Press release: Muslim woman’s murder highlights rampant Islamophobia


IHRC is horrified and appalled by the murder of a Saudi Arabian female student in Colchester yesterday seemingly targeted because her clothes marked her out as a Muslim.

PhD student Nahid Al Manea, 31, was found bleeding to death on a footpath in Colchester, Essex, with multiple stab wounds to the head and body. She was wearing a dark blue robe known as an ‘Abaya’, as well as a multi-coloured hijab, leading police to believe she may have been the victim of an Islamophobic murder.

The targeting of a defenceless innocent Muslim female purely because of her faith is a horrific indication of the levels of Islamophobia in British society. It follows the murder last April of 82 year-old Muslim pensioner Mohammed Saleem by as he walked home late at night from his local mosque in Birmingham.

Anti-Muslim hysteria, expressed in opposition to religious dress codes, dietary rules, Islamic schooling and immigration, has reached new heights in Britain. Unlike the stigma attached to racism, Islamophobia has in the words of Baroness Warsi “passed the dinner table test”, becoming an acceptable part of British culture. Islamophobic discourse in the media and political circles routinely passes unchallenged creating a climate of fear and a siege mentality for Muslims in Britain and encouraging attacks against them.

The Muslim community experienced a large spike in attacks last summer in the aftermath of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in London. IHRC monitored and fielded scores of incidents in which Muslims were abused, harrassed, discriminated against and subjected to physical violence immediately after the incident.

In response to the rise of Islamophobia, IHRC launched a survey last March to quantify the level of antipathy faced by Muslims in Britain. The research project intends to assess the scale and nature of discrimination and hostility confronted by Muslims on a day to day basis.

In the last such survey in 2009-10 an alarmingly high proportion of respondents reported experiencing anti-Muslim hatred, discrimination and violence. Approximately 54% had been on the receiving end of verbal abuse, 64% had been stared at by strangers and 41% had been subjected to threats or unfair accusations.

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission

PO Box 598



United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222



Twitter @ihrc