A study by Newcastle and Northumbria universities has found that more than 80% of Muslim people have experienced racism and three-quarters think it’s getting worse.
Taj Khan is shielding from coronavirus. But there’s no protection from the islamophobia she suffers on a daily basis.
She said: “I was told that I’m not educated, you don’t belong here. Look at the way you’re dressed.”
Just walking out your front door, going to the corner shop just to buy some bread and milk, people will pass remarks. ‘Go back to your own country.’ ‘You’re stealing our jobs.’ ‘You terrorist.’ ‘Taliban.’ I can go out of the house 10 times, and I can guarantee you that each time I will experience some form of Islamophobia.
And Taj isn’t alone. The report also found that 68% of people say they suffer it regularly.
Among the more serious incidents of Islamophobia are those faced by the BAHR Academy in Newcastle. The Islamic education centre has been broken into twice this year and ransacked with racist graffiti daubed on the walls.
Professor Peter Hopkins is one of the report’s authors. He says the rise of the far right in the North East is of particular concern.
He said: “There’s examples in the report of the far right putting graffiti on mosques and damaging mosque cameras.
Muslims are aware that these people would exist in their communities, and were present and lived in the same streets as them, or in neighbouring streets.
The rise of anti-Muslim prejudice is a real worry for people like Taj. Her hope is that the challenge of coronavirus will have brought communities together and can help end the abuse many suffer on a daily basis.