Far-Right Violence and Online Extremism

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:43 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 4:43 pm, 18th March 2019

I condemn Islamophobia. It is racism; it is like any other type of racism. We should not even subdivide it. It is what it is. It is racism, just as antisemitism is racism. I do not need to go beyond that. Anyone who is caught doing it should be called out and dealt with, whether that is in my political party or in any other political party. I have absolutely no qualms about that. They should be dealt with.

On the definition of Islamophobia, I read the all-party group report and I looked at its definition. It is an interesting and good starting point. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary chaired on, I think, 5 March, a roundtable with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and members of the Muslim community to discuss Islamophobia and what can be done on it. We will look at the definition and at what we can do to start on that process. But all of this comes back to this: if we over-define, if we start subdividing Islamophobia and antisemitism, we forget what this is really about, which is tolerance. It is really important that we accept that we are tolerant of people. That is what underlines extremism: where people choose not to be tolerant, they start to become extremists. When they think other people are lesser, that is where we are in trouble.