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FOSIS responds to the rise of Islamophobia on campuses following the human rights violations in Palestine

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The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (“FOSIS”), stands as the united voice of over 100 Islamic Societies across educational institutions in the UK and Ireland, committed to addressing critical issues that resonate with our community. Our mission is to ensure that the voices and needs of Muslim students are heard and respected. The siege and bombardment of Palestinians has led to a deeply troubling increase in Islamophobia on campus and in wider society, leading to growing anxiety and concern for Muslim students.

Students have the fundamental right to express their support for the Palestinian people in their struggle against occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, and FOSIS, as the representative body for over 350,000 Muslim students, stands firmly behind their right to do so. We advocate for a tolerant and inclusive atmosphere on campuses where Muslim students can thrive without fear, alongside other students. To address this present crisis we recently convened our membership for a roundtable discussion, where a number of harrowing stories highlighting the growth of Islamophobia on campuses and silencing of Muslim students became clear.

This growing atmosphere of fear, intimidation and intolerance is unacceptable. What must not be forgotten is that Gaza is in the midst of nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe. It has already been under siege for over 16 years, and thus dependent on aid, and marked by a severe lack of essential supplies, including food, clean water, medical care, and shelter. This has now been compounded by over 7,000 bombs to date targeting every civilian infrastructure imaginable in the most densely populated area on earth, as well as the complete stoppage of food, water and fuel entering Gaza. The impact of this crisis extends to every aspect of life for Gazans, leaving them in a total state of desperation. Like any other community, the people of Gaza deserve access to the basic necessities that ensure their survival and well-being.

We cannot stand idly by while innocent men, women, and children endure suffering that no one should ever have to experience. In the past two weeks alone, over 3,000 Palestinian children have been murdered – this is wholly unacceptable by any standard of international law, or religion. As students, we recognise the moral duty to advocate for justice and compassion. FOSIS firmly believes in the necessity of addressing not just the immediate humanitarian need but also the root causes of suffering. We advocate for an end to the occupation and apartheid that have perpetuated this crisis and countless injustices faced by the Palestinian people, including imprisonment without charge or trial, and displacement from homes and land owned for many generations.

The collective responsibility to address this crisis transcends borders and politics. It is a matter of humanity. FOSIS is committed to raising awareness about this issue, mobilising support, and working towards a world where every person, regardless of their circumstances, can live in dignity and hope. We implore everyone to join us in this cause, to be a voice for the voiceless.

FOSIS calls upon:

  1. All Student Unions’ leadership to engage with their relevant Islamic Societies and ensure the fears and concerns of students are heard and addressed.
  2. Leadership of educational institutions to ensure the right to free speech is adhered to for all students and Muslim students to not face discrimination on campus for exercising this right.
  3. Muslim students to contact their local Islamic Society representatives if they are subjected to discrimination or intimidation on campus.
  4. Islamic Society representatives to contact FOSIS if they are subjected to censorship or discrimination to receive support and advice with cases of discrimination or intimidation on campus.

[End] Notes

  1. FOSIS (est. 1963) is a national umbrella organisation aimed at supporting and representing Islamic Societies and Muslim Students in Higher and Further Education within the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  2. Human Rights Watch: Israel Still Blocking Aid to Civilians in Gaza – https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/10/23/israel-still-blocking-aid-civilians-gaza
  3. 2,000 children killed in Gaza, aid group says, as tempers flare at UN amid ceasefire calls – https://edition.cnn.com/2023/10/24/middleeast/israel-hamas-gaza-war-tuesday-intl-hnk/index.html
  4. Islamophobic offences up 140% in London: Police – https://www.arabnews.com/node/2394856/world
  5. For more information or requests please email [email protected]