EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS GUIDE ABOUT WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE ISLAMOPHOBIA.
Following the EU referendum anti-Muslim hate monitoring groups have reported a sharp rise – 326 per cent – in Islamophobic attacks.
And it’s not just the UK. France’s increasingly anti-Muslim rhetoric came to a head with the implementation of burkini bans in more than 30 coastal areas, and armed police enforcing the arbitrary municipal decrees.
Twenty-two year old illustrator Marie-Shirine Yener, who goes by the nom de plume “Maeril” lives in Paris. She decided to created a guide to give people advice on how they can help Muslims who are being harassed.
Maeril based her strategy on “non-complementary behaviour” a concept in psychology which aims to disrupt an oppressive connection a potential attacker is attempting to establish with the target.
The guide was initially posted on The Middle Eastern Feminist Facebook page.
Talk to the victim, ignore the attacker
Talk about something random
Continue to engage the Muslim man/woman in conversation, building a safe space as you ignore the attacker
Stay with them until the attacker leaves, and escort them to a neutral area
indy100 caught up with Maeril to ask about her illustration:
What inspired you to create the guide?
As a Middle-Eastern woman of Iranian and Armenian – from the Turkish/Kurdish diaspora – descent, but also as a Parisian woman living in a very diverse neighbourhood, I have been exposed to Islam throughout my life and have a lot of respect for religions.
I have also witnessed, during the last months and years, the number of hate-motivated actions against Muslims increase rapidly. I felt like I had to try to do something with what I have, and that is drawing and writing.
I also speak through videos but I figured an illustrated guide would be much more intelligible to a massive audience. I didn’t expect it to go that viral, though!
Is verbal harassment of Muslims common in France now?
I hear stories of harassment from everywhere around me: through my friends, my followers (as I’m making a comic about institutionalised racism and got testimonies from Muslim women who described really cruel behaviours from their harassers), the media…
I do believe a lot of these attacks go under the radar as they are not being reported, since the police is known to be unsupportive of the Muslim community.
Your guide is really popular online…
I’m really happy, actually. I had a dream for that guide, that it gets enough impact and recognition so that it can actually change things for real; now that it’s gone viral, I genuinely believe it is possible.
I’ve been really moved by all the warm, welcoming responses from most people, and I hope it helped Muslim people feel supported!
And your guide doesn’t just help Muslims, right?
My guide can be applied to other types of harassment and I knew that from the moment I decided to create it. I deliberately chose to focus on Muslims because they have become a target of choice.
I think it is important to empower specific, vulnerable minorities because they need it the most; I however encourage everyone to apply this method to every kind of harassment they witness.
Don’t let our Muslim brothers and sisters down when you see they need assistance!
Images courtesy of Maeril. You can find more of her thought-provoking work on her website.
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