independence Live. Watch them below.
This is the the third consecutive year in which the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has collaborated with SACC to hold a conference focused on tackling Islamophobia. The 2015 Conference was held in London. In 2015 conferences were led on the same day in London and Edinburgh (report and videos from the 2015 conference in Edinburgh). This year, the Edinburgh conference was held on Sat 3 December, and the London conference a week later.
This year’s conference focuses on the ways education, the legal system and the PREVENT/counter-terrorism regime coalesce to create an environment of hate that facilitates the operation of a de facto Police State.
In the current climate where hate crime against Muslims is so rapidly on the rise, the conference is a pertinent chance to examine the way these systems help to create and perpetuate such an environment. The IHRC report released in 2015 'Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK' received much acclaim for its examination of the tragic situation currently facing Muslims. Whilst the primary targets and victims of hateful discourse, discrimination and state and street violence are Muslims, everyone lives in this Environment and this State, many minoritised communities now feel a resurgence of hatred and everyone is impacted negatively.
IHRC Press release
Faizah Shaheen spoke at the conference about being questioned by police after being being reported by aircraft cabin crew on a Thomson Airways flight for reading the book ‘Syria Speaks, Art and Culture from the Frontline’. Please sign the petition demanding an apology from Thomson Airways.