Racial insensitivity and cultural appropriation have left members of the team feeling ‘ostracised’Written by Grace Duncan on 16th May 2018
Nazi Swastikas and Islamophobic Statement found graffitied on campus
A number of Swastikas and 'Islam must die' have been discovered graffitied on campus
Incidents of Islamophobic and antisemitic graffiti were today reported at the University of Birmingham. Multiple swastikas were sprayed outside the psychology building and another saying ‘Islam must die’, with a swastika underneath. All relevant groups have now been informed, including campus security and the police, with the West Midlands Police now investigating the matter. The graffiti has now been removed by the University.
It has also emerged that a mosque in Selly Oak was attacked with Islamophobic graffiti. The West Midlands Police Sergeant for Edgbaston, Pete Sandhu, said: 'Mindless hate of this kind has no place in 21st century Birmingham and work is underway to find the person responsible. My officers have visited both sites and spoken to a number of people. Evidential photographs have been taken and CCTV which may have captured the vandal is currently being reviewed'. The incidents are being treated as related. The police are asking anyone with information regarding the vandalism to call 101 or Crimestoppers.
Some students have raised their concerns that religions and minority groups, particularly Islam and Judaism, are being targeted. Jewish students have expressed concern over the graffiti, with many seeing it as anti-Semitic as well as Islamophobic. Nick Gee, who witnessed the graffiti told Redbrick, ‘in light of what has happened in recent weeks, it is scary to think there are people out there who have these thoughts. Campus should remain a safe space for everyone. Every student, irrespective of his or her race, religion, gender or sexuality should feel no fear or intimidation walking into campus’.
Emily Kay, third year psychology student, 'It's shocking and unsettling that, even in places like UoB that prides itself on its rich multi-cultural and multi-faith make-up, hostility to any minority group exists to this degree. It's also saddening that in the aftermath of the Paris attacks people have seemingly decided to react with anger rather than coming together to eliminate hatred'.
A representative from the Islamic Society told Redbrick, ‘we are deeply saddened and shocked at this Islamaphobic campaign, which condemns all Muslims without justification. This is a prime example of racist propaganda, designed to stir up hatred and only serves to alienate Muslim students from the rest.’
Chloe Rose, a third year English Literature student told Redbrick, ‘I’m definitely not surprised by it. After the rise in tensions in Israel over the summer it was definitely a worry what the public reaction would be, especially coming back to university, with such a large Jewish presence’. She went on to state, ‘It's disgusting that people think it's okay to draw swastikas on campus, but I will not let anti- Semitism push me into hiding and fear. The actions last week in France show that there has always been a latent anti-Semitism and now its rising to the surface again.’
“I believe this is the result of the actions of a small, ignorant minority
In regard to the University policy, Chloe told Redbrick, ‘I feel like the best thing for the university to do would be to openly condemn it and ensure that we have more support, so we don’t have to be afraid on campus in fear of anti-Semitism.’
The Guild has a Zero-Tolerance approach stipulating that all forms of harassment whether based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other characteristic should not be tolerated. The University additionally states, ‘we celebrate our diversity and provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the community’.