A report from the Muslim Council of Britain’s website about the closed Parliamentary meeting last week to discuss the establishment of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia. Read the article below or by clicking here:
‘The formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia would be a crucial step and one that would inspire confidence in Muslim communities’
The Muslim Council of Britain hosted a special closed-meeting to discuss the growing spate of attacks in all its forms against British Muslims on March 3rd at the Grand Committee Room of the House of Commons.
The Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have today published the first edition of its ‘Religion or Belief E-Newsletter’. Included in this is a short review of the Islamophobia and religious discrimination symposium held at the University of Birmingham last December. The review is pasted below:
Islamophobia & Religious Discrimination: new perspectives, policies and practices
A symposium in December at the University of Birmingham – hosted by the Institute of Applied Social Studies (IASS) – brought together key individuals from the Department of Communities & Local Government, the Equality & Human Rights Commission, the Houses of Parliament, Birmingham City Council and the University of Birmingham amongst others, to consider the extent to which religious discrimination was on the rise and whether the current legislation and policies were working.
In a year when the British National Party (BNP) won two seats in the European parliament, the English Defence League have marched in protest against the ‘Islamification’ of Britain in various towns and cities, and more recently, there has been a referendum in Switzerland to ban minarets, the University of Birmingham this week hosts a national conference that explores the timely issue of Islamophobia and religious discrimination (9th December 2009).
Bringing together key individuals from the Department of Communities & Local Government (CLG), the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the Houses of Parliament, Birmingham City Council and the University of Birmingham amongst others, the conference – “Islamophobia & Religious Discrimination: new perspectives, policies and practices”  – will consider the extent to which religious discrimination is on the rise and whether the legislation and policies that seek to address these are indeed working.
Dr Chris Allen  from the Institute of Applied Social Studies (IASS) and who convened the event says:
“Despite the fact that there are a growing number of British people choosing to identify themselves in terms of their religion and greater recognition is being afforded to religion and faith in the public and political spaces, research continues to suggest that Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination are on the rise – not just here in Britain but elsewhere in Europe too. People are finding it increasingly acceptable and ‘normal’ to be prejudiced and discriminatory about others on the basis of religion or belief.
Sometimes through fear and suspicion, sometimes because of ignorance and a lack of understanding, if left unchecked, these could easily become hostilities and hatreds that result in tensions, unrest and harm between different communities and religions. So if we want to ensure the future wellbeing of a cohesive multicultural, multi-faith Britain, it is vital that we begin to discuss these issues now.”
All readers of this blog are invited to the event, “Islamophobia & Religious Discrimination: new perspectives, policies and practices”. Details as follows. If you are intending coming along to the event, please ensure that you register beforehand – scroll down for details:
Wednesday, 09 December 2009
14:00 – 17:00
G15 (Main Lecture Theatre), Muirhead Tower, Main Campus, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
More than a decade ago, the Runnymede Trust report Islamophobia: a challenge for us all noted that Islamophobia had reached previously unprecedented levels. Shortly after, a Home Office report suggested that other forms of religiously-based discrimination was also on the increase. Since then, a whole raft of legislation has been introduced in an attempt to address this issue. Most recently, the Equality Act 2006 introduced a ‘religion or belief’ strand of equalities protection that has regularly made the headlines through a number of high profile cases, for example where a Christian registrar asked to be excluded from performing same-sex civil registrations.