November is Islamophobia awareness month, which highlights the threat of Islamophobic hate crimes and brings us together to show the positive contributions of British Muslims to society. The month also gives us an opportunity to highlight the issues Muslim members in the IWW may face in the workplace.

What is Islamophobia ? defines Islamophobia as: “a prejudice, aversion, hostility, or hatred towards Muslims and encompasses any distinction, exclusion, restriction, discrimination, or preference against Muslims that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

Islamophobia not only refers to a category of hate crime, but pertains to barriers that Muslims face across all areas of public life. This includes, but is not limited to: discrimination at work, such as the failure to be promoted based on achievement; marginalisation from political positions; demonisation based on negative stereotypes within media discourse; and public policies that discriminate against Muslims based on their religious identity.

In the workplace a study found that:

  • CVs with Muslim names being three times more likely to get rejected compared to English-sounding names despite having identical skills and experiences.
  • One in eight Pakistani women being illegally asked at interview about their future plans regarding marriage and family – compared to one in thirty for White women.
  • 50% of women wearing the hijab feeling that they have missed out on clear progression opportunities because of religious discrimination. [Figures from]

If you’re a Muslim in the IWW facing problems in the workplace, please get in touch with me so we as a union can support you or signpost you to relevant services who can. You can contact me at BAME [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk. You can also contact me to join our private forum discussion group, or to find out more about organising in your workplace.