Tour launches amidst pressures and challenges
FOSIS has launched a national speaker tour that comprises seven university events as part of the Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) campaign, ‘Dismantling Islamophobia’, in collaboration with multiple organisations and academics.
Unfortunately, the tour has been subjected to the very Islamophobic tactics it seeks to deconstruct. A single defamatory article has triggered a host of universities to postpone or cancel these events without sound reason. The UK Home Office provided a comment which formed the basis of this article’s sensationalist headline. Whilst we are not surprised by the Home Office’s attempt to undermine this speaker tour for criticising government policy, we are disappointed in the way that universities have capitulated to this unfounded media pressure by giving precedence to opportunistic media outlets over the rights of their students. However, we applaud the student unions who are defending this tour and supporting Islamic Societies throughout this ordeal.
The purpose of the tour is to:
- Expose and dismantle the different layers of Islamophobia
- Outline the detrimental effects of Islamophobia on the lives of Muslims
- Empower the Muslim community to challenge Islamophobia
These events will seek to dismantle the structural marginalisation and suppression of Muslim students, including their voices in the educational space and examine the failings of the Prevent strategy along with other repressive state policies across the globe. Lessons will also be drawn from case studies of Muslim students and sabbatical officers, Islamic Societies and Muslim organisations that have been vilified by both the media and the government.
The Vice President of Student Affairs of FOSIS, Jakir Ahmed, has issued the following statement: “The universities which have succumbed to the pressure of a single article have made the message very clear to our affiliates, the Islamic Societies, that they must go through deliberate obstruction to enjoy the same rights as any other student society on campus. The recent events confirm that those who seek to challenge the status quo and speak out against injustices are smeared. FOSIS, Islamic Societies and Muslim students will not be silenced in this way, and we will not bow down to any intimidation. The speaker tour will continue to run nationally as we continue to protect and advocate for the rights of Muslim students. I pray that Allah SWT continues to bestow upon us all the strength and courage to stay firm upon our principles, and stand for justice.”