Opinion: All of us can fight against Islamophobia
PUBLISHED: 08:30 19 May 2019
Ramadan is an incredibly important month for Muslims in Redbridge and around the world.
During Ramadan, families will come together after sunset to break their fast in what is called an Iftar. Food is served generously, and many share this with friends and neighbours.
I'm really pleased to hear about community Iftars being organised locally and the brilliant interfaith work being done to bring people of different beliefs together. I'm looking forward to hosting a Big Iftar in parliament with the speaker, John Bercow.
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This is also an important opportunity to reflect on the difficult issues that the Muslim community have recently faced. The rise in Islamophobia, most horrifyingly represented in the terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, shows there is still so much to do to combat this form of racism.
To tackle prejudice we need to understand it.
Today, as co-chair of the All-Party Group on British Muslims, I am leading a debate in Parliament outlining our ground-breaking proposal for a new working definition of Islamophobia.
It has already won the backing of mayors in London, Manchester and Liverpool, local authorities like Redbridge, the first minister of Scotland and almost every major political party. It's not about protecting religion from criticism; it is about protecting people from discrimination and hatred.
The fight against Islamophobia cannot be left to Muslims alone. All of us have a responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with others who face prejudice.