After the Charlie Hebdo attacks last January in Paris, there was a six-fold rise in Islamophobic hate crimes during the first quarter of 2015 compared to the year before – that’s 220 incidents reported over a three-month span.
And now, with the recent Paris attacks, the French-Muslim community are bracing themselves for more fall-out —
“I’m afraid people will blame the Muslim community,” says Dounia Benallal, a 23-year-old student at the Paris-Sorbonne University and member of the Muslim Students in France. “After the Hebdo attacks we faced a rise in Islamophobia and it was worse for female Muslims. They were physically assaulted by people on the street. [The attackers] focus on women because they see females as weaker.”
As a Muslim woman who wears the hijab, Ms. Benallal has started to notice people staring at her in the streets in Paris. “They way they look at you sometimes, you can feel they’re afraid. They’re connecting you with ISIS and terrorism. For them, I’m responsible for what happened.”