Open letter to Home Secretary rejects Islamophobia definition

May 15, 2019 by

from Christian Concern:

An open letter to the Home Secretary warning against the adoption of a proposed definition of Islamophobia has been signed by over 40 leading experts from a range of religious backgrounds.

Signatories include Professor Richard Dawkins, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Lord Singh of Wimbledon, author and historian Tom Holland, and Pastor Ade Omooba MBE.

The letter, representing many Christians, atheists, Sikhs and others, criticises the definition proposed by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The letter argues that it “is being taken on without an adequate scrutiny or proper consideration of its negative consequences for freedom of expression, and academic or journalistic freedom.”

Already, the definition has been adopted by the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Mayor of London, and several local councils.

However, the letter argues that the definition could easily be “used to effectively shield Islamic beliefs and even extremists from criticism, and that formalising this definition will result in it being employed effectively as something of a backdoor blasphemy law.”

The letter continues, “we are concerned that the definition will be used to shut down legitimate criticism and investigation … No religion should be given special protection against criticism.”

It concludes that “the APPG definition of Islamophobia is deeply problematic and unfit for purpose.”

This open letter follows another letter from Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, to Prime Minister Theresa May warning her that adoption of this definition would hamper counter-terrorism efforts, as highlighted today in The Times.

Parliament is set to debate the definition of Islamophobia in the House of Commons tomorrow morning.

Read here

Read also: Adopting official definition of Islamophobia ‘could hinder counter-terror efforts’, Mailonline


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