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“Islamophobia is real. Help us make it history.”

Around 260 people from local Muslim community visited the Islamophobia exhibition held by MEND Cardiff. How do Welsh local Muslim communities think of Islamophobia and how are they going to react?

British Muslim journalist, Yvonne Ridley, gave a speech at the Islamophobia exhibition held by MEND (Muslim engagement and development) Cardiff in the Cardiff city hall on 27th November.

Yvonne Ridley, previous deputy editor of Wales on Sunday, considered Brexit as a reason for the increasing Islamophobic hate crimes.

British journalist converted to Islam.

Yvonne Ridley is a British journalist converted to Islam.

“The spread of hate crime in the UK coincides with the fallout of Brexit. The radical writings are getting mainstream’s airtime for its narrative and now there is almost a normalization of anti-Muslim sentiment in neofascist policies.

The growth of the far right is causing concerns around. However this also shows the failure of the Prevent scheme, that the government’s controversial counter radicalization strategy. Because it’s clearly failing to change the attitudes of those on the far right.”

Around 260 people from the local community visited the exhibition which aims to raise awareness of Islamophobia.

The exhibition presented some of the misrepresentations of Muslims in certain media platforms which may fuel the Islamophobia in the UK.

According to statistics from MEND website, from January 2016 to April 2016, media have reported 43 assaults or attacks on Muslims.

“If we run, we will be chased. If we hide, we will be targeted. We have to stand together united, with our non Muslim friends as well,” said Yvonne Ridley.

"I am proud of being British, more specifically Welsh muslim woman."

“I am proud of being British, more specifically Welsh Muslim woman,” said Sahar Al-Faifi.

The chair of MEND Cardiff branch, Sahar Al-Faifi, said: “You will not believe the number of Islamophobic verbal abuses and sometimes physical abuses I face. Because I’m a Muslim woman who chose to wear the face veil out of convictional faith to worship God. But it made me target. I’m an obvious target.”

Sahar Al-Faifi thinks MEND also aims at promoting active citizenship. She said: “I’m an example. I’m a Molecular Geneticist, working in a lab, trying to improve the quality of life for cancer patient. I am educated. I am participating in the public life. I’m not isolated.”

A large part of the MEND's job is done by muslim volunteers like MarIyah Zaman.

A large part of the MEND’s job is done by Muslim volunteers like MarIyah Zaman.

Mariyah Zaman, youth lead of MEND Cardiff working group, said: “I am studying Media and Creative Writing. Hopefully to become a journalist, with the whole purpose of tackling this negative rhetoric about Muslims. I think we need more Muslim girls in the media, because if we use out voices, we wont have other people trying to tell our story for us.”