There is growing pressure on the Conservative Party to accept a working definition of Islamophobia as it faces increasing instances of members using inflammatory rhetoric against Muslims.
Britain’s Labour Party has adopted the working definition of Islamophobia produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) at the end of last year.
In adopting the definition, Jennie Formby, the General Secretary of the Labour Party said: “I’m proud that Labour’s NEC adopted the working definition of #Islamophobia produced by the APPG on British Muslims. We must tackle Islamophobia, build a common understanding of its cause and consequences and express solidarity with Muslim communities.”
The APPG spent more than two years speaking to academics and civil society organisations before adopting the following definition: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness."
The adoption by the Labour Party puts it at odds with the ruling Conservative Party which has so far failed to adopt a working definition of Islamophobia.
The APPG in its report criticised Theresa May’s government for not doing enough to tackle Islamophobia saying: “There has been no attempt to adopt a definition of Islamophobia by Government despite recognising the significant impact the problem has on British Muslim communities.”
The Labour MP and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Naz Shah, also recently called out the Conservative Party response to Islamophobia citing its refusal to “listen and deny the problem exists let alone accept the need for any inquiry.”
Shah, who is also the Vice Chairman of the APPG which produced the working definition, has also called the refusal by the Conservatives to come to terms with discrimination in their party as “disgraceful”.
Today in @HouseofCommons I asked @PennyMordaunt to accept they have a problem. Once again @Conservatives refuse to listen and deny the problem exists let alone accept the need for any inquiry into institutional #Islamophobia #ToryRacism #Patronising #Disgraceful pic.twitter.com/fJpkIbgk3I— Naz Shah MP (@NazShahBfd) March 14, 2019
The Conservative member of the House of Lords and former Conservative Party chairman Sayeeda Warsi has spoken out against the deeply rooted Islamophobia in her party.
Citing the London mayoral campaign of 2016, which saw the Conservative nominee Zac Goldsmith use Islamophobic rhetoric against his Labour rival Sadiq Khan, Warsi said that it “clearly showed me that there is a strand within the party for whom Islamophobia is a deliberate political strategy - and that breaks my heart".
In light of the terrorist attack in New Zealand, which saw 51 Muslim worshippers massacred by white nationalist Brenton Tarrant, Warsi spoke of the need for her party to confront Islamophobia, adding: “u can duck & dive but I will keep bringing this fight to u [sic].”
The former Conservative foreign secretary Boris Johnson has called women who don the niqab “letterboxes” and have been widely condemned for normalising discrimination towards Muslim women.
Years of raising Islamaphobia w/n my Party had left me weary but #NZMosqueShooting tragically reminded me that this fight is essential &must go on— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) March 18, 2019
So @Conservatives u can duck &dive but I will keep bringing this fight to u - the longer we deny it the more we confirm we hav a prob
Wow just wow— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) March 19, 2019
Revolving door racism is the new policy it seems.
My party @Conservatives hits a new low.
Media storm leads to suspension and when no ones looking we simply sneak them back in 😢
Council leader's suspension lifted https://t.co/ZfuELJLXIh
Not everyone, however, agrees with the current proposed definition.
Goldsmith, who ran the Islamophobic campaign against Khan, has said that the APPG should not have accepted the current definition of Islamophobia.
“If you ask supporters of Islamism to write up a definition of ‘Islamophobia’, you can’t be surprised if they craft it to insulate themselves from scrutiny,” said Goldsmith.
If you ask supporters of Islamism to write up a definition of ‘islamophobia’, you can’t be surprised if they craft it to insulate themselves from scrutiny. Criticising MEND, CAGE etc then becomes ‘islamophobia’.— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) March 20, 2019
MPs should never have signed this off.https://t.co/FLZOY0tYCx https://t.co/qGIxtiiUjG
Overnight on March 21st West Midlands Police in Birmingham were alerted after five mosques were attacked by as yet unknown assailants. As yet the reason for the attack is unknown.
There has been an increasing level of Islamophobia in the UK with women more likely to be victims, a recent study found.