What do our communities need?
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
As part of our reach-out initiative, Khidr Collective went to Stratford on the 3rd July 2017, to chat to folk and specifically young British Muslims about “what our communities need.” The aim of the day was to engage with Muslims in Stratford to gain an understanding of the issues that remain prevalent amongst our communities, and what we as a collective can do to make a difference.
The London borough of Newham, has a staggering 43.1% Muslim population and the event encouraged members of the public to identify one thing that the Muslim communities needed to thrive. The responses of the public were overwhelming; some participants stated housing as a priority; some spoke of their emotional suffering and the need for love, patience and unity to exist as systems of support — offering a wide range of perspectives in to the lives of British Muslims.
Misrepresentation in the media was a recurring theme, whereby participants felt that they were being unfairly targeted by the UK media. This had tangible effects on their daily lives; one young female Muslim woman talked about how the hijab affected the way she manoeuvred public transport due to people staring at her as if she “was going to do something”. The frustration of being singled out when you are “just a normal person trying to get somewhere” was echoed across participants. Others worried about job opportunities, and the pressure to take off the hijab in order to progress their careers.
The connection between media and the public perception of Muslims was irrefutable. Majority of the participants identified that the media had a major influence in regulating the way that Muslims are represented and as such treated. The effect of such actions on the everyday lives of Muslims, from taking the bus to being turned down for a job were implicitly understood at all levels. Many participants felt that opportunities for Muslims to offer their perspectives to counter such misrepresentation, were just not there.
In light of the above, the need for a space for young British Muslims to express themselves is necessary in countering the gross negligence of communities that result in tragedies like Grenfell. Zain Dada (member of Khidr Collective) stated that the event was linked to how British Muslims can “really take care of themselves” in the circumstances we live in. Therefore the opportunity for British Muslims to voice their opinions is crucial in combatting anti-Islamic rhetoric and has to be provided.
Watch the full video below and let us know what you think our communities need via our socials media:
facebook: Khidr Collective