The APPG on Islamophobia

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia, set up in November 2010, says that its purpose is:

  • To investigate the forms, manifestations and extent of prejudice and discrimination against Muslims in the UK today.
  • To review the effectiveness of all legislation with a view to improving the rate of success in the prosecution of hate crimes.
  • To review existing mechanisms for the recording of anti-Muslim hate crimes both through police forces across the country and through third party reporting sites witha view to improving data quality and comprehensivity.
  • To investigate and review the role of the media in fostering mutual respect and tolerance and guarding against misrepresentations of Islam and intolerance towards Muslims.

Further details of the Group including its members can be found here

The formation of the Group was immediately followed by controversy over ENGAGE, the organisation appointed as its secretariat. Following a report by Dr Chris Allen, ENGAGE was removed from the secretariat in July 2011. The links below chart this.

An All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia has been launched in the House of Commons

24 November 2010

At its inaugural Annual General Meeting, members elected Keighley and Ilkley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins to serve as its Chair with Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes and Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone as Vice-Chairs.

The Group has so far attracted the interest of more than 20 MPs and peers from across both Houses of Parliament.

Mr Hopkins thanked attendees for being part of what he described as a “momentous occasion.”

He said: “Whilst challenges will undoubtedly arise in the weeks and months ahead, my colleagues and I are hugely committed to the task in hand. “I believe there is already a very strong resolve amongst members to better understand the complex issues involved, and to propose considered, evidencebased policies to tackle Islamophobia wherever it exists.” Read more

Islamists establish a bridgehead in Parliament 

By Andrew Gilligan, November 25th, 2010

After a series of reverses in the political arena, Islamist sympathisers yesterday established a key bridgehead in Parliament.

A body called iEngage (also known as Engage) states in a press release that it will be acting as the secretariat to a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia, whose inaugural meeting was held yesterday in the Commons. The group is chaired by a Tory MP, Kris Hopkins. The Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes and the Labour peer Lord Janner are vice-chairs. Sources say that the inaugural meeting was attended by the Tory MPs Angie Bray and Eric Ollerenshaw, among others. 546 Comments Comment on this article. Read more

Three tests for a new All-Party Group on Islamophobia

By Paul Goodman, November 29, 2010

…. there’s no reason why the Muslim Brotherhood or the Jamaat e Islami shouldn’t give their view to a group of MPs.  But it goes almost without saying that they should be cross-questioned rigorously.  And evidence should come from a wide range of sources, representing a broad range of views. 

No enquiry would be worthwhile without evidence from such former Ministers as Blears and Kelly. Some of the Barelwi pirs who founded the British Muslim Forum have strong views on Salafi as well as anti-Muslim and anti-Islam extremism, as does Dr Tahir Al Qadri.  Quilliam and Centri are well briefed on ideologies. Read more

Anti-Islamophobia parliamentary group drop ‘Islamist’ secretariat

By Martin Bright, December 8, 2010

A new parliamentary group set up to tackle Islamophobia has been forced to end its partnership with a controversial Muslim organisation which has campaigned against “Zionist” teachings at Jewish schools. It has also defended radical Islamist preachers and targeted moderate Muslim groups which raised concerns about the rise of Islamist politics in Britain. Read more

All Party Islamophobia Group “to dispense with the services of Engage”

by Paul Goodman, Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Martin Bright has the story: the proposed All-Party Group on Islamophobia is to have a new Secretariat. It is “to dispense with the services of Engage” – at least, if the advice of Kris Hopkins, its Conservative Chair, and Greville Janner, its Labour Vice-Chair, is heeded.

They’ve taken the right decision. It’s hard to imagine any sensible Parliamentarians not heeding it. So the right replacement’s now needed. The MPs and Peers involved will doubtless feel, as will others, that it’s essential to find an credible, expert and dispassionate secretariat as soon as possible. Read more

MPs walk out in battle over Islamist group

By Andrew Gilligan, 30 Jan 2011

The chairman and vice-chairman of an all-party parliamentary group tackling “discrimination” against Muslims have resigned after the group granted a Commons security pass to an Islamist sympathiser.

Kris Hopkins, Tory MP for Keighley, and the Labour peer Lord Janner, quit the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia after failing to persuade their colleagues to sack a body called iEngage as the group’s secretariat.

iEngage, also known as Engage, is an organisation of Islamist sympathisers which has repeatedly defended extremists. Last year, it called on the Government to revoke a ban on a hardline foreign preacher who has said that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”.

