On Sunday, the worst mass shooting in modern America history took place at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida when 50 innocent people were killed by a man driven by nothing but hate. The Internet has been overflowing with articles about the gunman, mainly about his religious identity even though he showed no signs of religious fanaticism and now questions are being asked about his sexuality.
An article in The Intercept titled ‘Stop Exploiting LGBTQ Issues to Demonize Islam and Justify Anti-Muslim Policies’ written by Glenn Greenwald was quick to set the record straight explaining that attacks against the LGBTQ community have more often than not been carried out by non-Muslims. Greenwald warned against exploiting LGBTQ suffering to demonise the Muslim community and using the attack as an excuse to justify anti-Muslim policies. Many, including within the Muslim community have emphasised the importance of uniting with other discriminated groups in the fight against hate. The Executive Director of the American Muslim group CAIR said after the attack that “For many years, members of the LGBTQ community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against acts of hate crimes, Islamophobia, marginalization, and discrimination. Today, we stand with them, shoulder to shoulder.”
It is essential that in the struggle against hate and oppression, minority groups join together in solidarity. As Charles B Anthony wrote yesterday in Middle East Eye “If you wish to win your own battle then you will need allies. Those in similar positions in terms of oppression are normally a good start.” This is even more important in the current climate where attempts are being made to divide communities which have a history of being discriminated against. You cannot pick and choose which form of hate and oppression you are against. This is where the concept of intersectionality is important because forms of oppression are shaped by one another.
Hate crime is just one of several issues that JAN Trust works on specifically hate crime against asylum seekers and refugees and Muslim women. As part of our work on this issue we aim to raise awareness about what hate crimes and hate incidents are, the different ways in which you can report hate crimes and hate incidents, encourage and provide help, support and advice to victims of hate crimes and incidents.
Quite often victims do not realise that hate crimes and hate incidents are not just physical attacks. They can also include the threat of attack including offensive letters, abusive or obscene telephone calls, text messages or emails, as well as groups hanging around to intimidate, and unfounded malicious complaints and verbal abuse or insults, offensive leaflets and posters, abusive gestures, dumping of rubbish outside homes or through letterboxes and bullying at school or in the workplace. All this information and more can be found on our Say NO To Hate Crime website. For more information about our work to combat hate crime and Islamophobia, please send visit www.saynotohatecrime.org