Bradford Council has voted to "stand up to Islamophobia," with one Councillor saying the district should be a place where “no form of hate is tolerated.”

A vote was held at a full meeting of the Council in City Hall last night meaning the Council now recognises a definition of Islamophobia that has been formed in partnership with the Bradford Hate Crime Alliance and the Council for Mosques.

There are four definitions of Islamophobia included in the motion.

  • Inciting or carrying out acts of hatred and violence against people of the Islamic faith (Muslims).
  • Direct or indirect acts of discrimination including policy and practice within organisations, which deny Muslims legitimate and fair access to opportunities, facilities and services because of their faith, beliefs and practice.
  • Denying people of the Islamic faith the opportunity to practise their faith values, free of harassment, fear of violence against them or fear of incurring discrimination and hatred against them.
  • Actions which perpetuate a climate of mistrust, fear and a sense of marginalisation about or within the Islamic community e.g. remarks by individuals and groups that can be made without fear of being held to account. Also use of print, social or electronic media to align and create fear and division surrounding the Muslim community.

It follows the Council voting to accept a definition of anti-Semitism last summer.

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Councillor Imran Khan, deputy leader of Bradford Council, said: “In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to do things like accept definitions of of Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism or any other type of racism. Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world.

“We need to show leadership and tackle discrimination where communities are targeted. We need to be clear what is, and isn’t, acceptable. People should be free to practice their faith as a fundamental part of their identity.

“It is not for us to tell people what component of their identity is acceptable, or what isn’t important.”

He said while the definition was not legally binding, it did provide the Council with a framework to identify Islamophobia, adding: “we are a district where no form of hate is tolerated.”

Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “It is important we show people that we always accept people no-matter what faith they have.”

Councillor Mohammad Shabbir (Lab, Heaton) questioned whether the motion went far enough, pointing to the rising number of Islamophobic incidents across the UK since the murder of 51 Muslims at a Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, by a suspected white supremacist.

He added: “This doesn’t address the structural issues that many Muslims have to deal with.”

Councillor David Ward (Lib Dem, Bolton and Undercliffe) questioned why such a definition was needed. He said: “It is nonsense. Are you telling me Donald Trump is Islamophobic because he doesn’t understand the definition? Understanding a definition does not mean someone ceases to be Islamophobic."

The Council then voted to approve the motion, which includes a call for the Council to raise awareness of the issue of Islamophobia at a planned Hope Not Hate Event in City Park on August 15.

After the meeting, Zulfiqar Karim, President of Council for Mosques, said, “We whole heartedly welcome the decision by Bradford Council to adopt a definition of Islamophobia that is reflective of sentiments and realities of its Muslim citizens.

“Arriving at a concise and reflective definition of Islamophobia suitable for Bradford has involved lengthy, intense deliberations and consultations.

“Our intention from the very beginning was that we wanted a definition of Islamophobia for Bradford that was reflective of the aspirations of our local communities, how they wished to be understood and how they interpret hatred and discrimination against Muslims.”

“We would like to place on record our appreciation of Bradford Council, Bradford Hate Crime Alliance, Islamic faith leadership and all others who kindly responded to our call for input and guidance on arriving at the approved definition.”