Dr Amina Easat-Daas reflects on how to tackle Islamophobia

Dr Amina Easat-Daas has signed an open letter in The Guardian condemning Islamophobia in the wake of the Christchurch mass shooting that has shocked the world.

The letter calls on governments of the world to realise the threats posed by far-right groups and white supremacists and to take action to protect and educate citizens.

It states: “People of all faiths and none must unite to state emphatically: an attack against one community is an attack against us all. We must never allow these terrorists to undermine the respect and love we have for one another, as brothers and sisters in humanity.”

Dr Easat-Daas has also recently written in The Conversation (French and Indonesian) about strategies to tackle Islamophobia based on research conducted in the Centre for Race and Ethnicity Studies (CERS) based in the School.

The Centre’s Counter Islamophobia Kit project suggests that one way to challenge the ideas Muslims are a threat to European way of life is to highlight the many everyday roles Muslims occupy in society.

Dr Easat-Daas said: “We found that Islamophobic perceptions are often based on the idea that Islam and Muslims are sexist so projects that champion Muslim women, their work and their voices will go some way towards breaking down these preconceptions.”

The research suggested women are disproportionately affected by Islamophobia, and to overturn ideas of Muslim women as victims of alleged Islamic sexism new narratives led by Muslim women themselves should be told, presented via art, media and popular culture.

The article also highlights the need to properly record Islamophobia to break down misinformed narratives concerning Islam and Muslims. Instead it should be replaced with a mainstream ideas better reflecting the realities of the faith and its practice. 

Dr Easat-Daas concludes: “All this amounts to a four-step approach: first defining, and second documenting Islamophobia, next deconstructing its narratives, and then reconstructing new positive and realistic narratives around Muslims.

“Such an approach moves away from misinformed and often reactionary counter-Islamophobia strategies, such as the way Muslims repeatedly condemn terror attacks and seek to dissociate such acts from Islam. In doing so, they often find their comments fall on deaf ears and instead risk contributing to associations between Muslims and violence.

“The ultimate goal in countering Islamophobia should be to create a fair and just society for all, one that values and safeguards the citizenship of its members.”

Read Dr Amina Easat-Daas’ article in full on The Conversation