According to parliamentary records, iEngage’s head of research, Shenaz Bunglawala, has been granted a Commons pass in her capacity as the all-party group’s secretary. The records also state that iEngage “acts as the group’s secretariat,” a role which involves taking minutes of its meetings and heavily influencing its reports and speaker programme. Read more

Islamophobia group keeps controversial anti-Zionist link

By Martin Bright, February 15, 2011

The new all party parliamentary group on Islamophobia has voted by a narrow margin to retain the controversial anti-Zionist iEngage organisation as its secretariat.

Concerns about the sectarian politics of iEngage (also known simply as Engage) led to the resignation of the group’s Conservative Chair Kris Hopkins MP and one of its vice-chairs, veteran Jewish Labour peer Greville Janner.

The appointment is a direct challenge to Prime Minister David Cameron, who called for Islamist groups to be given a wide berth in a recent speech to a security conference in Munich. Read more

Tough on Islamism; tough on the causes of Islamism

A guest post by LibertyPhile, February 19, 2011

ENGAGE says it is dedicated to promoting the involvement of British Muslims in politics and the media. That might well be the case but it is half the story. ENGAGE has its own political agenda that it wants to push.

Over a recent six month period ENGAGE published on the top page of its website 236 news items.

A quarter concerned British policy in the Middle East, Israel, Zionism or Jews, of a critical or negative nature; 12% concerned British anti-terror policies and actions (e.g., body scanners at airports are a bad idea, they interfere with freedom of religion!) and 8% concerned attacks or criticism of other Muslims especially those who show they are integrated in any way in British society, such as Yasmin Alibhai Brown (she doesn’t like the Burqa or veiling), the Quilliam Foundation, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, and Taj Hargey. Read more

iEngage: Foreign Affairs

Lucy Lips, February 22nd 2011

iEngage presents itself as a body which campaigns against Islamophobia. However, it spends its time attacking Muslim liberals and progressives, as well as journalists and politicians who oppose hate preachers and Islamist political parties.

It also engages in advocacy for Islamist terrorist organisations and their supporters, and demands various changes to Britain’s foreign policies. Here are a few examples. Read more

ENGAGE blasts the ‘idiot Cameron’

Archbishop Cranmer, March 08, 2011

ENGAGE (aka iENGAGE) is an initiative designed to improve British Muslim representation and participation in British media and politics. There is, quite arguably, a place for such an organisation in today’s society to counter some of the more irrational manifestations of prejudice against Muslims, which ought to have no place in an enlightened liberal democracy. Its Project Director is Shenaz Bunglawala, who is also the Vice-Chair of the Europe and International Affairs Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain.

ENGAGE supports the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamophobia, which was formed last year Read more

Independent report to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia

Dr Chris Allen, 19 July, 2011

“Most damning … is the realisation that Islamophobia – the very issue that the APPG was set up to consider – was completely removed from the frame within which all of the participants – commentators, iENGAGE and Parliamentarians – operated within.

Islamophobia was lost. All overlooked or sidelined any focus on Islamophobia, some in preference of pursuing their own individual, organisational, political or other agendas, causes and campaigns.

In truth, since its launch in November 2010 the APPG on Islamophobia has been little more than a sideshow: an unhelpful, unwanted and unnecessary distraction from giving Islamophobia the rightful, timely and necessary attention it so desperately needs. There can be no doubt whatsoever that the credibility of the APPG has been damaged.” [wallscometumblingdown] Read more

“Chris Allen’s stupid report”: responses to my report to the APPG on Islamophobia

Dr Chris Allen, 22 July, 2011

Following on from the APPG on Islamophobia’s decision to remove iENGAGE from its role as Secretariat on Monday, listed below are links to some of the coverage that has mentioned my report.

…. Inayat’s Corner’s states that “the report gave the Islamophobies just what they needed” at the same time noting Bob Pitt’s “very firm response” which was basically him calling me a “fucking idiot”.

Martin Bright in the Jewish Chronicle uses the following quote from the report:

“[i-Engage] rarely seem to differentiate between what might be legitimate criticism, what might be illegitimate criticism, and what might be rather more derogatory or Islamophobic. Without any critical differentiation, [i-Engage] responded in exactly the same way, failing to recognise the difference between legitimate and illegitimate criticism but more crucially the difference between criticism and Islamophobia.” [wallscometumblingdown] Read more

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