Terrorist Attack: New Zealand - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:46 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 6:46 pm, 18th March 2019

I thank my noble friend for her points. On her last point about Islamophobia, I think she knows that any hatred towards anybody, regardless of their colour or creed, is absolutely deplorable to me. Certainly, if she or anyone else refers to me any examples of Islamophobia they have witnessed or had reported to them, I will take action and follow up on it immediately.

My noble friend asked about the policy of disengagement. We will engage with people who share our values, abide by the rule of law and are committed to the tolerance of different faiths in our society. I know that my right honourable friends the Home Secretary and the Communities Secretary held an Islamophobia round table last week, which discussed the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group working on a definition of Islamophobia. I am sure that the definition the APPG came up with will provide food for thought.

My noble friend talked about being shocked but not surprised. I am shocked but not surprised every day of the week by some of the things happening in society. Two years ago, it started in earnest on the streets of this country. We must constantly be shocked by it, otherwise I do not think that anything would be done. I have just been told that I am out of time, but I will finish on the words of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury about Christianity. Christianity, or any other religion, can never be used as an excuse to do the sort of things we have seen on our streets and on the streets of other countries.