This activist perfectly explains why being Islamophobic is racist

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Thursday 16 May 2019 11:30
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(iStock / ozgurdonmaz)

Activist and spokesperson for the Muslim Council, Miqdaad Versi’s Twitter thread has gone viral after he explained in painstaking detail why being Islamophobic is being racist, and he’s urging the government to reconsider its rejection of the recent all party parliamentary group’s (APPG) definition.

Change UK's Anna Soubry, who co-chairs the APPG called the government’s rejection of the recent proposed definition of Islamophobia a “revealing moment for the Conservative Party.”

Writing for The Independent in a scathing column, she remarked: “The government should embrace it and then get on with rooting out Islamophobia in Britain. They could do no better than to start in rooting it out in the Conservative Party itself.”

The all party parliamentary group (APPG) on Muslims recently proposed the following definition:

Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.

It has been adopted by every political party (including the Scottish Conservative Party) bar the DUP and the national Conservative Party.

A government spokesperson said it would consider the change last year, but Theresa May is now expected to reject the definition, and police said the proposed definition would “underline counterterror operations and threaten free speech.”

In response, Versi outlined why the definition is important, arguing that there have been “bad faith attacks” on APPG’s definition.

“Let's start with the link to racism,” he began. ‘Islamophobia is a type of racism’: Islam is obviously a faith & Muslims come from a range of ethnic backgrounds. However, the way Islamophobia is manifested is like any form of racism as it is well established Muslims have become racialised."

What this means is that a white Muslim with a name like Muhammad, or a black Muslim woman wearing a headscarf or an Asian Muslim reading the Quran on a train, all may be treated by a racist ‘as a Muslim’ because the racist has a perception of what a Muslim is or believes

Of course a black Muslim may also suffer from anti-black racism because of being black; and a Muslim woman may also suffer from misogyny from being a woman - but this is about when they are targeted for their Muslimness - will come back to this later.

He continued in the thread:

He began by giving very clear examples of inherently "racist acts" committed against Muslims.

And provided examples of times when Muslims were specifically targeted for their "Muslimness"

And emphasised the importance of distinguishing different forms of discrimination with Islamophobia

Versi also explained why "expressions of Muslimness" is an important part of the definition

And Versi concluded by saying the proposed definition has the support of the very community it is trying to protect

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