Islamophobia Awareness Month: Luton council shares message of unity amid Middle East conflict
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Today (November 1) marks the start of Islamophobia Awareness Month, and Luton Borough Council has released a message of unity, reminding people about the contributions of Muslims in Luton and beyond.
This year’s campaign focuses on connections between individuals from diverse backgrounds, including both Muslims and non-Muslims, through storytelling. In a statement from the council leader, Cllr Hazel Simmons, and deputy leader, Cllr Javed Hussain, they said: “Luton has a large Muslim population which plays a big part in making Luton the great town it is. However, Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hatred, while perpetrated by a small minority, is very sadly something that many people in our communities still experience or are impacted by. It is something we wholeheartedly reject and are absolutely committed to tackling and eliminating.
"No form of hate is welcome anywhere in our town.”
Luton Borough Council says that this campaign comes at a time when the town needs to stand “against all forms of hate crimes”, given in increasing numbers of hate crimes after the “shocking recent events in the Middle East”.
The statement continued: “The unity of our community is needed more than ever now. The events in the Middle East affect us deeply, however, they do not justify any form of discrimination or hatred aimed at anyone here in Luton or elsewhere.
"We’ve been told that there are local people who have been victims of anti-Muslim hate speech in the last fortnight simply for raising awareness of the current horrific situation in Gaza.
"No-one whatever their background or faith should ever have to feel afraid because of who they are, how they look or what they believe in. We all have a responsibility to ensure Luton is no place for hate by calling out behaviour that leads to this harm.”
Anyone who believes they are a victim of or witnesses Islamophobia or any hate crime or incident, whether that be in person or online, is urged report it to the police either online or by calling 111.
Victims of hate crimes can speak to Crimestoppers and Tell MAMA, a national project supporting victims of anti-Muslim hate, and Bedfordshire’s CommUNITY Mediation Service.