An international event aiming to break fears and prejudices against Muslims and promote empathy has been launched in King’s Cross station in central London, the capital of Britain.
The event this week will see young Muslims promoting mutual understanding in public places in various countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, France and Austria.
The Islamic Community Milli Gorus (ICMG) group said in a statement on Thursday that thousands of young Muslims living in Europe, Australia and Canada will take to the streets to deliver “their ‘Hello, I am a Muslim’ message to introduce themselves”.
“Contacting people individually is the most natural and the best way of promoting understanding and empathy,” the ICMG said.
“We have prepared the ‘Hello, I am a Muslim’ events to encourage mutual communication and cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims,” said Kemal Ergun, the group’s president.
More than 500 mosques across Europe will also take part in the initiative, according to the ICMG statement.
A study into the day-to-day experiences of British Muslims, carried out by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in 2016, found a sharp rise in the number of people reporting verbal abuse and an increase in the number of physical attacks since the survey was last undertaken in 2010.
Religious or racially aggravated offences increased in the months leading up to the vote – from about 3,500 recorded incidents in April 2016 to more than 5,000 in June of the same year. In June 2017, reported hate crimes peaked at 6,000.
Muslims and their centres in Germany and Spain have also been the target of hate crimes.
There were 950 attacks on Muslims and mosques in Germany in 2017, according to new government figures.
In Spain, more than 500 Islamophobic incidents were recorded in the same year, including incidents against women and children and several mosques, according to a civil society group.
A mosque in the town of Roosendaal in the Netherlands, was set on fire in November 2015.