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  1. ITV Report

'We always feel that we have to prove ourselves' - Welsh Muslims on the impact of Islamophobia

Young Muslims discuss the impact of Islamophobia on their lives Credit: ITV News

The impact of Islamophobia on the streets of Wales could be felt for decades to come, the Muslim Council of Wales has warned.

It has a knock-on effect to the young Muslims - it affects their confidence, it affect their identity, it affects them as they develop their own personality. What I'd hate to see is a generation of Muslims in ten to fifteen years who are lacking confidence, who are lacking their own identity because in the early years they weren't able to form it properly.

– Mohammed Alamgir, Muslim Council of Wales

The warning comes amid claims that Islamophobia is on the increase.

2941
the number of hate crime offences in Wales in 2016-17

The most recent figures available from the Home Office show that the number of hate crimes went up by a fifth in Wales over a twelve month period. The majority of offences were related to race or religion.

Haifa says Islamophobia is often caused by a lack of understanding between communities Credit: ITV News

We always feel that we have to prove ourselves and kind of look unharmful and make sure we're always smiling, happy and we're not looking dangerous. It's pathetic, but that's the sad truth. That was my normal life in high school, I had my shoes stolen off me... and I even had this boy say to me, 'take that towel off your head'.

– Haifa Shamsan

The Muslim Council of Wales, which was set up to represent around 46,000 Muslims across the country, also says the general public need to be more aware of the impact of comments made online and on social media.

"When you see social media comments, even though the comments isn't directly to you, you feel hurt as well."

– Sadia Begum

As Muslims come together to mark the holy month of Ramadan, non-Muslims are being invited to visit mosques across the country and share an evening meal. It's hoped that events like this will help to break down barriers between communities, and educate the public about Islamic beliefs and traditions.