By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor
Speakers addressed crowd on College Green before impassioned protestors marched through the city centre.
A group of 70-100 peaceful protestors gathered shortly after 1pm today on College Green to take a stand against Islamophobia.
The protest was organised by Khadija Meghrawi, a Bristol University student and Chair of the University’s BME Network.
The protest went ahead today with official permission, after previously having to be called off due to coronavirus regulations.
Protestors meeting on College Green heard speeches from people including protest organiser Khadija and Bristol alumna and recipient of the Diana Award, Nasra Ayub.
The first speech, made by Khadija, professed that ‘the systemic injustice of racism and Islamophobia leads to the normalization of racial hatred and bullying.’
Speaking on the portrayal of Muslims in the media, Khadija said: ‘Time and time again divisive words about Muslims are plastered across the headlines, we are made to feel vulnerable, marginalised and unaccepted by society.
‘The conflation of Muslims and Islam with violence has become distressingly commonplace, even in the UK.’
Referring to events abroad, Khadija stated that ‘the recent politics in France has taken this to new heights... the isolated actions of a killer were made the responsibility of an entire community.’
Former Bristol student Nasra Ayub spoke about the particular experience of Black Muslims and called upon people to ‘be sure to be inclusive towards Muslims around you’, saying ‘it is time for us to step up and help eradicate Islamophobia.’
Former @Bristol_SU Undergraduate Officer, Nasra Ayub, criticises recent actions of the French government before also condemning the recent decision to mark the death of Shukri Abdi as an accident. pic.twitter.com/rFySYY4DOm— Epigram (@EpigramPaper) December 6, 2020
Also speaking at the protest was Said Burale, the Vice-Chair of the Bristol Somali Community Forum, who said: ‘there is a lot of institutionalized racism in Bristol... we always discuss the Islamophobia issue in Bristol.’
Following the speeches, the demonstrators marched from College Green to Castle Park, carrying placards and chanting expressions of solidarity with Muslims, such as: ‘March for Muslims’, ‘No to Islamophobia’, ‘Stand for Muslims’, ‘Emmanuel Macron shame on you’, ‘Free Speech is not hate speech’.
As they marched, protestors called out the name of Shukri Abdi, the child refugee who drowned in an incident in Bury in 2019.
Two days ago, the inquest into her death reached a finding of accidental death which has caused controversy.
Describing Shukri Abdi’s case as a ‘complete injustice’, Khadija Meghrawi said Shukri was ‘not given justice in her life and now not given justice after her death... we cannot forgive and move on until her and her family have the justice they deserve.’
Addressing the crowd at Castle Park, Khadija spoke again saying ‘if you stand for Muslims, you must stand for Muslims everywhere’, before inviting forward members from the protest who wished to speak.
Featured Image: Epigram / Filiz Gurer
Epigram will carry an interview with protest organiser Khadija Meghrawi in our 353rd issue published digitally on 8 December.