Being the victim of any kind of physical abuse can be scary but being attacked because of the way you look and what you represent can be extremely damaging.
Maryam Akram,25, now personal trainer and boxing coach was the victim of an Islamophobic attack, in London, when she was walking home from university on an evening.
Islamophobia is the term used to describe any kind of hate or dislike regarding Islam, it’s teachings and the followers of this religion.
In a recent study conducted by TELLMAMA and and North Eastern universities in England, statistics show that nearly 85% of all Muslims surveyed has experienced some form of Islamophobia.
33% of non-Muslims who were interviewed as part of the study, highlighted that they had faced some form of Islamophobia due to misidentification or having witnessed someone else’s experience.
The mother of two was only eighteen when she experienced this attack but the impacts of it have lasted for years to come, with nightmares and living in a state of fear.
In the past couple of years, hate crime and more specifically Islamophobic attacks have been on the rise.
After Boris Johnson called ladies who wear the veil “letterboxes” and “bank robbers,” TELLMAMA, an anti-Muslim crime reporting website noted a 375% rise in attacks.
“Because I outwardly appear as Muslim, as I wear a headscarf and abaya, I feel the chances of an Islamophobic attack are greater.
“I had to make lifestyle changes, so that I was never outside alone because of the fear of another attack.”
The perpetrators of this crime, knew that alcohol is forbidden in Islam and Muslims abstain from touching, drinking and being in the vicinity of it.
“By throwing alcohol over me, it was a sign that they did it because I looked Muslim.”
In a world where acceptance and tolerance of other religions seem to be on the decline, choosing to wear a scarf and openly identify yourself as Muslim can be a constant struggle.
“It’s important for girls to learn how to protect themselves and I thoroughly advise them to learn some form of self-defence.
“You might not ever need to use it but it will give you confidence in yourself that if anything was to happen, you know how to handle yourself.”