This week Salford Council successfully passed a motion and adopted the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslim’s definition of Islamophobia:
“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
The definition has widespread support across the community and the confidence of more than 800 organisations. It has been adopted by the Labour party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the SNP, the Scottish Conservatives, and the Mayors of London and Greater Manchester, as well as by the National Union of Students and councils across the country. As Vice Chair of the APPG I want to applaud the aforementioned for taking this positive step.
Defining and naming a problem is the first step to rooting it out.
Sadly, during this pandemic, we have witnessed the rise of far-right narratives peddling myths about Muslims as ‘super spreaders’ of Covid-19. With lockdown easing there is concern over online hate crime turning into street level incidents. In fact, I received heinous Islamophobic hate mail during lockdown, reinforcing the chilling reality of prejudice today.
Islam is the second largest religion in the UK and our Muslim population are an integral part of its make-up, playing a huge role in all aspects of life. The APPG’s inquiry was set up to do something about the nature and scale of Islamophobia and its impact on British Muslim communities—and doing something is what we, as the Labour party, are committed to. I encourage other councils to follow suit and adopt this definition to tackle the very real and growing problem of Islamophobia.
I look forward to many more councils following in Salford’s footsteps.