In May, the UK government rejected a proposed definition of Islamophobia that was so vague it would essentially prohibit all criticisms of Islam.
The definition, proposed by a cross-party group of MPs and adopted by the Labour party, states: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
The proposed definition was backed by more than 750 British Muslim organisations, 80 academics and 50 MPs.
Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford and shadow minister for women and equalities, argued the definition is crucial for fighting the rise of the far-right and white supremacists.
“This could not be more urgent,” she said, “while Islamophobia has been rising in our society and across the world, and support for the far right and their extremist white supremacist views is growing.”
The push to introduce Islamic blasphemy laws into the West continues under the guise of anti-racism policy. When Islam, an ideology, is coupled with an ethnic group, criticisms of that ideology can be portrayed as a form of racism towards the ethnic group it’s coupled with.
The idea that criticism of Islam is racism, however, fails to take into account that there is no ethnic criteria for becoming a Muslim. Hence, the religion of Islam is practised around the globe, by people of various ethnic backgrounds.
Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern told RT the definition is so vague it would basically hinder anybody from saying anything about Islam that’s not affirming.
“The definition is so vague it would allow people to be criticised for criticising Islamic belief. Therefore, it would curb free speech – that’s what the definition says. ‘Expressions of Muslimness’ is extremely vague and then it goes on to ‘perceptions of Muslimness’.
“That includes anything, basically, that anybody wants to say is ‘Muslimness’. It’s an extremely vague definition that includes all these things and will be used to hinder free speech if it’s accepted.”