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Public inquiry to probe Islamophobia in Scotland

CPG Tackling Islamophobia chair Anas Sarwar - Image credit: David Anderson

Public inquiry to probe Islamophobia in Scotland

The first ever public inquiry into Islamophobia will be held in Scotland to examine the extent of racism towards Muslims in the country.

The inquiry by Holyrood’s Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Tackling Islamophobia will seek feedback from the public, employers and organisations about experiences with Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred, through written responses, verbal evidence sessions and outreach across the country.

The CPG said it invited evidence about the “current nature and extent” of Islamophobia in Scotland, including gendered Islamophobia, intersections and other prejudices; the role of media, the public sector and politicians in tackling Islamophobia; the impact on children, young people and families; and steps that can be taken to “challenge and overcome Islamophobia”.

Chair of CPG Tackling Islamophobia MSP Anas Sarwar said the group had “established that Scotland is not immune from Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.”

“We now want to gather evidence on the nature and extent of Islamophobia and identify the steps that should be taken to challenge and overcome hatred and prejudice, working with the Scottish Government and politicians, public bodies, and the media,” Sarwar said.

“The fight against hate is a fight for all of us; and working together we can build a Scotland free of Islamophobia and all forms of prejudice.”

Meanwhile, new polling released by anti-racism group Hope Not Hate revealed the levels of Islamophobia among Conservative Party members.

The poll, conducted by YouGov, revealed only 8 per cent of Tory party members would "be proud of Britain if we were to elect a Muslim as our Prime Minister", and 43 per cent would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister. Further, 40 per cent said the number of Muslims entering Britain should be reduced.

The inquiry comes after Scotland’s political parties agreed to adopt a formal definition of Islamophobia to combat hate crime in April this year.

The definition classified discrimination against Muslims as a form of racism, stating: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

Last week Sarwar and Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf were named Political Hero of the Year at the Holyrood Garden Party and Political Awards, for their work fighting against Islamophobia.

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