A BRADFORD MP has spoken out in a debate about Islamophobia – claiming the Government is not giving the issue the attention it deserves.

As Islamophobia awareness month draws to a close, Bradford West MP Naz Shah said in a meeting at Westminster Hall: “It’s becoming a norm in society and the government aren’t treating it with seriousness it requires.”

The conversation around Islamophobia intensified a decade ago when Baroness Warsi claimed it had “passed the dinner table test”. In the recent debate, Ms Shah said: “Islamophobia has now passed the mainstream-media test.”

Two years ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised an independent inquiry into Islamophobia on national television, which has not yet taken place.

Currently, the issue surrounding Islamophobia relates to the collective agreement on the definition of the term.

Ms Shah said: “The government don’t care and that’s why Islamophobia isn’t being tackled.

“Boris Johnson’s comments about Muslim women had consequences – there was a 375 per cent rise and latest statistics show that Muslims are the most targeted group in religious hate crime. “

The Government rejected the definition that was proposed by the All Party-parliamentary Group (APPG).

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, (DLUHC) said: “We have always been clear that this Government does not, and will not, tolerate anti-Muslim hatred in any form and will continue to combat such discrimination and intolerance.

“We’re working to agree a robust definition of Islamophobia and it’s important to take the time to get this right – the one proposed by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups is not acceptable as it would have severe consequences for freedom of speech.”

The MP for Bradford West highlighted that the issue needs to be dealt with in ‘top down’ approach, with ministers and people in Government acknowledging that their words hold meanings and meanings are powerful.

Ms Shah has spoken to West Yorkshire Police's Chief Superintendent about the situation, who is working with the Force to put measures in place to deal with religious hate crime.

In 2019, Bradford Council acknowledged that without a definition, the issue would not be tackled and so approved its own definition which is: “Islamophobia is a direct or indirect act(s) of hatred and discrimination against people (individuals or groups) of Islamic faith on grounds of their belief and practice.”

In Bradford, community organisations are working with council to challenge Islamophobia in society.