December 1, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

King’s students in Social Justice and Peace students learned first-hand about the effects of Islamaphobia on November 26, 2015, when representatives from London’s Muslim Resource Centre spoke to Interdisciplinary Studies/Social Justice and Peace Studies, course, IS 2240, The Social Networks of Power and Privilege. The talk focused on the implications of Islamaphobia for Muslim women in the community, particularly after the recent focus on Muslim women in the recent Canadian Federal election and in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

Sumayya Tobah and Gina Kayssi shared with students how Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab or niqab are particularly vulnerable to public harassment and personal violence.

The speakers explained that following the recent attacks in Paris, Islamic women worldwide are experiencing a renewed wave of public harassment, forcing many of them to forgo using public transportation, ensuring that they are home before dark and becoming much more vigilant about their surroundings at all times.  The students were challenged to be critical of the stereotypes produced in the media about Islam and Islamic culture. 

Through their work at the MRC, Tobah and Kayssi hope to not only broaden the public discourse on what it means to be Muslim, but to also explore how women choose to wear a hijab and to work toward nonviolence responses to conflict and difference. Students in this course, led by Dr. Allyson Larkin, participate in community based learning placements designed to engage students with cross-cultural communities and socioeconomic difference.