“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action.”
— Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace)
The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) launched a national anti-racism campaign entitled, ‘Against Racism, Against Hatred’ on Saturday 28th February 2015. The purpose of the campaign was to promote peace and tolerance, by understanding common views about racism in modern British society, and how Muslims could assist in collectively tackling it.
iERA reached out to the British public through this campaign by engaging and educating the masses on the topic of racism. The initiative came in the wake of the controversial German far-right PEGIDA movement’s decision to hold its first UK rally in Newcastle upon Tyne. iERA mobilised scores of Muslim volunteers across the country to oppose PEGIDA’s message of hate with the message of love, and to counter their divisive rhetoric with the message of understanding.
There were iERA volunteers on the ground in London, Luton, Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester, Bradford, Glasgow, Dundee and Newcastle upon Tyne, on the day of the campaign launch. The teams also conducted surveys and engaged in dialogue with people of all religious and political persuasions, to improve their understanding of a topic which continues to affect millions of people today.
One of the focuses of the survey was to understand people’s experiences of racism, and to ascertain whether there is a general consensus that it is still embedded within British society. The survey went further to understand if the public understood Islamophobia, and whether they perceived it to be a new form of racism in our society. The teams educated the public about the Islamic stance on racism, and raised awareness of Islamophobia, and the dangers it presents to community cohesion.
The ‘Against Racism, Against Hatred’ campaign was supported by the Islamic Diversity Centre (IDC), Myriad Foundation, Show Racism the Red Card, and 5Pillars News.
Head of Education and Research at iERA, Hamza Tzortzis, was amongst the diverse line up of speakers at the anti-PEGIDA counter-demo. Speaking to a crowd of more than 2,000 people, he highlighted the importance of people of faith and no faith to unite for the good of humanity by opposing hate and intolerance, citing the following verse of the Qur’an:
“We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into different races and tribes so that you should recognise one another…” [The Qur’an, Chapter 49, Verse13]
The scenes of people of all faiths and races getting involved and supporting iERA’s campaign demonstrated that Muslims are at the forefront of taking lead in addressing societal problems by providing faith based solutions
For more information about Islam’s views against racism, please visit: OneReason.org/AgainstRacism