first Muslim Mayor has called on the borough council to formally adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia.
Faisal Rashid, now MP for Warrington South, became the town’s first Muslim Mayor in 2016.
He has made his request in a letter to council leader Russ Bowden.
Home Office data released last year, highlighted a surge in reports of hate crime directed at people in England and Wales because of their religious beliefs. The figures showed that 52 per cent of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, of which Faisal is an active member, is investigating prejudice and discrimination against British Muslims. The Group has launched a working definition on Islamophobia with the aim of building a common understanding of the causes and consequences of Islamophobia and to show a united determination to end it.
The definition is as follows:
“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recently adopted the definition and the Labour Party has also adopted it, arguing that it is vital to tackling the rise of far-right racism.
Mr Rashid said: “As a Muslim MP and as a proud advocate of tolerance, peace and integration, this issue is close to my heart. I have always understood the value of embracing difference and bringing communities together.
“Since coming to live in Warrington for over 20 years, my family and I have always felt welcome. I am proud to call Warrington my home. Sadly, not all ethnic minorities are as fortunate as I have been to live in such a hospitable, tolerant environment.
“Tragically, earlier this year we witnessed the atrocities that took place in New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed. This evil terror attack in Christchurch served as a terrible reminder that we still have much to do to put an end to the hatred that exists in the world.
“I have written to council leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, and to the council’s chief executive, Steven Broomhead, to formally request that the council adopts the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia.
“I am absolutely committed to building a society and world free from all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. There should be zero tolerance of any form of hate crime. And that is why I believe that it is essential that Warrington Borough Council adopts this definition.”