‘Islamophobia is a form of racism’ meeting of Haringey’s Full Council has declared. The meeting resolved to adopt a definition of Islamophobia produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims that say it “is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
Liberal Democrat councillors approached their Labour colleagues about the council formally adopting the definition following the adoption by both national parties. A cross party approach was agreed that enabled both Labour and Lib Dem councillors to propose and second the motion.
Cllr Liz Morris, the leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats, moved the motion alongside Haringey Labour leader Cllr Joe Ejiofor, by telling her fellow councillors that despite the enormous contributions British Muslims make to the UK, the majority of religiously motivated hate crimes in the UK now target Muslims. She noted to her colleagues:
“As this Council has done by passing a motion that defined and condemned hatred of Jews, today we take another step to honour our proud tradition by taking a stand, all councillors together, to adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Group’s definition of Islamophobia.
“Haringey has benefited enormously from its cultural and religious diversity and our Muslim friends and neighbours are essential part of that. Haringey would not be Haringey without them.”
Cllr Sakina Chenot, councillor for Fortis Green ward, spoke of her experience discovering a 9-year old relative had overheard friends singing a song about killing Muslims and how this affected her as the child of Muslim parents. She said:
“It is now more important than ever that we take bold steps to show the Muslim community, the wonderful peaceful and diverse Muslim community that does so much to enrich this country, that we support them; that we take their concerns seriously and that we will not shy away from taking action to challenge and defeat Islamophobia.”
Photo: Liberal Democrat councillors at Wightman Road's Community Iftar