IHRC reissues security advice in the wake of recent events
- Introduction and Information for Reporting Hate Attacks
- 1. Precautionary measures for the community
- 2. 24 Safety Tips
- 3. Protect Yourself When Re-Entering the US
Introduction and Information for Reporting Hate Attacks
An anti-Muslim backlash in the wake of events in Belgium is already in evidence. As such, IHRC reissues its advice for safety and security of Muslims, those perceived to be Muslim and people of colour.
If you do experience an attack or assault, please report it to the police and to IHRC or an appropriate agency.
Please log any hate incident you experience, even if you wish to remain anonymous. You can do so here
Or by calling the IHRC office during office hours (10am - 6pm) on 020 8904 4222.
1. PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES FOR THE COMMUNITY
In light of the present situation, IHRC urges that precautionary measures be taken (we are reviewing these so please return for further advice):
- Be vigilant
- Do not open suspect packages
- Monitor access to car parks and other enclosures under your control. Report suspicious vehicles to the police.
- Review security arrangements regularly to ensure they are adequate for any event you intend to host.
- Ask your local crime prevention officer to carry out a crime prevention survey of your building.
- Encourage staff to take security seriously and establish regular training for them. Ensure they are aware of contingency plans and procedures for the building. Make guidelines readily available to all staff including ‘out of doors’ housekeeping staff.
- Consider having a fire safety review carried out by your London Fire and Emergency planning Authority.
- Consider installing CCTV. If you do have CCTV ensure it records properly & images are of good quality.
- Report all harassment, whether it is verbal, physical or psychological, to your local police and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (020 8904 4222, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- If a satisfactory response is not received from the police, contact the IHRC or another relevant local group (get in contact if you need help finding one)
- Liaise with the police, and get advice on how to best tackle the problem of harassment.
- If anything untoward occurs please ensure it is recorded on your phone, CCTV, written down &/or noted by a third party.
- In the UK, any non-emergency occurrences must be reported to the police by 101, because the information may have some importance for intelligence purposes.
- In the UK, Only use 999 for genuine emergencies, because non-emergency calls on this number ÂÂ ties up essential services when it could be diverted elsewhere.
- In the UK, Information on any incident can be passed to police through Crime Stoppers by phone (0800-555-111) or online & if they feel concerned about their identity, they can do so anonymously.
2. 24 Safety Tips for Muslim Women
By Samana Siddiqui
courtesy & copyright soundvision.com
This advice was initially drafted and issued for women but is relevant for anyone from a targeted community
As Muslims and their institutions have become targets of harassment, Muslims, especially those who dress Islamically or differently, have become major targets. There are constant reports of Muslims being yelled at, threatened, having their clothing abused and having guns pointed at them.
Here are some safety tips:
1. Always be aware of your surroundings
This applies whether you are traveling alone or in groups. Don't just focus inwardly on your thoughts if you are alone, or your friends if you are together. Keep one eye out for your environment, looking out for suspicious characters, possible danger, etc.
Also, don't assume that because your area has been "safe" thus far, that it will continue to be so.
2. Travel in groups
"There is safety in numbers" is not just a cliché. It's true. Make a point of travelling together with other sisters, whether it's on public transportation, on campus, in cars, etc.
3. Change the route you normally travel by
If you've taken the same bus, train or highway to get to work or school, change your route. Even if it takes you a little longer, your safety is more important. By changing your route, you can avert possible attacks or
harassment from those who know your schedule, method and route of travel well. Please note though that you should avoid short cuts that take you through unfamiliar or unsafe areas.
4. Look confident
Walk with a straight posture and your arms swinging by your sides. Avoid slouching or looking skittish and afraid
5. When riding by public transportation choose the right seat
If you are riding by bus or train, do not sit on the window seat as you may be "blocked in" by a potential assailant. Always select the seat next to the aisle so that you can quickly leave if necessary.
If you are taking public transportation alone after peak hours, sit as close to the driver as possible and/or choose the section of the bus/train that is most crowded. Try to get a seat near the exit as well.
6. If you are driving alone
Don't think that if you are in a car, you're safe. Windows should be up and doors locked even when driving to avoid unwanted passengers at intersections. When you are walking to your car, always have your keys ready, so that you can quickly get into your car.
But don't just get in right away. Always check your car before entering, especially the back, for any intruders.
7. Never leave your car door unlocked
Even if it means for one minute to drop something off in the mailbox that's a few feet away. Attackers have been known to lie in wait for such an
8. Be careful in parking lots
Always be alert in parking lots, especially when it's dark. Ask someone to escort you to your car. Between cars and inside cars, it's easy for someone to hide and wait until an unalert person comes along.
9. If you are travelling by taxi
Always check the identification of the driver (usually located near the visor) and ensure that it matches the driver. Or if you're in a country like the UK, make sure you book the taxi through a regulated agency. Once inside, don't sit behind the driver as it may be easy for the driver to lock the rear passenger door. Always choose the adjacent seat. In addition, avoid flagging taxis. Always order taxis so the driver can be traced if something happens.
10. Don't use headphones
If you're wearing headphones and listening to audio from your phone/tablet/etc - drop this habit, especially in isolated areas. With your headphones on, you cannot hear the approach of a possible attacker.
