Today, a group is planning to enact “Punish A Muslim Day”. We cannot allow such intolerance to pit us against one another. Instead of centering the group’s small mindedness, furthering their ability to incite violence and hate, let us come together and promote #BanishHateDay.
The #BanishHateDay idea came from a cafe owner in Manchester, England. According to Manchester Evening News, Manzoor Ali of Barakah Foods wanted to fight against the hateful agenda of “Punish a Muslim Day” by promoting kindness and turning “negative energy into good”.
In March, the UK’s counter-terrorism police began investigating the hate group’s activities after numerous people began to report an anonymous letter they had received, which advocated violence against Muslims in the UK.
Many Muslim parents in England and abroad have been worried about letting their children go to school, for fear of harm that may come to them because of their religious identity.
Muslim women who wear hijab have also considered “hiding their headscarves” with hats and staying indoors to stay safe. People have taken to Twitter to express their concern over the group’s actions:
Muslim women have also been circulating WhatsApp messages within the Islamic community:
While the Muslim community is extremely concerned about their wellbeing and the events that might take place today, Manzoor Ali hopes that the general public will work together to prevent hate crimes from occurring. His cafe will be giving out free cake, tea, and biscuits to people who pass by his shop Barlow Moor Road today.
Though it’s important to talk about safety, it’s also essential to discuss rising Islamophobia in the US, the UK, and around the world. We cannot ignore the harassment, abuse, and discrimination that Muslims are faced with daily.
While we are countering “Punish A Muslim Day” through acts of kindness, let’s not dismiss the unfortunate damage Islamophobia continues to create on socio-economic and political levels throughout our global society.
Consider walking with your Muslim friends and neighbors to ensure their safety. Don’t hesitate to send them texts throughout the day to make sure they are free from harm. Call out Islamophobia as soon as you see it happening and inform the police of any instances that you see taking place; or of violence you might experience directly. Please tag your friends on social media and let them know about #BanishHateDay!