A new study reveals hate crimes against Muslims are more likely to target women than men. Data pulled from a United Kingdom phone hotline for victims of Islamophobic crimes shows, excluding online threats, women are targeted 58 percent of the time. In a staggering 80 percent of these crimes, the targeted Islamic women were dressed in the traditional Muslim niqab veil or other religious clothing.
Class tensions between Muslims and other Britons have long been an issue of contention. With this concrete data, Fiyaz Mughal, from the organization Faith Matters, commissioned a deeper study of Islamophobic crime. Dr. Chris Allen, from the University of Birmingham in the UK, conducted the survey. His aim was to give voice to those targeted women so as to advance the conversation of Islamophobic crimes in the UK.
The voices included in Dr. Allen’s study, called Maybe We Are Hated, paint an unpleasant picture of female Muslim life in the UK.
A woman being called “Rachel” tells of being run over after asking a motorist to move a car blocking her driveway. The motorist shouted, “I’m gonna pop you, Muslim.” Other women tell of constant harassment from local youth. A woman called “Shareefa” tells of being called “ninja” and having fireworks put in her mailbox.
“I was scared to go out on the street [without] some sort of self-defense class…to defend myself and protect my children,” said Shareefa. “It made me think [of] every [look] as being anti-Muslim.”
Attitudes such as this, according to Dr. Allen’s studies, can only deepen the psychic divide between Muslims and British society. Feeling they’ll never be accepted as “British,” many Muslims retreat to the safety of Muslim social groups. Among those predisposed to Islamophobic crimes, this self-segregation often fuels the fires of hatred.
The hope is that through knowledge, Muslims and British society can reconcile their differences, real and imagined.