University adopts definition of Islamophobia
The University has adopted the working definition of Islamophobia developed by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims alongside the guidelines from the Coalition Against Islamophobia.
The definition outlines that “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
By conceptualising Islamophobia as a type of racism, this definition recognises that Muslims are subject to more than just overt expressions of religious hatred and abuse, but a system of discrimination, control, and exclusion that is manifested in public, economic, political and social spheres of life.
The decision to adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) definition is not intended to curtail free speech and academic freedom and is part of wider efforts towards race equality and anti racism, promoting a culture of inclusion.
The University will use the guidelines developed by the Coalition Against Islamophobia as a framework to support the implementation of the APPG definition.
We are deeply committed to tackling racism and have a clear Race Equality and Anti-Racist action plan. Adopting this formal definition will allow us to better understand how Islamophobia manifests itself, so that we can devise meaningful strategies to tackle it and promote an inclusive culture where all members of our community feel safe and supported to participate in all areas of university life.
The proposal to adopt the APPG definition was put forward initially by the Tackling Islamophobia Working Group, which includes representatives from staff and student networks, as well as colleagues from HR, Chaplaincy and the Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World.
The University's adoption of the All Party Political Group definition, with guidelines from the Coalition Against Islamophobia, is an important step in addressing Islamophobia. It will allow the University to identify how Islamophobia manifests itself and functions and therefore, develop meaningful strategies to tackle it.
Several awareness raising and discussion events took place during Islamophobia Awareness Month in 2021 before the proposal was formally endorsed by the Edinburgh Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the University Executive.