Islamophobia

Islamophobia

Live debate examining the moral issues behind one of the week's news stories.
The anti-racism campaigner Trevor Phillips has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of Islamophobia. Some have described the move as “Orwellian”;  others believe he has a case to answer. The issue turns on what we mean by ‘Islamophobia’ – although even to pose that question is to invite denunciation in some quarters; why split hairs when it’s obvious that anti-Muslim bigotry is rife? The Conservative party has been under attack for the allegedly Islamophobic utterances of some within its ranks, but it is waiting to agree on a definition of ‘Islamophobia’ before committing to an inquiry. It is 20 years since the term entered the political lexicon and almost a decade since Baroness Warsi declared that Islamophobia had passed the ‘dinner table test’ and become acceptable in polite society; yet, we still haven’t quite decided what it is and what it isn’t. Some people – including many Muslims – have a problem with the word itself because they think it reinforces the idea that Islam is something to be afraid of. Islam is a religion, not a race, but the definition used by the Labour Party calls Islamophobia ‘a type of racism’, because of the comparable experiences described by Muslims at the sharp end of group discrimination. Meanwhile, free speech advocates are concerned that any formal definition risks blurring the line between the unacceptable hatred of people (Muslims) and the legitimate criticism of ideas (Islam). Once we have our definition, whom should we appoint to decide whether particular words or deeds are Islamophobic? And if there’s a spectrum that runs from insensitivity and disrespect at one end to the most hideous kinds of hate crime at the other, where along that line should the law intervene? With Mohammed Amin, Myriam Francois, Ibrahim Mogra & Fiyaz Mughal.

Producer: Dan Tierney.
Muslim group urges probe into accusations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party
The Muslim Council of Britain has renewed its call for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate accusations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.