Britain’s Back-Door Blasphemy Law by Soeren Kern (Gatestone Inst.)

Jun. 8, 2019

  • The long-running dispute revolves — most recently — around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.
  • The proposed definition has been opposed by many Britons, including British Muslims, who warn that it would effectively shield Islam from scrutiny and valid criticism.
  • “We have here a clash between two very different ways of viewing a society: broadly individualism and collectivism…. In a collectivist society the aim is for the rulers to determine how individuals should behave … those in power lay down a detailed code and threaten punishment for non-compliance. And they do not welcome criticism as a device for mutual learning and holding power to account.” — David Green, The Spectator.
  • “We are concerned that allegations of Islamophobia will be, indeed already are being, used to effectively shield Islamic beliefs and even extremists from criticism, and that formalizing this definition will result in it being employed effectively as something of a backdoor blasphemy law.” — Open letter signed by 40 British academics, writers and public officials to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Days after the British government rejected its preferred official definition of Islamophobia, the Muslim Council of Britain, the biggest Islamic organization in Britain, called for the ruling Conservative Party to be officially investigated for Islamophobia.

The dispute revolves around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.

The APPG, in a November 2018 report titled, “Islamophobia Defined,” proposed the following one-sentence definition of Islamophobia:

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

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