Islamophobia (Definition)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th April 2019.

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Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour

Today, we welcome to the Scottish Parliament Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Wes Streeting MP, who are officers of the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims. The group’s landmark “Islamophobia Defined” report, which I as convener of the cross-party group on tackling Islamophobia and our secretary, Professor Peter Hopkins, who has done 10 years of extensive research on Islamophobia in Scotland, contributed to, sets out a definition of Islamophobia that hundreds of organisations, academics and communities across the country have adopted.

While the United Kingdom Government continues to dodge and dither on the issue, we have a chance to show leadership in Scotland. I hope that the definition will be adopted by organisations in Scotland, all the Scottish political parties and—crucially—the Scottish Government. Will the First Minister make that commitment today so that we can focus not on whether Islamophobia exists, what it means or how it manifests itself but on what we as policy makers can do to challenge and defeat it?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I agree with that. All organisations should sign up to the accepted definition of Islamophobia, as they should sign up to the accepted definition of antisemitism. I am happy to give the update on the Scottish Government’s position that I certainly want the Scottish Government to do that.

I, too, welcome members of the all-party group to the Scottish Parliament, and I commend the work that Anas Sarwar and my colleague Humza Yousaf have done to tackle Islamophobia. However, it should not be down to Muslim members of the Parliament to lead the fight on their own; every one of us should be shoulder to shoulder with every Muslim across our country in tackling Islamophobia. As First Minister, I am more than prepared to lead from the front in that battle.