Icelandic Muslims Experience Growing Prejudice - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Muslims Experience Growing Prejudice

Published January 18, 2015

Receive hate messages and verbal abuse on a daily basis, according to Nadia Tamimi

Receive hate messages and verbal abuse on a daily basis, according to Nadia Tamimi

Icelandic Muslims have experienced stronger prejudices against them after the terrorist attack against in Paris earlier this month, according to speakers at a symposium on the situation of Muslims in Icelandic society held on Saturday. This was reported by RÚV and Kvennablaðið, among other media.

Nadia Tamimi

Among the speakers was Nadia Tamimi, who says that recently the situation has grown terrible: “the prejudices and the generalisations got me to participate”. Nadia said that she prejudice was most apparent online, and that she has received anonymous hate-messages.

Nadia is the daughter of a Muslim man from Palestine and a Christian woman from Iceland. In her address, she said that she feels fortunate to have got to know different cultures as a child, living in Iceland, while staying in Palestine during summer, where she learned Arabic and many beautiful customs. She says that in Iceland, at that time, her father was rather compared with Cliff Huxtable of the Cosby Show, than with Bin Laden: “My father was known by the children in the neighbourhood for being funny and amusing, and for giving time to speak with everyone, even teach them a little Arabic.”

Nadia says that since then, the attitudes have changed: “Today, I must defend my religion almost daily, defend my people and correct misunderstandings about Islam. Now people this beautiful religion is seen as a terrorist group and we are all denounced as murderers. My father receives verbal abuses daily, online, in comment systems and messages.”

In comparison, Nadia recounted the story of her grandmother’s murder. The woman was eighty years old when an Icelandic native knocked on her door and asked to make a phone call. “She let him in to use her phone. He attacked her. He stabbed her and cut seventeen times and murders her in cold blood, for no cause and ruthlessly!” The man was Christian she says. “I was overwhelmed with sorrow and anger but never, ever did I think of blaming all Christian people, all Icelanders or all white men —I blamed this one man, and I still do.”

On Saturday, Nadia received yet another anonymous hate message, which she published through Facebook.

Islamophobiawatch has followed developments in Iceland.

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