This week, the UK marks its fifth annual Hate Crime Awareness Week.
It was launched at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Sunday and is followed by a series of events around the country.
The theme of this year’s Hate Crime Awareness Week is ‘Standing Together’. This sends a powerful message around the world that Britons are united in fighting prejudice, racism and homophobia.
We stand together, whatever our faith, sexuality or ethnicity, against hate and violence.
It is important, as British Muslims, that we recognise the freedoms we have.
Terrorist groups such as Daesh peddle the idea that non-Muslim Britons – and our government – hate us. They say that we must reject British values, other religions and LGBT rights.
Nothing is further from the truth.
Hate Crime Awareness Week reminds us that the biggest thing we must reject is hate.
Britain is a place where we can be ourselves, regardless of who we are or what we believe. We have legal protections against anyone who commits a crime against us which is driven by hate. As British Muslims, we are part of an amazing ideology that celebrates diversity and difference.
Hate Crime Awareness Week gives us the opportunity to focus our thoughts on those less fortunate – those who are living under the brutal control of Daesh or have been radicalised by online terrorists into a hateful ideology.
Back home, the week is also a good time to remind ourselves what constitutes a hate crime and what we should do if we are a victim of it.
If you are targeted because of hostility or prejudice towards your disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity, then you are a victim of a hate crime.
You should report this to the police, not only to bring the perpetrators to justice but also because the authorities can work to prevent these incidents happening to anyone else. You will also help the police understand the extent of hate crime in your local area so they can better respond to it.
This is an important way in which you can stand together with your community and rail against hate.
United, we can stamp out hate altogether.
Our work on misogyny tackles the impact of discrimination against women and how it can manifest in public and private life. Too often discrimination comes from within the community and we aim to stand against this while empowering women to be able to react against it in the most effective way.
We can also assist with other concerns you may have. Get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.
You can report a hate crime via the Report It website. In an emergency always dial 999.
National Hate Crime Awareness Week runs from 8 - 15 October 2016.