Flintshire Council to adopt definitions of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in a bid to stamp out hatred
A local authority is set to adopt definitions of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in a bid to stamp out hatred.
Numerous public bodies have accepted the wording of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) to prevent discrimination towards Jews.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia has also been formally adopted by a number of institutions.
Flintshire Council is now planning to become the latest to recognise both definitions to address religious intolerance.
Chief executive Colin Everett said although the council was not aware of any specific issues in Flintshire, it wanted to demonstrate its inclusivity.
In a report to senior councillors, he said: “It is recommended that cabinet, on behalf of the council, adopts the definitions of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to be used as part of our working culture and in fostering greater diversity in democracy.
“While we do not believe that there are any particular concerns about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia within Flintshire, we also know that we should not be complacent.
“A lack of understanding or an intolerance of others’ faiths or lifestyles is not an indicator of a healthy society.
“By adopting the definitions of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, we are showing Flintshire has an understanding of the issues, is tolerant of all and beliefs and no place for unacceptable attitudes towards religious diversity.”
The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews”, leading to rhetoric directed towards “Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The definition has been adopted by both the UK and Welsh governments, but is not legally binding.
Meanwhile, the APPG states: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
Examples include causing, calling for, aiding or justifying acts of aggression against Muslims.
Labour council leader Ian Roberts has been encouraged to adopt the definition of Islamaphobia in a letter sent by his party, following a critical report into its handling nationally of discrimination towards Muslims.
In the letter, Labour chair Anneliese Dodds said: “Last November the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) published Islamophobia and the Muslim Experience, a report into Islamophobia in the Labour Party.
“This report found that nearly half of our Muslim members (44 per cent) and supporters do not believe the Labour Party takes the issue of Islamophobia seriously, and that more than one in three Muslim members (37 per cent) have directly witnessed Islamophobia within the Labour Party.
“The LMN report made for difficult reading for everyone in our party.
“We all have a responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to supporting the Muslim community and working with them to root out Islamophobia wherever it rears its head.
“We ask for your support in ensuring we reach the goal of adopting the APPG on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia across our Labour-run councils as soon as possible.”
Members of Flintshire’s ruling Labour cabinet will be asked to accept both definitions when they meet tomorrow (Tuesday, 21 September).
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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