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‘Islamophobia definition’ – a cop out!

We challenge conflicts and contradictions within the socio-political policies/ situations, more so when these have differential impact on the groups of people in the UK since we value social justice and champion equality of outcome based on the notion of different but equal.

Being in the forefront of addressing the dynamics of racism and doing the case work, from what we know and understand the incidents of anti-Muslim hatred have much increased, especially with the rise of far right through the Brexit process.

We have become aware about attempts to define Islamophobia. Whilst we appreciate the need to consolidate Muslim process and experiences in Britain, any such statement ought to have wider support not only by the ‘academics’ involved with race relations/ Muslim-specific theoretical work, Muslim politicians and those holding institutional positions who themselves are limited in their work and analysis due to their institutional positions or necessity to conform but by the community that matters.

Moreover, the term 'Islamophobia' (irrational fear of Islam) does not really sum up Muslim experiences, including verbal/physical attacks etc and is therefore misleading! Not only this but the 'Islamophobia' as a fear, obscures any sense of viciousness in anti-Muslim actions and provides a sort of legitimacy to these, not differentiating between the actions motivated by fear and hate!

We can understand that selling the Islamophobia definition (‘Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’) is easy and can give quick boost to the political activists who are struggling to gain meaningful recognition by their political parties because who they are and need a Muslim platform in a show of strength but the issue of Muslim welfare and safety is far more important.

We agree that reducing the systematic or ad hoc anti-Muslim manifestation to Islamophobia and then locating Islamophobia within the domain of racism, is unacceptable. We also agree that “anti-Muslism” is more than racial hatred because Muslims are not a race.

Moreover, we have witnessed struggles to have a working definition of racism in response to Black and White Britain (the Third PSI Survey report 1985), except that public uproar in 1990s could only deliver a cop out in the form of ‘institutional racism’ which is tough if not almost impossible to prove.

We therefore support the statement that what Muslims experience in Britain is “anti-Muslim manifestation by individuals or institutions through holding or expressing or recycling negative perception of Muslims and by the acts of implicitly or explicitly disrespecting/devaluing Muslim socio-cultural or religious norms and values through direct or coded means at various levels, including far right elements and media.  Physical form of anti-Muslism actively harms Muslim lives and property.” 1/12/2018