Hate Crime: 12th March 2018

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I just want to put on the record the fact that the mayor of Broxtowe, Halimah Khaled, just happens to be a Muslim. She happens to be the first person of colour to be mayor of Broxtowe and she is its first Muslim mayor. She also happens to be a Tory. She has completed nearly one year in office, during which time she has had a warm welcome wherever she has gone in my borough, and rightly so. People are sick and tired of hate crime and Islamophobia. This is absolutely no longer to be tolerated. I commend the Minister for everything she has said in her statement, and I do believe this Government take this very seriously. We are not really talking about a hate crime here; it is actually an act of blatant incitement to terrorism. In any event, I am looking over at the co-chair of the all-party group on British Muslims, the hon. Member for Ilford North (Wes Streeting). We have worked together on this, and I am sure he will agree when I say that the time has now come for a proper legal definition of Islamophobia. Does the Minister agree?

Victoria Atkins
I thank my right hon. Friend for her impassioned plea for recognition throughout the country of the role not only of her local mayor, but of many ​other people in public life who happen to practise the Muslim religion as part of their way of life and who contribute so very much to our community. I put on record my thanks to her local mayor.

There are many definitions of Islamophobia, but most people tend to adhere to the one used by the Runnymede Trust. We do not accept the need for a definitive definition, but we know that Islamophobia is clearly recognised and that we have very effective monitoring of race-hate crimes. Considerable work is done on these matters by Tell MAMA and the anti-Muslim hatred working group.