All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia

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Activities

Set up in November 2010, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia's purpose is:

To investigate the forms, manifestations and extent of prejudice and discrimination against Muslims in the UK today. To review the effectiveness of all legislation with a view to improving the rate of success in the prosecution of hate crimes. To review existing mechanisms for the recording of anti-Muslim hate crimes both through police forces across the country and through third party reporting sites with a view to improving data quality and comprehensiveness. To investigate and review the role of the media in fostering mutual respect and tolerance and guarding against misrepresentations of Islam and intolerance towards Muslims. [1]

Following the controversy of appointing iENGAGE, an anti-zionist organisation as it's secretariat, the APPG was relaunched in November 2011. Khalid Mahmood, fierce critic of radical Islam, said of the group's relaunch:

'The reforming of the Islamophobia group is a vital step forward in combating this insidious and increasing form of prejudice. I look forward to working with colleagues from across the political spectrum, in developing a dialogue that addresses both the causes and potential solutions of Islamophobia in all its forms.' [2]

Criticism

2011-2013

In 2011 academic Dr Chris Allen wrote a report on the APPG's progress, summing up that:

On all of [the APPG's] aims it has - to date - categorically and overwhelmingly failed. More so than anything else, it has to be recognised that the credibility of the APPG has been damaged and that the focus on Islamophobia lost.

In July 2013 he noted in another article about the APPG that, 'In my opinion, very little has changed since'.

He described it as an 'insignificant irrelevance, a toothless entity whose (lack of) actions have spoken far more loudly than its, at times, somewhat overblown words'.[3]

2015

Others, such as Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, however have argued more recently that the APPG's weakness stems from a wider systemic lack of government support and funding for initiatives combatting rising anti-racial hatred in the UK:

Indeed, the coalition’s lack of interest in this area has been nothing short of breath-taking. Despite the timely need for support, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia has received little or no government assistance. The cross-government Anti-Muslim working group which operates under the Department for Communities and Local Government has fared little better. The group, made up of experts on hate crime and notable figures from the British Muslim community, have in the past complained of government ministers ignoring and marginalising them whenever it has tried to make its voice heard to decision-makers in Whitehall.
This is indicative of an administration that has simply not given enough regard to challenges faced by Britain’s minorities. Sayeda Warsi, a former Conservative minister herself, has consistently warned about the need to tackle Islamophobia and the dangerous electoral implications of the Conservatives maintaining their time honoured tradition of poor ethnic minority engagement. Unfortunately, little has changed, despite her warnings.[4]

People

March 2016

Pre-2015 parliament

Former members

  • Kris Hopkins, Conservative MP (resigned chairmanship in February 2011 following iENGAGE controversy)

Meetings

Last registered AGM 28 January 2014

Articles

Yasmin Qureshi, This government has done nothing to stop a rising tide of a racial hatred, New Statesman, 5 March 2015

Contact

The registered contact for the group is Stuart Andrew MP.

Address: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 7130

Email: stuart.andrew.mp@parliament.uk.

Notes

  1. Register Of All-Party Groups [as at 27 May 2014], acc June 2014
  2. Islamophobia APPG relaunched, Martin Bright, November 24 2011, Jewish Chronicle, accessed 21 April 2016
  3. Dr Chris Allen, It's time the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia found its teeth, The Blog, HuffPost, 16 July 2013, accessed 27 December 2013
  4. Yasmin Qureshi, This government has done nothing to stop a rising tide of a racial hatred, New Statesman, 5 March 2015, accessed 21 April 2016
  5. Islamophobia APPG, as of 16 March 2016, parliament.uk, accessed 21 April 2016