Posted on Thursday 17th November 2011
Having been commissioned to produce a report for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamophobia earlier this year, IASS's Chris Allen was yesterday invited to present expert evidence to a meeting of the APPG. Convened in the Houses of Parliament, around 40 Parliamentarians from across the political parties attended including Simon Hughes, Jack Straw, Nicholes Boles, Jeremy Corbyn, Khaled Mahmood, Roger Godsiffe, Richard Burden, Louise Mensch and John Hemmings, amongst others.
Presenting a paper covering such topics as definitions, meanings, usage and evidence for Islamophobia in Britain, Chris told the Group that, "Islamophobia is something that we need to begin to take more seriously...we need to bring about a greater awareness of the issues, challenges and problems; to stimulate and initiate debate and discussion about these but in a way where people are not scared about potentially saying the wrong thing."
Drawing upon his research at the University since 2001, Chris presented the Group with nine recommendations that his research over the past decade had highlighted as being necessary. These included the APPG pulling together a working definition of Islamophobia which they, policymakers and indeed others could begin to use and have meaningful engagement with; establishing a knowledge and evidence of Islamophobia in the UK; undertaking a consultation on the issue of Islamophobia to better understand people's views and attitudes towards the phenomenon; commissioning a report from the Crime Prosecution Service about anti-Muslim hate crime; and commissioning a report into workplace and educational anti-Muslim discrimination from the Equality and Human Rights Commission amongst others.
Following a question and answer session, co-chair of the APPG Simon Hughes (Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats), praised the evidence put forward for its objectivity underpinning and how the recommendations would provide the basis of a framework upon which the APPG could build its future work plan.
Moving forward, Chris will be circulating an evidence paper to the APPG which includes the recommendations, has agreed to provide ongoing expert support, and will be attending future meetings of the Group as an expert advisor in January and February 2012.