04 January 2019

We must be free to criticise Islam

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims is calling on the government to establish a legally binding definition of ‘Islamophobia’, akin to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.

Last November, the APPG launched its landmark Islamophobia Defined report, offering the following definition: ‘Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.’ To tackle what it calls Islamophobia, the report calls for ‘appropriate limits to free speech’ and for the policing and regulation of matters ‘far beyond what can be captured as criminal acts’.

.... there are serious problems with the APPG’s definition of Islamophobia, and indeed with the term Islamophobia itself. It is far too vague and it conflates attacks on Muslims (and non-Muslims) with criticism of Islam and of the behaviour of a minority of Muslims.

.... The National Secular Society (NSS) has warned MPs that the term Islamophobia ‘confuses hatred of, and discrimination against, Muslims with criticism of Islam’. Liberal and secular Muslims, ex-Muslims, gay, bisexual and transgender campaigners have all been labelled ‘Islamophobes’ for voicing opposition to Muslim clerics on issues such as women’s rights, gay rights, gender segregation in schools and forced hijab-wearing.

In a letter to the home secretary, published in The Sunday Times, the NSS, Maajid Nawaz, Amina Lone, Mohammed Amin and others called the proposed definition ‘unworkable’. [Spiked] Read more