Hackney Town Hall.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has welcomed a motion put forward by Cllr Humaira Garasia (Lab, Haggerston) calling for the Town Hall to adopt a parliamentary group’s definition of Islamophobia.

The definition was announced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims in December 2018, and became the centre of debate in May last year after the government rejected it, saying that its wording needed “further careful consideration”.

If voted through, the motion would commit the Town Hall to endorsing and adopting the definition, as well as speaking out against the rise in recent years of racism targeting “Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”.

MCB Secretary General Harun Khan said: “Islamophobia is rife across Britain, often perpetuated by elected politicians and the media, which then has real life implications for Muslims in terms of hate crime and abuse.

“It is the responsibility of everyone – particularly all levels of government – to take ownership over tackling Islamophobia. We welcome this motion calling on Hackney Council to adopt the APPG on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia, which has already been adopted by a number of local councils, political parties, academics and civil society organisations.

“We hope Hackney Council vote in favour of this motion to send a clear signal to Muslims and anti-racists in Hackney that this sort of bigotry will not be tolerated.”

The APPG definition includes calling for the killing of Muslims, making mendacious, dehumanising or stereotypical allegations about Muslims, or accusing Muslims as a group of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by other Muslims.

Examples of mendacious stereotypes cited in the motion include conspiracies about Muslim entryism in politics, the myth that Muslim identity has a unique propensity for terrorism, or claims of a ‘Muslim takeover’ or demographic threat.

Accusing Muslims of inventing or exaggerating Islamophobia or genocides perpetrated against Muslims is included in the definition, as well as accusations of divided loyalties between the Muslim community and their country of origin.

Over 14 per cent of Hackney’s population is Muslim.

The full text of the motion, which was seconded by Cllr Caroline Woodley (Lab, Cazenove), including the complete definition, can be found here.

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