Islamophobia is one form of discrimination that contributes to Muslim women’s experiences of vulnerability in public and online spaces. However, there is very little education for girls and women on how to respond to offline and online hate.
And to counter this, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) has launched a unique national anti-Islamophobia social media campaign.
Titled #Hate2Healing, the campaign is being unveiled during Islamic Heritage Month in October, aims at highlighting stories of Islamophobia and racism, as experienced by Canadian Muslim women, girls and non-binary people.
“The campaign is part of CCMW’s Digital Anti-Racism Education 2 (D.A.R.E.2) Project, funded by the Government of Canada, and comprises 15 videos of diverse Muslim women across Canada, candidly sharing their lived experiences of hate, racism and Islamophobia and their struggles they faced with being accepted for who they are,” says Firdaus Ali, Manager of the Digital Anti-Racism Education 2 Project with CCMW.
“The campaign uses storytelling to unpack many complex issues around racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, ableism, sexism and more. Issues that we have remained silent about for far too long. We hope that through these empowering video stories, many survivors of hate will come forward to share their own stories on social media and other channels. This will go a long way in helping us heal from the hate pandemic together.”
Islamophobic attacks across Canada have risen at alarming levels. The attacks have not only increased in frequency, and many are directed towards visibly Muslim women and girls. Street racism is often inspired by online hate speech and extremism, which have surged in Canada.
Women who may face multiple forms of discrimination, such as racial or cultural discrimination, homophobia and transphobia are at an increased risk of cyber violence.
Women ages 18–24 are most likely to experience the most severe forms of online abuse including stalking, sexual harassment and physical threats.
The D.A.R.E.2 Project aims at offering bilingual tools and resources to racialized Muslim women and girls to effectively counter racism, Islamophobia and cyberhate.
As part of the project, CCMW hosted bilingual virtual workshops this summer to train 300+ participants across Canada.
The virtual workshops helped participants gain an increased understanding of how Islamophobia further marginalizes Black and Indigenous Muslims, queer Muslims and Muslims living with disabilities.
“Understanding diverse intersectional identities and how they impact Islamophobia is extremely important. Countering cyberhate is also very important for the safety and well being of women and young girls. Evidence shows that while people of all genders experience cyberviolence, women and girls are at greater risk of experiencing violence online, especially severe types of harassment and sexualized abuse.,” adds Ali.
Participants attending both workshops received a certificate in Digital Anti-Racism Education. Community workshops will also be held across Canada this fall and led by participants trained in the summer.
In a bid to expand anti-racism and anti-Islamophobia footprints across Canada, CCMW encourages all communities to engage on this important project.
“Projects like D.A.R.E. 2 are important because they help start uncomfortable conversations. It’s unpacking these issues individually and collectively, that help our communities begin their beautiful journey towards recovery, healing and reconciliation,” says Ali.
For more information about the D.A.R.E.2 Project, please visit: www.daretobeaware.ca