Recent data from researchers at California State University, San Bernardino found that hate crimes against Muslim Americans were up 78% this year. “We are clearly seeing a spike in attacks on individual Muslims and Islamic institutions in New York and around the country, which should be of concern to all Americans,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement on Islamophobia.
A French artist named Maeril decided to take defensive action and has thus created a comic on how to help possible victims of Islamophobia. “I’m focusing on protecting Muslims as they have been very specific targets lately,” the artist explained on social media. “As a French Middle Eastern woman, I wanted to try and do something to raise awareness on how to help when such things happen before our eyes—that way one cannot say they ‘didn’t know what to do.’ ”
Here’s Maeril’s full post on Tumblr:
“This is an illustrated guide I made as part of my co-admining work at The Middle Eastern Feminist on Facebook! It will be published there shortly.
The technique that is displayed here is a genuine one used in psychology – I forgot the name and couldn’t find it again so if you know about it, feel free to tell me!
Some could say: “Yes but you can use that technique for instances of harassment other than Islamophobic attacks!”, and my reply is: Sure! Please do so, it also works for other “types” of harassment of a lone person in a public space!!
However I’m focusing on protecting Muslims here, as they have been very specific targets lately, and as a French Middle Eastern woman, I wanted to try and do something to raise awareness on how to help when such things happen before our eyes – that way one cannot say they “didn’t know what to do”!
I’d like to insist on two things:
1) Do not, in any way, interact with the attacker. You must absolutely ignore them and focus entirely on the person being attacked!
2) Please make sure to always respect the wishes of the person you’re helping: whether they want you to leave quickly afterwards, or not! If you’re in a hurry escort them to a place where someone else can take over – call one of their friends, or one of yours, of if they want to, the police. It all depends on how they feel!”
Read here about efforts to combat Islamophobia in the UK, too.