Does a UK University provide safe environment to Muslims?

Britain is proud of being a multicultural society and is also one of the countries that have relatively large Muslim communities – but is it really a nice and loving environment for them or are the negative things Muslims experience much more?

Many of the Muslim students shared that they sometimes are faced with “Islamophobia”, and some of them have felt isolated.

Safia Raja, a student at University of Essex, shared that she loves her religion and she does enjoy practicing it because it brings her peace. “I choose to do things in the religion that are difficult because I believe I am doing it for God, not everything in the religion or in life is suppose to be easy, a lot is a test and struggle so I am happy to go through it for the sake of God”

She also shared that sometimes she feels like she is different and do not belong here because of her ethnicity and religion. But in University she does not feel this much isolated because of the diversity, ISOC and accepting atmosphere and she had never experinced islamophobia on campus or in uni.

“I personally haven’t had many problems with other people and no major ones. But a lot of Muslims have had bad experiences with people and problems practicing their religion in peace. I’ve known people who have got bad islamophobia, mostly other girls who have had their scarves pulled off or been attacked”, added Safia.

This is the reason why some the people, practicing this religion are sometimes ashamed of it or are scared to voice it out if they have problems.

“To the people who are ashamed of their religion I would say they shouldn’t be. I would say to stay strong in faith and Islam, be shoot and grateful for your religion and unapologetic to be Muslim. We will all go through struggles and be tested and we believe God will reward us. It says in the Quran ‘after difficultly comes ease’ and ‘God will not burden a man more than he can bare’. Therefore Muslims need to know life is a test which they will be rewarded for and Islam is a gift.” – shared Safia Raja.

Sharifah Hani Yasmin, a VP International at University of Essex, shared her thoughts about is it safe to practice your own religion in the UK.

“I think when you are living in a country like the UK, where everyone is free to practice whatever religion they want, you have a lot more freedom. You are not pressured to practice if you don’t want to, it is really up to you, whereas if you are in a country that really focuses on that one religion then you are expected to practice it.”

She had had a challenge in being confident when she had to do things. But at the end of the day she just realized that “if you are passionate, feel free to do everything you want to do, as long it is legal of course.”

She had to gain more confidence in order to fully be able to be herself here.

“I joined a lot of societies where I met a lot of people and a lot of them were international students and looking at them being so passionate when doing things it made me realize that there was no difference between them and me. If they could do it I could do it as well. The more you see yourself in others the more you personally feel like you can achieve the same things as them. It was not a quick progress. It took me like 6 months to fully settle in and to feel that I can do everything that I wanted to do.”

Yasmin also shared that she had had Muslim girls come to her and tell her that they had been screamed at most of them by people from the town. They had been told to go back in their own country.

“There was this girl who came to me and told me that she was actually being pushed over by some people in the town. She said she did not do anything except mining her own business and she even heard them laughing about it.”

Some people are scared and don’t want to voice these things up because they think there is nothing that can be done about it but they need to know that there is always things that can be done.

“If you feel like you are being bullied or if you feel like someone is mistreating you because of your religion definitely voice it out. The best thing you can do is to talk to your friends, because they may have had the same experiences. You can always talk to a university member as well. The most important thing to know is that you personally have done nothing wrong. People mistreat you not because of something that you have done but because it is a reflections of their negativity. Never be ashamed of voicing things out because there is always help available.”

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