11. Note "safe houses" along your route
Mentally note houses at intervals on each route you take that can be used as "safe houses" if you are attacked, such as shops or houses that you know to be occupied by a friend or acquaintance.
12. When you make a call from a public phone
After dialling the number you wish to call always turn around so that you have your back to the phone and may see who or what is coming your way. You will then be able to tell the person to whom you are speaking that you may be in trouble and you may be able to use the weight of the phone as a weapon. The door of a telephone box could be used to wedge in the limbs of the attacker. Always keep your mobile phone close to hand
13. Do not open the door of your home without checking
DO NOT open the door to your home without first checking from a window, peephole or by asking and verifying who it is. Instruct children to do the same.
14. Report any suspicious activity around your home
If you see people loitering on the streets near your house, call the police on a non emergency number and report it.
15. Invest in a mobile phone
This is an invaluable safety device. Keep it with you at all times and keep emergency numbers on it. Also, keep it next to your bed before you go to bed at night. Mobile phones were first popularized by women as a security device, business people came later. Make sure your mobile is always topped up with credit on it.
16. Parking tips
Avoid parking in areas that are not well lit. Where possible, park close to a school or work entrance or in a parking garage that has an attendant.
If you see a suspicious person approaching or hanging around near your parked car, turn around and go back to an area where there are other people. Try to get an escort to your car through the campus or job security or local police.
17. Tell others about your whereabouts
Parents, spouses and friends should know where you are going and when you will be back, so that your absence will be noticed. Arrange a call in system with a friend if you live alone, whereby you call when you arrive home.
18. Trust your instincts
If you are walking somewhere and feel strange or scared, don't ignore this feeling. Take extra precautions by walking a little faster to get to a more populated or well-lit area or change the route you've been driving on.
19. If you think you are being followed, change your route and activity.
You can cross the street, change directions, or enter a populated building or store. Do whatever is necessary to avoid being alone with the person who is following you. Inform a police officer or security official about the follower.
20. Attract attention if you are in a dangerous situation.
Get others' to pay attention to what's happening to you if you are under attack or being harassed. You can alert others by honking a car horn or loudly describing what is happening.
21. NEVER admit that you are alone
If someone calls your home and asks if you are alone, NEVER admit it. Ask who the caller is. If they refuse to identify themselves, calmly hangup. Keep the radio on in the house so that callers will get the impression that others are in the home too. Instruct children to do the same when they pick up the phone.
22. Obscene phone calls
If you receive an obscene call or a crank call, do not talk to the caller. Hang up if the caller doesn't say anything, or as soon as s/he shouts obscenities. Hang up the phone calmly and do not slam it down. Note down the date and time of the calls. If they are persistent, inform local police.
23. If you are a student
Avoid studying in isolated classrooms in parts of the college campus that are not regularly patrolled by the school's security officers.
24. In large buildings take the elevator, not the stairwell
Stairwells are usually quiet and dark. Most people take the elevator. But if someone creepy gets on, don't hesitate to get off at the same time. Or, if someone is already on the elevator who you feel strange about, do not get on and wait for the next elevator.
3. Protect Yourself When Re-Entering The U.S
Muslim Advocates has launched a confidential, encrypted reporting form to collect incidents from people who are being harassed, searched, or detained at the border. Below, you will find:
- Tips for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices
- Report All Incidents to Muslim Advocates
- Protect Yourself at the Airport – In 5 Languages
Tips for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices
Our allies at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have prepared a comprehensive guidance for travelers carrying digital devices. Here’s what to consider when traveling with your digital devices:
- Limit the data you carry. Minimize the amount of data you are carrying over the border. Consider traveling with a "clean" laptop, backup your data in the event that your devices are seized, and note that simply dragging files to your trash doesn't delete them completely.
- Encrypt your devices. Use a full-disk encryption and secure passphrases. If a border agent asks for your password, you do not have to comply, as only a judge can force you to reveal such information. However, refusal to comply could bear consequences: for noncitizens, you may be refused entry into the country; for citizens, you may be detained until the border patrol decides what to do.
- Don’t physically interfere. When dealing with border guards, remember these three things: Be courteous, do not lie, and do not physically interfere with the agent’s search.
Report All Incidents to Muslim Advocates
Muslim Advocates is collecting reports from people – including U.S. citizens, green card holders, and visa holders – who are being harassed, searched or detained at the border.
We are collecting reports from people who:
(1) have been questioned, treated harshly, detained, searched, or otherwise treated differently,
(2) when entering the country after January 27, and
(3) apparently because of religion, place of birth, national origin, or ethnicity.
If you or someone you know is a U.S. citizen, green card holder, or visa holder and meets this criteria, please fill out our information gathering form to help us track and monitor how our communities are affected by the executive order. Please share this form with your networks.
Protect Yourself at the Airport – In 5 Languages
Share this video with loved ones to learn how to protect yourself and your family when questioned at the airport by U.S. Customs & Border Patrol. This video is available inEnglish, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, and Somali. Click below for the English version, and contact us for a copy of the the video in other languages.
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"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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