Muslims use social media to counter rising Islamophobia

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SHAFAQNA – Outraged by what they call a surge in racial profiling following the November terror attacks in Paris, Muslims in Europe are striking back on social media. They are publicly shaming the police officers allegedly using racial profiling techniques for stop and searches, posting detailed exchanges with said officers, and sharing photographic evidence of the damage done after what they describe as wrongful raids.

French journalist Driss Abdi took to Twitter to denounce what he called racial profiling at Munich Airport. “Racial profiling in Germany? Only one stopped exiting the plane, I guess I’m a bit too brown #racism #police,” he tweeted, alongside a photograph of a female police officer who appeared to be checking his data at the airport.

Yassine Belattar published this Facebook post: “I haven’t felt 15 years old in ages……We all want security but we do not want security everywhere in our lives. I was stopped and searched by the effects, not by the causes. I will never accept racial profiling and I cannot accept these fake speeches. #Everyoneonedge.”

An activist/journalist/politician on the scene, Madjid Messaoudene, tweeted this picture of the officers holding Belattar for questioning, adding: “at the police station of Gare du Nord. Arab with a beard but it’s not racial profiling eh.”

On Jan. 7, Marwan Muhammad, an author and former adviser on xenophobia to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, posted his full exchange with police on Facebook after arriving in Poland on a flight from Paris.

“Upon arriving at Warsaw airport, as I left the plane, I was stopped by the border police agents (yes, I have once again won the lottery for the “random” check)

I hand them my French passport and answer their questions. Once they’re done with the interrogation, I hand them my diplomatic pass from the OSCE. My turn to ask questions:

Marwan: Why are you stopping and searching me?

Agent 1: We’re checking everyone.

Agent 2: This is a random procedure, you’re not the only one.

Marwan: You’re controlling 3 people out of the 120 people who were on board, which amounts to 2.5% of the passengers. We’re far from an “egalitarian” approach to security. But the number of stopped people is less interesting to me than the type of people you’re stopping. Why did you stop me and not the woman in blue or the guy with the hat?

Agent 1, in an aside to Agent 2 (in Polish): Be careful

Agent 2: It’s because we identify the risks.

Marwan: There you go. So please explain, very precisely, in my behavior or in my look, what represents a potential risk?

Agent 2: First of all you’re coming from France. Then there are indicators of risk: your skin, your beard and also your eyes.

Marwan: My eyes?

Agent 2: Yes, the way you look at things

Marwan: Ok so let me sum this up. You’ve just profiled me racially on the base of cultural and/or religious indicators. This being said, racial discrimination is prohibited, in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. Give me your service numbers, both of you. Now one last question. I suggest you think hard before giving me an answer. Was it your idea or one of your superior’s?

Agent 1 and 2: We were trained like this. We were given a list of indicators of the people to check. We’re not the ones who choose…

Marwan: You choose to obey to discriminatory and racist measures. Others have come before you alas… but this does not excuse you in any way.”

On Dec. 9, after having her house raided by French police, a woman going by the Twitter handle Sara posted a photo of the damage. It shows her red door knocked in, apparently by a battering ram: “I am a mother the police searched my apartment after 1h30 they didn’t find anything #searchme.”

Similarly, on Dec 8, Baytouna, a French non-profit tied to Muslim aid groups and that helps homeless women, blasted French police on Facebook for wrongly raiding their offices as part of a wave of 3,200 raids since the November attacks in Paris.

“Shameful! Tonight, at 8 pm, baytouna house has just been raided. Knocking down all the doors and turning everything in their path, the forces of chaos ransacked what a place of rest and healing for our sisters abused by life. What security threat requiring such action is presented by a handful of women and children?! We are deeply shocked and appalled. The state of emergency make us fear the worst in the months to come.

 

 

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