Nevertheless, in 2021, the Conservative authorities rejected this definition, declaring it ‘not match for goal’. It identified that this notion of ‘Islamophobia’ conflates race and faith, and has critical implications without spending a dime speech. Primarily, it equates criticism of Islamic doctrine and even radical Islamism with racism.

But whereas the federal government rejected the time period, different elements of the British state haven’t. As I present in ‘Islamophobia’ Revisited, a brand new report for Civitas, one in seven native authorities in England has adopted the contested APPG definition. Furthermore, a panoply of different, equally problematic definitions of Islamophobia or of anti-Muslim hatred have been adopted by a number of English councils. And after submitting a whole lot of Freedom of Data (FOI) requests, I additionally found that 23 per cent of Welsh councils and 25 per cent of Scottish councils have additionally adopted the APPG definition. One councillor described the impact that is having on free speech as a ‘tide of little erosions’ to ‘one in all our most valuable values’.

Of the 52 councils which have adopted the APPG definition in England, 65 per cent are Labour-controlled. This isn’t a shock. Labour has endorsed the APPG definition and launched a code of conduct on Islamophobia which cites it. If Labour considers Islamophobia to be ‘a kind of racism’, then it’s seemingly {that a} Labour authorities will look to incorporate the contested APPG definition in official coverage. It might even incorporate it into the Race Equality Act that it says is core to its future plans.

Prohibiting Islamophobia poses vital dangers to free speech. Tutorial discussions about Islamic conquests ‘by the sword’, from the Ottomans to the Mughals, or up to date debates about ‘grooming gangs’ may very well be thought of racist, based on the examples given within the APPG’s personal report. Earlier this yr, a Boston councillor was denied a mayoral function following accusations of Islamophobia. He printed Fb posts through the 2022 Qatar World Cup, elevating reputable issues concerning the features of Islamic doctrine that prohibit ladies’s rights and criminalise homosexuality.

My analysis did point out some native pushback in opposition to the APPG definition. Bradford Council, for instance, adopted its personal definition after session with the native Muslim neighborhood over issues that the which means of ‘Muslimness’ was unclear. Barnet and Hillingdon councils additionally got here up with various definitions.

Different councils have refused to undertake the APPG’s definition. Aberdeenshire in Scotland voted as an alternative for a movement to ‘be aware’ the definition, quite than formally undertake it. And Lancashire merely rejected it. This pushback owes a lot to the lobbying efforts of the Nationwide Secular Society (NSS). Its chief government, Stephen Evans, has warned that this obscure definition ‘could be a counterproductive means of addressing anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred’.

My ‘Islamophobia’ Revisited report exhibits that too many councils didn’t correctly scrutinise the APPG definition earlier than adopting it. Briefing paperwork seem to have been largely one-sided, and sparse on the potential downsides. That is worrying. The adoption of hate-speech definitions that shield particular teams is commonly counterproductive. This will foster a tradition of grievance and, within the case of Islamophobia, create a hierarchy of religions and beliefs.

To be clear, anti-Muslim hatred is a critical situation – the Finsbury Park terrorist assault by Darren Osbourne in 2017 left one lifeless and 12 injured, for example. However banning so-called Islamophobia, and treating it as a particular type of racism, received’t assist to deal with it and can trigger all types of different issues.

With many different councils confirming that they need to undertake the APPG definition within the foreseeable future, it appears the ‘dilution of one in all our most valuable values’ is ready to proceed.

Hardeep Singh is a author primarily based in London. Comply with him on Twitter: @singhtwo2

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