There are a lot of things to fear in this world, especially recently with all the horror stories we’ve seen on the front page of our newspapers. Although it’s important to always take steps to protect ourselves, sometimes it goes too far. Many people choose to avoid public places nowadays or anything that’s a big gathering such as a festival, or a fun holiday performance. This sort of thing is unfortunate and proves that there are anxieties and fears related to fearing the unknown.
But there’s another sort of fear that this slew of bad events has brought on – Islamophobia. Imagine walking out the door every day, just to do some shopping, and being stared at like you’re a common criminal – even though you’ve never hurt a fly in your life.
Imagine going through security on your way into an event or at the airport and being screened just because someone doesn’t like the way you dress. This is the reality for many Muslims living all over the world, and one filmmaker is trying to help people understand what’s going on!
Maeril lives in Paris and so has seen Islamophobia firsthand countless times.
The illustrator decided to make a series of cartoons showing what Islamophobia is, and how we can stop it.
Take a look:
She aimed the guide specifically to the Islamophobia she was seeing in Paris, but the guide can be used by anyone, anywhere.
This is an illustrated guide I made as part of my co-admining work at The Middle Eastern Feminist on Facebook! It will be published there shortly.
The technique that is displayed here is a genuine one used in psychology — I forgot the name and couldn’t find it again so if you know about it, feel free to tell me!
Some could say: “Yes but you can use that technique for instances of harassment other than Islamophobic attacks!”, and my reply is: Sure! Please do so, it also works for other “types” of harassment of a lone person in a public space!!
However I’m focusing on protecting Muslims here, as they have been very specific targets lately, and as a French Middle Eastern woman, I wanted to try and do something to raise awareness on how to help when such things happen before our eyes – that way one cannot say they “didn’t know what to do”!
I’d like to insist on two things:
1) Do not, in any way, interact with the attacker. You must absolutely ignore them and focus entirely on the person being attacked!
2) Please make sure to always respect the wishes of the person you’re helping: whether they want you to leave quickly afterwards, or not! If you’re in a hurry escort them to a place where someone else can take over — call one of their friends, or one of yours, of if they want to, the police. It all depends on how they feel!
Here are the steps broken down:
1. First, engage conversation with the person being attacked. Ignore the attacker completely.
2. Talk about anything – the weather, the places you’re passing. Make the person being harassed feel safe and the attacker feel they’re being ignored.
3. Keep talking until the attacker leaves. Make eye contact with the person you’re talking to and never give the attacker a glance that will make them think you’re up for a fight.
4. If you find the attacker just won’t give up, bring the person in danger to a safe place where they can get their emotions in check.
The comics Maeril made have been shared thousands of times, with a lot of positive comments!
Do you think Maeril’s strategies are good ones? SHARE these important steps if you think so!