November marks the beginning of Islamophobia Awareness Month and for many within the Muslim community, it is an opportunity to speak openly about their experiences of discrimination in British society. Some officers from the National Union of Students (NUS) have teamed up to organise a series of events and launch the Muslim Students' Survey.
From state censorship under the guise of counter-terrorism, to the verbal and physical harassment experienced by Muslims in public spaces - there is no denying that Islamophobia and systematic racism is a key component of what it means to be Muslim in Britain today. For one, the Muslim community is described as the most economically disadvantaged group in the country - with almost 50 percent of the Muslim population living in the ten most deprived local authorities.
The NUS is organising events to help raise awareness of the of the day-to-day realities experienced by British Muslims students. This includes a Gendered Islamophobia Tour to platform the voices of Muslim women and hosting another round of the Students Not Suspects tour. The tours are expected to take place across the UK, in cities including Sheffield. Speakers will include people from a wide array of backgrounds - from grassroots activists to poets and performers.
The month will be filled with events and initiatives that seek to create a broader discussion on how issues of gender, race and class are intrinsically linked to the Muslim identity, and will culminate with the Muslim Women in Leadership event, organised by the NUS Women’s Campaign, taking place on Tuesday 5 December.
NUS will also be launching the Muslim Students’ Survey on Thursday 9 November to record the individual experiences of Muslim students and sabbatical officers from around the country. NUS hope this survey will capture the precarious position that many Muslims find themselves in and the NUS will produce a set of recommendations for students’ unions on how best to support their Muslim sabbatical officers and Muslim students as a whole.
For more information about NUS campaigns and events please visit the NUS website at www.nus.org.uk.