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‘Islamophobia’ Revisited

Hardeep Singh, September 2023

Islamophobia Revisited by Hardeep Singh builds on a previous collection of essays on Islamophobia published by Civitas in August 2019. Hardeep Singh returns to this topic, and in Islamophobia Revisited conducts a thorough investigation into how Islamophobia is defined by local authorities describing a ‘panoply’ of different approaches and definitions.

In response to a large-scale Freedom of Information exercise, Singh discovers that one in seven (15.6 per cent) local authorities in England have adopted a definition of ‘Islamophobia’ described by the government as ‘not fit for purpose’. Singh finds 22.7 per cent of Welsh local authorities and 25 per cent of Scottish local authorities have adopted this disputed definition.

The adoption of a disputed definition of Islamophobia has ‘taken on a life of its own’ according to Singh, who raises concerns over conflating race with religion and claims that ‘Islamophobia is a type of racism.’

Singh raises concerns over an officially recognised definition of Islamophobia, something he says ‘conflates race with religion’ across local authorities. Singh provides compelling evidence that not enough due diligence or scrutiny has been conducted by local authorities over their approach to defining Islamophobia as a form of racism, with concerns over free speech ‘largely dismissed.’

Singh claims the adoption of a disputed definition of Islamophobia prevents ‘an honest conversation about public policies relating to faith or religion, or basic historical truths’, and recommends that local councils do more to protect free speech and avoid critics of religion or religious practice being described as ‘racist’ and potential prosecution under hate speech laws.

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