Call for Anglophobia to be seen as issue alongside Islamophobia

Moray councillors said they had received accounts of people who had suffered from anti-English behaviour.

Call for Anglophobia to be recognised as an issue alongside Islamophobia in Moray Handout

A call has been made for the issue of Anglophobia to be recognised alongside discrimination rooted in racism.

The matter was discussed at a meeting of Moray Council corporate committee on Tuesday during which members agreed unanimously to adopt a definition of Islamophobia, set out by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims at Westminster and backed by all parties at Holyrood.

The notice of motion was put forward by council leader Graham Leadbetter following a request from the Muslim Engagement and Development group.

It will help the local authority strengthen its equalities responsibilities by eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation of Muslims, promoting equality of opportunity and fostering good relations between communities.

Councillor for Forres Claire Feaver wholeheartedly supported the adoption of the motion, but raised the issue of anti-English behaviour.

She said: “I think we also need to recognise along with Islamophobia, Anglophobia.

“As a minority group in Moray, I get more emails and telephone calls from people who’ve suffered from Anglophobia and I’d like to flag that up.

“Anglophobia is there all the time, numerous constituents over the last five years have come to me asking what we’re going to do about this.”

She asked if anything could be included to acknowledge the issue.

However, Leadbetter felt it would not be appropriate to change the wording as a lot of work had gone into agreeing a clear, well researched definition of Islamophobia.

He said: “We would all agree any form of discrimination is completely unacceptable. It’s a particularly insidious form of abuse.

“But we are at risk if we randomly add bits to this motion because there are many areas it could cover.

“For example, we could add gypsy traveller discrimination, which is significant and widespread.

“I’m not averse to having that (Anglophobia) incorporated into the council’s policies, I just think it needs to be done correctly.

“If there is a definition to be incorporated then we need to know what that definition is. I don’t want to make that up on the hoof.”

Councillor for Keith and Cullen Donald Gatt welcomed the strengthening of the council’s equalities policies.

He said: “Any victimisation of people because of their race or their religion or their colour is to be condemned utterly.

“Sadly I do have to report about two years ago I myself was subject to it.

“I was told to go back to England and I was born in Perth, so I’m as Scottish as anybody else.

“I would welcome any other moves to eradicate this hatred we have in society whether it’s Islamophobia, Anglophobia or Anti-Semitism.”

The agreed definition agreed by the council states: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

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