What to do If you are witnessing Islamophobic Harassment ?


This illustrated guide tells you what to do when you see Islamophobia


Islamophobia is On rise. Muslims are harassed at Colleges,at beach ,in the street and almost everywhere .Marie-Shirine Yener (aka Maeril), a 21-year-old artist and illustrator from Paris – has created an illustrated guide for bystanders who see Muslims who are being harassed.

 The guide — in both French and English — first appeared on The Middle Eastern Feminist’s page on Facebook and is based on a technique used in psychology called “non-complementary behavior”.

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!


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This beautiful Infograph has become Viral on Social Media and People are loving It.The illustration was shared thousands of times on Tumblr and people started asking Maeril advice:

One Person asked How he could help Someone If he was a guy?
yo. so i really like your comic about how to help somebody facing anti-muslim harassment but I’ve always wondered about how I, as a guy, can help out a woman facing harassment without making her uncomfortable, particularly if they’re  more traditional. i know to greet a muslim woman without physical contact, but is there anything else i should know?? basically i just don’t want to come across as a secondary threat
Maeril’s advice:

Hi! This is an excellent question.
I am not a Muslim woman and therefore I am not the one to trust 100% on what to do, but I think being REALLY polite and displaying very calm, non-threatening body language should help! Like smile, move calmly, talk in a friendly but not too pushy way… Show them you’re not trying to flirt or anything but to cut them off the violence they’re being faced with!Then again we can never be sure this works at all times, but you can at least try to help that way. If they are distressed by your presence try to adress the attack but by talking to them only, not to the attacker, so they understand you’re here for what they’re facing, not to pester them. Also remember that if you are a cis man, you might want to help them move to a safer place since the societal constructs make you appear as more of a threat to the attacker and they will reconsider following you two to safety…!

My advice is of course to be taken with a pinch of salt as there cannot be just one solution to the very complex and intersectional issue that is Islamophobic harassment in the public space! 🙂

Please don’t hesitate to share this guide as it could push a lot of people to overcome bystander syndrome!!

Lots of love and stay safe!

Related Article-

How did the early Muslims respond to Islamophobia


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