The sad reality of the matter is that is REAL, the need to spread awareness and stand united to dispel and dismantle biases is our collective responsibility.


The UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, defined Islamophobia as: “…a baseless hostility and fear vis-a-vis Islam, and, as a result, a fear of and aversion towards all Muslims or the majority of them.”
According to PERISH: “88% of recorded hate crimes are religiously or racially motivated”. The number of incidents of Islamophobic hate crime is rising: according to Metropolitan Police Force statistics, there were 1,115 Islamophobic hate crimes reported in 2015/16, and 1,264 in 2016/17. Between March 2016-March 2017, 143,920 Tweets were sent from the UK that are considered to be derogatory and anti-Islamic — this amounts to 393 a day …….. # IAM 2017 is a way to change this situation.


“92% of victims of hate crime, such as Islamophobia, report that they were “emotionally affected” by the incident and are more than twice as likely to experience fear, difficulty sleeping, anxiety or panic attacks in comparison to victims of crime overall”. Research also suggests that” Twenty children a day excluded for racial abuse, official figures show”(Tes. October 29, 2016). Islamophobia is a growing problem in the UK, with ongoing and sustained fear mongering about Muslims directed from certain sections of the media, this has resulted in anti-Muslim hatred becoming more socially acceptable.


One way to raise awareness of Islamophobia is ‘IAM’ (Islamophobia Awareness Month) throughout November, which aims to raise the profile of anti-Muslim racism and to work together with organisations and the public to counter Islamophobia. There have been many employees and service users who may have been affected by Islamophobia. It is important to understand, act against this form of hatred and stop it from spreading by reporting hate crimes, bringing the media to account and spreading awareness of what Islam is really about. The need to understand and to act is also in line with ‘Touchstone Values’ of diversity, inclusiveness and being culturally competent on all levels.
Touchstone has been working hard to combat negative views and stereotypes spreading further and provides understanding of what are some of the causes and cures to Islamophobia, by working with Muslim Engagement & Development (MEND). The internal Islamaphobia training helps us keep informed for ourselves and service users, and know how to report any hate crimes (see details below). The course covers the basics of what Islam is, dispels myths, looks at the causes and cures of Islamophobia, and how this is having an impact on Mental Health. This is a unique course and led to a nomination for the HR excellence awards this year.
MEND ( is an organisation leading the way in tackling Islamophobia by way of improving participation and engagement of Muslims in public life. They regularly engage with policy makers, schools, universities, local and national government, police and community organisations. In February Touchstone had the CEO of MEND come and deliver an inspiring leadership masterclass that further shed light on what is being done on a national level to tackle Islamophobia.
Rises in Islamaphobia and hate crime are affecting mental health negatively of an already marginalized group and causing high anxiety in much of the Muslim community. From the Touchstone IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service; therapists have been trained to deliver culturally adapted treatments for Muslim clients, which is helping Muslim clients to know Touchstone welcomes diversity and has helped with barriers to accessing the primary care mental health service. This has also had some positive media coverage as Touchstone is one of the first services to be delivering this. Furthermore to increase access in Touchstone services CDS (Community Development Service) and IAPT, Dementia service to name a few and have held mental health awareness and treatment sessions in Leeds Mosques this year to reach the community and provide support.
Click below to see all the MEND events throughout Leeds and surrounding areas in November:
Report all cases of Islamophobia hate to the national hotline 0203 904 6555
Ruqayyah Ghani(Touchstone) & Shabnam Shakoor (Mend)