UK: Ex-envoy criticizes new definition of Islamophobia

Sir John Jenkins says definition outlined by parliamentary group on British Muslims is ‘not only inadequate but decisive’.

UK: Ex-envoy criticizes new definition of Islamophobia

A former diplomat has criticized the new working definition of Islamophobia outlined by a parliamentary group on British Muslims last month.

In a report by think tank Policy Exchange, titled ‘Defining Islamophobia’, Sir John Jenkins is critical of the definition and questioned the nature of the research carried out by the parliamentary group.

On Nov. 27, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims published a working definition on Islamophobia, concluding that ”Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

“There is no doubt that the MPs involved had – and have – the best of intentions. Anti-Muslim hatred and bigotry is a problem that needs to be addressed both politically, societally and individually. But the proposed definition of Islamophobia is not only inadequate but divisive and potentially damaging to social cohesion,” he said.

He also warned that should the government adopt this definition, it would endanger free speech, press freedoms and allow open attack on counter-extremism policy.

Jenkins, the former ambassador to Libya, Syria and Myanmar, also said “many questions need to be asked about how the report was compiled; whether due diligence was carried out on its authors and their sources; and what the definition of Islamophobia could mean in practice.”

The critical report also mentions how the new definition could be used by Islamist groups to protect themselves from criticism and use the definition as a front to further their cause.

The APPG have not yet responded to the allegations and queries posed by Jenkins and the report.