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Blog: Royal Holloway says NO to Islamophobia

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the term ‘Islamophobia’ began to circulate throughout different forms of socio-political discourse across the nation.

We so often hear about terrorism in media outlets, documentaries and even within our everyday conversation, not just because it is a prevalent and universal concern but because of the fear which stems from such extreme violent and hate-filled practices.

However, while I do not often agree with Theresa May, I do indeed agree with her belief that Islamophobia is also a form of extremism–– a belief which marks a shift in rhetoric.

So what exactly is Islamophobia?

When I consider the word ‘phobia’–– an irrational fear or hatred of something/someone­­–– it becomes apparent that there is not only an error with the term ‘islamophobia’ but also an extreme agenda. To have an irrational fear is to be afraid without any justifiable cause, acts of hatred and discrimination towards Muslims because of such a phobia can then only be described as ‘extreme.’

I strongly believe that the existence of islamophobia in our schools, communities and throughout our society is on the basis of how we think. Examining the ways in which think about others who may be different to ourselves will have a crucial effect in the way we feel about them and then, in turn, influence how we treat them.

In other words, if we examine our modes of thinking, eradicating our stereotypical and discriminatory thoughts, the way we feel about certain ethnic and religious groups will not only remove our unreasonable fear but will, in effect, encourage positive changes in the way we treat others.

Why is this important?

This is exceptionally important for students both on and off campus. As we enter into this final month of the year, I look back on the one we left behind. November marks Islamophobia Awareness Month, a time where people all over Britain run campaigns and discuss this prevalent issue… but this is not an issue which only deserves awareness for one month but throughout the entire year.

As a University, we will be running events and raising awareness to highlight the presence and importance of Muslim students and all other marginalized groups which exist on campus.

This article simply acts as a timely reminder that, here at Royal Holloway we take pride in our diversity making no room for hate, racism or any other form of discrimination.

Be sure to look out for all the campaigns and events we have coming up. You can keep up to date by following the ‘RHUL Black & Minority Ethnic Network’ page on Facebook!

RENÉE LANDELL
BME OFFICER, 2017/18