History made, as the Welsh capital’s council officially recognises Islamophobia
This week, during Islamophobia Awareness Month political parties and communities came together to table the motion to pass the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) definition of Islamophobia as a bylaw in the local authority.
In 2019, the UK government rejected the adoption of the APPG definition of Islamophobia on the basis that it may inhibit free speech leading to heavy criticisms from Muslim communities across the country that if a definition of Islamophobia isn’t put in law, then the rising issue of hate crimes against Muslims would be even more difficult to prosecute and eradicate.
The APPG definition defines Islamophobia as; “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
According to the Home Office’s latest report into Hate Crime in England and Wales, Muslims were targeted in 50% of all religious hate crime offences recorded in 2019/20 – a figure consistent with previous years’ reports – which means that they experience more religiously motivated hate crime than any other religious group.
The motion to enact this definition was proposed by Muslim councillors; Cllr Ali Ahmed and Cllr Malika Kaaba with amendments from Cllr Bablin Molik. The session in the councillor’s chamber at Cardiff City Hall, began with Qur’an recitation and powerful speeches from councillors across political parties.
Cardiff is home to over 23,000 Muslims with a variety of ethnic backgrounds – Islamophobia has also been a rising issue locally with reports of Islamophobia year in year out within the city.
The motion was passed unanimously with all 69 votes in approval of enacting the definition. Muslim grassroots communities and organisations who campaigned for this initiative celebrated the win, but made it clear that this is the first step to tackle the issue of Islamophobia.
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