Cllr Irfan Mohammed is Lambeth’s Business Champion and a councillor for Ferndale Ward.
In the week after the Christchurch terror attack in New Zealand in March of this year, Tell Mama UK, a charity which campaigns against anti-Muslim hatred, reported that Islamophobic incidents reported to the police rocketed by almost 600 percent in the UK. This rise is higher than that seen after the 2017 Manchester bombing. It is clear that Islamophobia and the presence of the far right is on the rise in the UK, and we have a duty as a Labour council and leaders in our community to tackle this hatred head on, and help to create an open, understanding, and loving society.
Lambeth is home to one of the most diverse populations anywhere in the country – our diversity is a strength of our borough, and runs at the core of our identity. We will not allow an age of populism and fear mongering to divide our borough or make people feel that they are not welcome in Lambeth.
On the 17 July, Lambeth Labour will present a motion to full council for Lambeth to adopt the APPG on British Muslims’’ definition of Islamophobia. The definition is: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. By adopting this definition, Lambeth is sending a clear message that we recognise the rise in Islamophobia and are committed to taking serious action to tackle it. Alongside adopting this motion, we are pledging to engage with local Muslim community groups and organisations to combat hatred.
It is hugely disappointing that the Tory government has chosen not to adopt the definition. We urge the Home Secretary to join Lambeth, City Hall, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, The Green Party, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party and Scottish Conservatives, and backed by 750 Muslim organisations and institutions by adopting the APPG on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia. At every level of government in the UK, we must be clear on how we define Islamophobia and how we will tackle it head on – only then can we together rid this scourge from our society.
Cllr Irfan Mohammed