Definition of Islamophobia — [Mrs Sheryll Murray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:19 pm on 9th September 2021.

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Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 4:19 pm, 9th September 2021

I will proceed as quickly as I possibly can. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Murray. I congratulate Naz Shah and my hon. Friend Paul Bristow on securing this debate.

I want to begin by saying that although, unfortunately, Zarah Sultana and I agree on nothing politically, I admire her tremendously. Together, we have done the local politics programme in the west midlands—it is always a pleasure to be on it with her. I can only imagine that she is a true inspiration to women of all political persuasions when it comes to entering politics. Whatever abuse she may suffer from a bunch of idiots, she is reaching far more people as an inspiration. She should take heart from that.

I am blessed in my constituency to be aided by two excellent Muslim councillors, who are true community representatives; Councillor Gaz Ali and Councillor Amo Hussain do tremendous work across their ward, and across all demographics with people of all faiths and none. It is a pleasure to work with them. I am also delighted that Imam Hafiz Shahid Bashir Qadri gifted me a copy of the Koran, and has taken time to explain parts of it to me. My education is an ongoing project, but I am incredibly grateful for his kindness and his patience.

My point is that people learn by experience; when they experience members of the Muslim community, they see the tremendous work that they do within the community. That is to everybody’s credit, and that is how we will build a better society.