Image Source: Nisha Kazi
Students at the University of Kent expressed their support for Muslims after letters were sent urging violence against them on April 3, so-called “Punish a Muslim Day.”
Members of the UKC Islamic Society held a solidarity march outside of Darwin College, after letters and online images circulated in March advocating a points-based system for the performance of violent acts against members of the Muslim community.
“Punish a Muslim Day” Letter
The event’s Facebook page wrote: “As just one of many small university communities across the UK, we have experienced first-hand the unsettling this action has invoked.
Unfortunately, it is not the first time we have found ourselves resigned to this position, and it is unlikely to be the last. We are thankful for having built such strong ties with all the local communities here in Canterbury; as people we should seek to include, and not exclude.
“Together we must unite in the face of such disgusting acts and make it clear that this is not acceptable on campus grounds. But it is not enough to only have a voice – we need others to listen.”
InQuire’s Newspaper Entertainment Editor, Emmanuel Omodeinde, was there at the march which he described as having “a sombre atmosphere.”
“The president-elect of ISOC said it was peaceful March. We were doing it in solidarity for Muslims who have been targeted. She asked for us to be silent and not angry. Douglas Carr gave a speech saying that any sort of racism or hate will not be tolerated. Kent Union’s President-Elect Aaron Thompson spoke supporting the message, closing the march by thanking everyone for coming out. He told a story about how last year when Britain first verbally abused Muslims in Kent, there was a march organised where 600 people marched and it was great to see that support and solidarity once again today.”
Kent Union told InQuire: “We want to be clear that such islamophobic behaviour should not be tolerated and we stand in solidarity with our students and with the Muslim community against this. No one should be made to feel unsafe. No one should be a victim of violence because of their religious beliefs.”
Across the world, the #PunishAMuslimDay and counter-hashtag #LoveAMuslimDay, as well as #WeStandTogether, trended on Twitter, with more than 42,000 tweets sent.
Muslims were urged to ignore the threats directed at them, with the organisation Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim hate crime, sharing safety tips on Twitter, as well as advising any victims of hate crime to report abuse.