Following almost a full year of consultation and intense deliberations votes held at a full meeting of the Council in Bradford City Hall, the City has adopted a definition of Islamophobia fit for Bradford.
Formed in partnership with the Bradford Hate Crime Alliance and the Bradford Council for Mosques (BCFM), the move for a definition of Islamophobia came following the Council’s acceptance of a definition of anti-Semitism last summer.
Zulfiqar Karim President of BCFM commented: “There is already a body of legislations in the UK providing a recourse to acts of unfair discrimination on grounds of disability, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
“Therefore, Bradford’s definition of Islamophobia builds on the current legislation and practice with the aim of placing hatred and discrimination against people of the Islamic faith on a similar footing.
“The joint Islamophobia definition came following some extensive and careful deliberation.”
Meanwhile, the definition adopted by Bradford Council raised some hullabaloo by supporters of MP Naz Shah.
Ms Shah along with Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, MP Wes Streeting and MP Anna Soubry had spearheaded an APPG definition of Islamophobia, which was rejected by the Government in May this year.
The APPG definition was also rejected by Bradford Council.
The APPG’s definition states: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”.
Mr Karim explained: “Muslims are not a monolithic group (i.e. not a single race or ethnic community), and the makeup of the Muslim communities is inclusive of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. An overwhelming majority of Muslims experience ‘double disadvantage’ on grounds of their faith and race.
“Our (BCFM) intention from the very beginning, even before we had any knowledge of the definition put out by the APPG, was that we wanted a definition of Islamophobia that was reflective of the aspirations of our local communities, how they wished to be understood and how they interpret hatred and discrimination against Muslims.
“We would like to place on record our appreciation of Bradford Council, Bradford Hate Crime Alliance, Islamic faith leadership and all others who kindly responded to our call for input and guidance on arriving at the approved definition.
“This is an important step taken by the local political leadership towards acknowledging and respecting the grassroots sentiments and realities of Muslim residents.”
Bradford’s definition of Islamophobia: “Islamophobia is a direct or indirect act(s) of hatred and discrimination against people (individuals or groups) of the Islamic faith on grounds of their belief and practice.”
The above could manifest in:
Inciting or carrying out acts of hatred and violence against people of the Islamic faith (Muslims) irrespective of their race, gender and sexual orientation.
Direct or indirect acts of discrimination including policy and practice within organisations, which deny Muslims legitimate and fair access to opportunities, facilities and services because of their faith beliefs and practice.
Denying people of the Islamic faith the opportunity to practice their faith values, free of harassment, fear of violence against them or fear of incurring discrimination and hatred against them.
Actions which perpetuate a climate of mistrust, fear and a sense of marginalisation about or within the Islamic community e.g. remarks by individuals and groups that can be made without fear of being held to account. Also use of print, social or electronic media to align and create fear and division surrounding the Muslim community.