Tomorrow (Wednesday 29th February 2012), I’ll be speaking at the Birmingham launch of the new “TELL MAMA” project.
“TELL MAMA” (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) is a national project that provides support and assistance to those who have suffered Islamophobic or anti-Muslim attacks. Those contacting the new service will not only have their incident recorded, they will also receive support in the form of a a signposting and guidance service run through Faith Matters.
As well as supporting victims, the project will also map, measure and analyse areas or hotspots where Islamophobic and anti-Muslim attacks are taking place with the intention of publishing an annual report outlining the types of attacks, areas and possibly reasons why the attacks have taken place. In many ways, TELL MAMA seeks to mirror the work of the Community Security Trust (CST) which monitors anti-Semitic hate crimes against Jewish communities across England.
Without doubt, this service is necessary and long overdue. Research into Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime has continued to show how the vast majority of incidents go unreported. This has been recorded by the Open Society Institute in 2004, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism & Xenophobia in 2007 and in my own research. But it was only through a report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2009 which highlighted the real scale of the problem, claiming that in some European locations almost 80% of victims of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime were unlikely to report their experience.
The launch of TELL MAMA is therefore a welcome development.
As I wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph in 2010, there has been a real need for some time for an organisation to work along the lines of the CST in providing support to victims of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim attack. It seems that Faith Matters will now be offering that very service.
Spaces are still available for anyone wishing to attend the Birmingham launch at the Central Library Theatre in the city centre. To reserve a place, contact either hanna@faith-matters or 0207 935 5573.
TELL MAMA is supported by the government and was mentioned in the Department for Communities & Local Government’s new Integration Strategy which was launched on 21 February 2012.