Muslim and Jewish women from across the United Kingdom have come together to launch a #WatchYourLanguage campaign aimed at the country's forthcoming General Elections. These ladies believe some of the words used in the electoral campaigns are "unacceptable, prejudiced and dangerous" as well as stand "against women and minority groups."
The campaign was created by delegates of the Nisa-Nashim network, a group of Muslim and Jewish women from all around the UK who came together to combat ignorance and learn from each other.
The diverse group agreed that the retrograde, negative language beginning to characterize the UK election needed to be eliminated. They also took note of the magnification effect this language may have on the ever-rising verbal and physical abuse against women and minority groups in the country.
"We fundamentally reject the narrative of division. As women from different faith groups and cultures, we know how easy it is to divide and we utterly refuse to support any political voices which fuel it," Laura Marks, Co-founder and Director of Nisa-Nashim, told Asian Image.
Deputy Lieutenant and Member of the Order of the British Empire Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal also spoke to the news site, saying "in an increasingly polarised world, it is imperative that as Jewish and Muslim women living in Britain, we do not let our friendships and our goodwill towards each other be affected by those who seek to divide us."
"As Nisa-Nashim, we will stand together to ensure our voices are heard above the cacophony and we will call out those whose language is divisive," Haroon-Iqbal added.
In an era when discrimination is still abundant, especially against minority groups, it becomes mandatory for politicians to be aware of the language they use. One is allowed to create any electoral campaign they wish, but to diss Muslims or Arabs or any other marginalized community for the sake of attracting a specific group of voters is not acceptable.
Have politicians-to-be not learned a thing from Donald Trump? He riled up extremists in the U.S., fed them racist and Islamophobic rhetorics, and eventually led them to vote for him under the pretext of "I'll save you from all these immigrants." Now he's the president of the greatest power in the world all while remaining a bigot.
Where has this led the U.S.? A dark alley of hate and white supremacy.
A 2018 study published by researchers at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom revealed that Trump's anti-Muslim tweets were a reliable predictor of the level of attacks against Muslims during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, and onward into the first few months following his election.
Not to derail from the UK, the latter has witnessed its fair share of Islamophobic attacks in recent years; a wave of acid-throwing movements even took over the country a couple of years back.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reported 10,817 hate crime convictions in the 12 months leading to March 2019, with a record of 73.6 percent of defendants receiving higher sentences.
"All crimes have a terrible impact but when a crime is motivated by hatred of who a person fundamentally is, it adds another layer of seriousness. Hate crimes also affect communities and create a climate of fear," said Chris Long, Chief Crown Prosecutor and CPS national lead on hate crime.
Long stated that 7 out of 10 defendants plead guilty when taken to court, with a conviction rate of 84 percent. He also urged victims to come forward and report incidents to the police so that offenders can be held accountable and victims are given the justice they deserve.
How can justice be served when qualified Muslims are denied job opportunities in the country? When Islamophobic attacks increased 500 percent in 2017? When 25 percent of the British population know nothing, not a single fact, about the Arab region, while 23 percent consider Arabs extremists?
The hypocrisy in such numbers, whether related to what UK citizens think of Arabs and Muslims or the rise in hate crimes against minority groups, shines bright when you go through tourism reports in the Arab world. Almost half a million British tourists visit Egypt annually, 700,000 plan a holiday in Morocco, and around 1.2 million enjoy a luxurious stay in the UAE (mainly Dubai).
A kind reminder, the countries listed above are Muslim. So, maybe think about that the next time Islamophobia blurs your mind.
Sarah Trad contributed to this article.