An exodus of British Muslims is happening right under our noses – and still we’re asking whether Islamophobia exists

Voices

As normalised hate trickles from the top down in society, adults and children born and raised here have been left feeling like there’s no choice but to leave

Shayma Bakht
@ShaymaBakht

26th February 2020

independent.co.uk

British Muslims – many who have lived here for generations – are packing up their belongings, parting ways with their loved ones, established careers and the country they were born in to move to somewhere safer. In recent years, the rates of hate crimes against religious minorities in the UK has rocketed, and for some, it has just become too dangerous to stay. There is an exodus happening in Britain, and no one has even blinked an eye.

Contrary to the mainstream narrative that veiled and bearded people are flooding through our borders, a significant number of Muslims are leaving their homeland because of rising rates of targeted religious hate crimes. Despite this reality, harmful discourse in the media, politics and places of power continues to contribute to an increasingly hostile environment that is driving British Muslims away.

Sama Khan, who requested for her real name to be protected, is moving to Pakistan with her three children, her husband and her mother in the summer. She was born in the affluent London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and her parents came to the UK during Partition. Sama told me: “I wouldn’t want to leave. This is where I’ve been born and bred. My family’s here … everyone’s here. But I have to think about the future and my kids. If we stay, they’ll face discrimination – and their kids and their kids after them. I don’t want them to feel like second-class citizens. I don’t want them to be miserable.”

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