Islington Council has become one of the first councils in the UK to adopt officially the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia.
The decision was announced at yesterday's Full Council meeting by Islington Council leader, Cllr Richard Watts. Other councils who have so far adopted the definition include Newham, Redbridge and Oxford.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia is outlined in their report, Islamophobia Defined, and is as follows:
"Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness."
The report highlights the profound negative impacts Islamophobia has had and continues to have on the British Muslim community, those who are perceived to be Muslim, and the British public in general. The report notes that Islamophobia is fostered by falsehoods and misrepresentation which result in discriminatory outlooks that have a detrimental effect on social harmony and inclusion.
The APPG definition has cross-party support and intellectual endorsement from over 70 academics in the field, as well as community support from hundreds of Muslim organisations across the UK.
Islington Council Leader, Cllr Richard Watts, said:
“There is no place for hate in Islington. We are proud to be a welcoming, inclusive borough that celebrates diversity and champions inclusion.”
“The act of defining a thing helps us to understand it. In the case of Islamophobia, we hope that this working definition will allow us to use the word as a more effective tool to challenge bigotry, hatred and discrimination in our community, and to understand some of the challenges faced by Muslims in our society.”
“We welcome the APPG on British Muslims report on Islamophobia and are proud to adopt their working definition.”
Mohammed Kozbar, the Chair of Finsbury Park Mosque, said:
“Richard has been a true ally in the fight against Islamophobia. We are therefore delighted that the Council has shown leadership in recognising the importance of adopting this definition of Islamophobia which has such widespread support within Muslim communities.”
Notes to editors:
- A recent report (October 2018) from the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 70% of Muslims reported that they had experienced religion-based prejudice in the last year.
- The police and the council can and do act against hate crime. For example, in the wake of the terrorist attack outside Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park, a temporary memorial was created by the local community on Seven Sisters Road. On 26th June 2017, a woman was seen kicking the flowers on the memorial and shouting threats and Islamophobic slurs at passers-by. A witness took a picture of the suspect on her phone and sent it to the police. The woman was arrested, charged with a Racially Aggravated Section 5 Public Order offence and fined £165 plus a £30 victim surcharge.
- If you experience or witness any form of hate crime, report it to the police at report-it.org.uk, call 101 (or 999 in an emergency) or tell Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
- Please sign Islington’s anti-hate crime pledge at islington.gov.uk/hatecrime
The council has previously adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.