MPEB attends ENAR's conference on Islamophobia in Ireland

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26 February, 2016

The long awaited and fully sold out conference on "Understanding and Responding to Islamophobia in Ireland" organised by Enar Ireland and took place on 21st January 2016. Members of the MPEB were fortunate to be amongst a varied audience, many of whom managed to get only a standing place.  

This full day conference aimed at strengthening understandings of Islamophobia, anti-Muslim racism in Ireland and identifying community-based responses for practitioners and communities, with particular emphasis on education, media and community groups.

In bringing together community workers, youth workers, educators, teachers with people who experience Islamophobia it, tackled the issues and attempted to identify practical steps and practices that can be implemented. 

Guest speakers included Mr. Arun Kundnani (New York University & Institute of Race Relations) who gave a keynote address, Dr. James Carr (University of Limerick), Dr. Lucy Michael (Ulster University & Enar Ireland), Dr Michael Privot (Islamologist and Director of European Network Against Racism) as well as Muslim Youth activists Iesha & Amina Moustafa, Ryma Halfaoui, & Raneem Saleh who gave their personal account of living in Ireland, Islamophobia and as well as that, they all narrated their poems and spoken pieces.  

The conference was undoubtedly a great success with many highlights of which Mr. Arun's and Dr. Carr's speeches together with the experiences of the Muslim activists, in particular, their spoken pieces have seemed to be the most popular with the audience.  

We have selected for you Raneem Saleh's poem to enjoy here (you can watch her recital video or you can also read it below as well as look at some of the photos from the conference, available at the bottom):

 

Dear Muslim Children...
Muslim children don't dream 
Not because they don't want to 
But because they can't 
Dreams are mixed with memories of a lifetime ago 
When the biggest worries on their minds was what to wear to school tomorrow 
Now, all they can see is fear 
In the eyes of the people wherever they go
How can we tell them 
That the bubbles they try and surround themselves with 
might be better than the state that we're in 
Where the only thing that matters is the color of your skin 
your religion
Or what you're clothed in 
They don't know this, but they're famous 
Plastered on every news screen and media outlet 
With the words printed 
Terrorists 
Extremists
Troublemakers 
Yes, you with your dead family and body parts 
Your face seems to say I am here to claim your country 
And kill your people 
So when you grow up, tread carefully in the land 
For fear they'll mistake you for a mad man 
Or a woman who's voice we cannot see 
Obscured under something ugly and foreign 
These small children that go to school
Whose parents work to buy food 
And pay for an education that seems to say
It's okay to be crazy 
So long as you're not a Muslim 
Reserved is a special word for that 
So hide your beliefs and your colour and your beard 
Show us your skin 
Let us in and force you 
No not force, let us save you 
And liberate you 
And spoon feed you what you can't do 
Like pray five times a day to thank God and remove distractions of life away 
Or fast from sunrise to sunset to feel what those who can't afford to eat felt 
Or wear a cloth on your head so that your sexuality is privatised for yourself 
They'll manipulate your grief to anger
Your humanity to terror 
Your happiness to insanity 
Label your faith a monstrosity 
But listen here, little children 
Encompass your bubbles around the world
Show them through actions first then with words 
Who you are
Forget about those who lie and lay false claims 
Remember the name of your religion derives from peace and not hate 
Do your bit in the world 
Take care of your family and friends and others 
And even after all your efforts to do good 
In peoples eyes are in vain 
Do not forget
It was never about them anyway.

About conference speakers:

Mr. Arun Kundnani - New York University & Institute of Race Relations

Kundnani writes about race, Islamophobia, political violence, and surveillance. Author of “The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror”, Kundnani will present global perspectives on “War on Terror” rhetoric, radicalisation and rising suspicion and surveillance of Muslim communities.

Dr. James Carr - University of Limerick

Author of the recently published ‘Experiences of Islamophobia: Living with Racism in the Neoliberal Era”. Dr Carr’sresearch place him as one of Ireland foremost academic experts on Anti-Muslim Racism in Ireland. Dr Carr is in the process of completing a follow up piece of research with the Immigrant Council of Ireland and will speak and will speak about Understanding Anti-Muslim racism in an Irish context.

Dr Michael Privot - Islamologist and Director of European Network Against Racism

Dr.Privot is an international expert on radicalisation processes within Muslim communities. He has more than a decade of experience in community building of Muslim communities in Belgium and Europe. He has authored a number of academic publications, published op-ed articles and appears regularly on a variety of media. He will speak on the topic of ‘European perspectives on Islamophobia’.

Dr. Lucy Michael – Ulster University & Enar Ireland

Lecturer in Sociology in Ulster University, with research expertise in race and ethnicity, minority experiences of crime and victimisation, and leadership around equality issues. She will be presenting ENAR Ireland Data and analysis on anti-Muslim racism.


If you have experienced Islamophobia or have witnessed it - please report it. You can do so very easily by going to: www.iReport.ie which is a fully confidential and independent, civil-society based Racist Incident Reporting System managed by Enar Ireland.

 

Posted by: Fardus Sultan, 25 January 2016

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