Our Islamophobia definition is no backdoor blasphemy law – the government must stop dawdling and take it on board

After years of contesting the need for any definition of Islamophobia, the government has been brow-beaten into commissioning its own review

Wes Streeting
The Independent Voices

When the Labour Party rejected, and attempted to redefine, the IHRA definition of antisemitism, it was not only patronising and lacking in self-awareness, but also sent out an awful message that the Labour party was not ready to listen or trust British Jews with defining their experiences of antisemitism.

If we simply change the words Labour to Conservative, IHRA definition of antisemitism to APPG on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia and British Jews to British Muslims, it feels like we are experiencing groundhog day.

Last weekend, I welcomed James Cleverley’s announcement as the new Conservative Party Chairman that his party had finally accepted the need for an independent inquiry on Islamophobia as it was long overdue.

Given the catalogue of evidence – example after example of misconduct by members of the Conservative Party, they simply could not continue to bury their heads in the sand. But his assertion that the Conservative Party is waiting for a definition is ringing alarm bells with those looking for leadership and action.

The definition of Islamophobia put forward by our cross-party group of MPs and peers offers the Conservative Party – or any other organisation for that matter – a framework to understand, recognise and tackle conscious and unconscious bias, discrimination and prejudice aimed at Muslims.

More than 750 British Muslims organisations and Institutions support the APPG definition, over 70 academics have penned endorsements to it, 17 councils have passed it as a motion, including cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester. Every political party in Scotland – including the Scottish Conservatives – have supported it, as have most parties in Westminster with the notable exception of the Conservative Party.

Criticisms of the definition haven’t stood up to scrutiny. Some took two sentences from the definition – that Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness – and then criticised the definition for lacking clarity. That strangely overlooked the examples and case studies that form an integral part of the definition, just as the IHRA definition of antisemitism is underpinned by its own examples.



8 replies

  1. Islam is a choice, not a race, an ideology, not a “people”.

    Anti-semitism or Jew hatred is hatred of a race, of the Jews. This is forbidden by human rights.

    Your demand for suppression of criticism of Islam (AKA Islamophobia) is censorship and contradicts free speech and article 19 human right for free speech.


    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Note that Islam forbidding Muslims from leaving is in opposition to UN human rights:
    Article 20.
    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

    Note that UN human rights forbids slavery, while Islam approves and condones slavery:
    Article 4.
    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

    Note that UN human rights forbid inhumane and cruel punishment, while Islam approves of amputation for theft.

    Article 5.
    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    In short, your religion Islam, repeatedly violates UN human rights, and has no place in the modern world.

      • I suggest you take this issue up with the Muslims selling slaves in Libya.
        Libya’s slave trade: ‘They sell Africans over there’ | Al Jazeera English
        I accept that you oppose this evil practise as you should.
        So why are these Muslims practising this evil slavery?
        All I can suggest, is that it comes from Islam. You may deny this, but it’s the west that forbade slavery, not Islam.

      • You are talking nonsense, if I may say so. The guys in Libya are criminals and outlaws. If I follow your way of argument I should say that all Christians are murderers because you have a lot of mass shootings done by Christians. Etc. etc. etc. You say ‘let’s compare the worst of yours to the best of ours’.

  2. Rafiq, we should ve honest if we a good Muslim
    Yes Islam ( Al Quran) allow Muslim to have some slaves and can be traded to others, as isis does.
    All love

    • There were strict rules about slaves. captives of war. Definetely the enslavement of desperate migrants (such as in Libya) was never a reason in the Islamic Law. Yes, Islamic law did not ‘do away’ with slavery at one stroke. But the way it treated the subject slavery was to be ‘gone with’ gradually but surely. This also made economic sense and was fine for the time. ‘Slaves should have the same food and clothes as the ‘master’. Wow, what more do you want?

  3. Notice you Muslims are all approving of slavery, just like your brothers in Libya.
    Can you agree with me that slavery is wrong, and thus condemn Muhammad?
    If not, then you should migrate to Saudi Arabia or perhaps Libya and join the “criminal” Muslims there.

    • First of all please change your name ‘Reasonable Person’, as you are not. Slavery at the time of 600 CE was a common thing. When Mohammad – peace and blessings of Allah be on him – married Khadija, his first wife, the first thing he did was to let all her slaves free. He (sas) encouraged again and again to free slaves (therefore gradually, as was good also for the economic system). Slavery as practiced now in Libya was never permitted in Islam. It is simply criminal. Even in the year 600 plus Mohammad – peace and blessings of Allah be on him – said: give your servants (and slaves) the same food that you eat and the same clothing as you have. And how did your dear very Christian Americans treat their slaves? Therefore : you are no reasonable person indeed.

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