A proposal to adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) definition of Islamophobia will be brought to council for consideration on 24 November 2020.
Following widespread consultation with academics, lawyers, Muslim organisations and Muslim communities among others, the APPG definition of Islamophobia was outlined as: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
Cllr Drew Mellor, Leader of BCP Council, said: “I was delighted to hear from Afzal Khan, vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on my election as Leader, when he wrote to me to discuss passing a motion in council to adopt the APPG’s definition of Islamophobia.
“BCP Council is committed to respect and engage with our diverse communities and does not abide any form of unlawful discrimination. Council will therefore be asked to support and recognise the work carried out by the APPG on British Muslims and adopt the definition of Islamophobia at the next Full Council meeting.”
Cllr Mellor continued, “I am pleased to have strengthened further the council’s commitment to this agenda by appointing a lead member for Equalities, to champion this work.
Cllr Bobbie Dove, Lead member for Equalities, said: “The adoption of this motion is hugely important for all of our communities to demonstrate that we take equalities seriously in BCP council area.
“Hatred directed at Muslims, or any other faith or heritage is unacceptable and therefore I fully support the adoption of this definition. The definition of Islamophobia will allow the council to identify discrimination directed at expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness, which could otherwise go unrecognised and therefore unchallenged.”
Cllr Chris Rigby will second the motion at Council. He said “I am proud to second this motion, and to have worked with members from across the council to collaboratively agree something behind which I hope all members can unite and adopt.”
Will Chakawhata, Chair of the Equality Action Commission established by BCP Council’s Strategic Equality Leadership Group (SELG) said: “It is very encouraging to see that BCP Council have acted swiftly on this matter, bringing it to the first possible council meeting. Adopting this definition will help to increase trust and confidence in BCP Council from its Muslim residents and service users. It will also improve understanding of the experiences of Muslim communities and enable the council to take appropriate actions which increase participation, representation and reduce marginalisation.”