Redbridge councillor talks of ‘open racism’ as Islamophobia definition adopted

Redbridge Town Hall

Redbridge Town Hall - Credit: Archant

A dog was set loose on a Redbridge politician’s six-year-old niece while her mother had her headscarf torn off in separate Islamophobic incidents.

Cllr Shamshia Ali recounted harrowing experiences of anti-Muslim abuse during a full council meeting in Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road, on Thursday, January 17.

The stories were heard as councillors across party lines voted unanimously in favour of the All Parliamentary Party Group’s (APPG) for British Muslims definition of Islamophobia.

Cllr Ali added: “It seems Brexit has legitimised open racism and it is women who bear the brunt of this.”

The motion was put forward by Labour leader Jas Athwal and seconded by Conservative leader Cllr Linda Huggett.

“Islamophobia is a form of racism and is something that should not be tolerated in any country,” said Cllr Jas Athwal.

“What we have to do is root out the prejudice and the outright racism that people around the world have to suffer.”

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He thanked Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, co-chair of the APPG, for his work in developing the definition by holdig consultation events across the country including in Gardens of Peace Cemetery in Hainault.

The APPG defines Islamophobia as “rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

Cllr Huggett said: “We at Redbridge Council are proud of our record on hate crime.

“We are lucky to have a rich tapestry of cultures here that is one of the things that makes Redbridge and the country great.

“Discrimination of any kind or any hatred is not to be tolerated, any single case of abuse is one too many.

“But we can never, ever be complacent. We are always looking to do more to stamp out discrimination of any kind as nobody in Redbridge should ever have to live in fear of abuse or attack.”

Redbridge is now the second borough in the country to adopt the definition following neighbouring Newham.

In January last year the council also adopted the International Holocaust Rememberance Alliance’s (IHRA) defintion of anti-Semitism.

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