Newham Council has officially endorsed the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia.
At a meeting a Newham’s Full Council last week (Monday, 10 December), Councillor Zulfiqar Ali proposed a motion to adopt the definition.
The definition agreed is as follows: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
Councillor Zulfiqar Ali said: “Newham Council is proud of its diversity and recognises this as a huge asset, and a source of great strength. A large proportion of its residents are Muslim, who are an integral part of its make-up, playing a huge role in all aspects of the borough's life.
“Newham also has a strong history of promoting cohesion and welcoming people from all over the world. Its residents have always united and supported each other in the fight against racism and discrimination in all its forms.”
The motion was unanimously approved by Full Council, meaning the council welcomes, endorses and adopts the AGGP definition of Islamophobia.
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “It’s vital that we take every measure to combat discrimination and hatred in all it's forms within our society especially during a time when racist, fascist and Islamophobic rhetoric is on the rise in the UK, across Europe and around the world.
“Newham is one of the most diverse boroughs in the UK, where we proudly celebrate and champion our multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities in the spirit of understanding and respect.
“Muslims in Britain alongside other religious groups, contribute an enormous amount to our country and I am proud that we have accepted the APPG's definition on Islamophobia.
“Newham Council is embarking on a new approach to diversity, equalities, inclusion as part of a social integration model that embraces interculturalism, inter-religious dialogue and promotes opportunities for all.'”
Councillor Joshua Garfield said: “It is really important that as a council we don’t just oppose this hatred and fight it, but define it so that we can actually single out when something is absolutely unacceptable.
“When it does target Muslim people for being Muslim, or when it does single people out because of their faith, their religion, their identity or their culture – we cannot accept that.”