Professor at Ilford event: We are combating Islamophobia at a time of political optimism
- Credit: Archant
The election of the Labour Party’s new leader presents “the best window of opportunity” in eradicating Islamophobia, according to a sociology lecturer.
Speaking yesterday at a Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) event in Ilford, Professor David Miller, of the University of Bath, said he was “more enthusiastic than I have ever been” about tackling hate crime.
He said: “It’s possible to make progress today – look at Scotland [at the general election].
“We now have [Jeremy] Corbyn and it’s the best window we have had for decades.
“We’re at a point of political optimism and it’s important that we work together because that’s the way we’re going to win.”
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Prof Miller, a director at investigations group Spinwatch, went through his “five pillars of Islamophbia” at the Ilford Islamic Centre event in Albert Road, before MEND’s chief executive officer Sufyan Gulam Ismail talked about tackling Islamophobia on the ground.
The professor’s five pillars were identified as the state and the effects of counter-terrorism policy, far right groups, the neoconservative right, the Zionist movement and liberal interventionists.
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Prof Miller said: “The resistance has to be multifaceted and it has to involve many different groups.
“We’re faced with a government that has no conception of democracy – it has a policy based on the idea of radicalisation.
“All political changes have come about because of radical people.”
He added: “They need to change things because it’s a recipe for a society that hates itself.”
Mr Ismail encouraged the large crowd to join the organisation’s Ilford group to find ways of combating Islamophobia.
“If you want to make a difference be a part of the Ilford group – you just have to give two hours a month,” he said.
“If local people pick up this challenge this thing [Islamophobia] will die – its success hinges on people like you.
“We’re engaging with Christian, Sikh and Jewish communities too,” he added.
The group plans to set up non-Muslim advisory groups.
Redbridge Conservatives’ leader Cllr Paul Canal rejected the idea that Mr Corbyn was man to bring about change.
“It’s quite preposterous,” he said.
“What needs to happen is every British person, irrespective of their religious background, has to be opposed to Islamophobia.
“And more people need to integrate into British society and accept British law.”