Activist and lawyer, Deeba Syed, opened up about Islamophobia in the United Kingdom and alleged that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is sanctioning it through his policies and statements. Syed, who was born to an Italian mother and Pakistani father, lived her whole life in London. She claims that she grew up facing hatred and discrimination because of her religion.
''The whole of the UK feels like it's against my heritage right now. There is so much anti-Muslim sentiment everywhere. It's on the news, we have people who wants to ban mosques, Muslim women in burqas are 'letter boxes' and 'bank robbers' – and that's the Prime Minister saying that,'' she said to metro.co.uk.
Islamophobia is fed from the top in Britain
Syed stated that Islamophobia is deep-rooted in the UK and that it is fed by the top politicians of the country, which has created a toxic culture of hate and intolerance towards people of other ethnicities. According to her Islamophobia seems to be normalised and accepted as no one faces strict punishment for perpetuating it.
''You can't help but feel this sentiment is fed down from the absolute top. Islamophobia has become a very accepted kind of bigotry – it feels so normalised, and like it has been completely sanctioned,'' she said.
Brexit made things worse
After the shocking Brexit memorandum in 2016, things became difficult for minorities in the UK as right-wing groups across the country gathered momentum and made their hatred towards Muslims mainstream. ''I feel that all the time. These aren't microaggressions for me; this is very overt, open aggression. When I was a kid I got the message that somehow being Muslim was not a good thing, and I feel it even more now in the wake of the Brexit referendum,'' she remarked.
The culture of "immigrants should be thankful for everything" must stop
Politicians, right-wing groups and ordinary people harbour the notion that immigrants- especially Muslims from other countries, have no right to complain about life in the UK, and should be thankful for everything they have. This attitude has remained unchanged for years, and Syed asserts that this mentality must change.
''I think all children of immigrants have it drilled into their heads that they have to work really, really hard, and that you should always feel so grateful for everything you've been given,'' she summed up.