Muslim women concerned over sharp rise in Islamophobia

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LONDON: Female Muslims spoke out about against a sharp rise in Islamophobia following several deadly attacks in the UK this year. They described how those who practice the religion were “just as worried” about attacks and said “suspicion of all Muslims” is causing a cultural divide on Britain’s streets.
According to an ‘Evening Standard’ report, Dr Fariha Khan, president of the Ahmadiyya Women’s Association in the UK was among those who stood on Westminster Bridge just days after Khalid Masood’s terror attack in March, in which five people died.
The 40-year-old GP, from Surbiton, south-west London, accompanied dozens of others at the event, organised by the Women’s March On London, to openly condemn the murderous rampage. “People have to consider that fear of these attacks is as real for us as it is for them. We are also out there commuting to work or out with our families and children,” she said.
“Being suspicious of ordinary Muslims and the majority of Muslims are peaceful members of the society, will only create divisions among the society.” For hijab-wearing women the attitude has become more hostile, according to two who said they have heard commentsin the street and have both had to report online trolls. Mother-of-two Navida Sayed said: “I’ve definitely felt the coldness in the sense, you know, no-one smiles anymore.” The 49-year-old Hounslow resident, whose mother came to the UK from Pakistan in the 1960s, said she had never felt such Islamophobia.
Londoners march in memory of the Westminster bridge victims “We were all born and brought up here so, apart from the odd racist comment, we’ve never ever experienced this,” she said. Social media allow strolls to spread anti-Muslim hatred more easily, said Slough-born Sarah Ward Khan. She described it as particularly “scary” that US President Donald Trump, who was widely condemned when he re-tweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by a member of right-wing group Britain First, has often made sweeping statements about Islam.