On 13th February 2020 Lord Sheikh asked the Government “what progress they have made towards the adoption of a formal definition of Islamophobia.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we on these Benches deplore all attacks on any religious groups and we note particularly the huge rise in the deeply concerning issue of attacks on Muslims. The Minister will be aware of the media reports on Imam Asim of Makkah mosque in Leeds and his comments on free speech. Does the Minister agree with me and the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury that Muslims and all religious groups deserve better media? Does he further agree that, alongside law, we need to seriously address this through education?
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On 14th January 2019 Baroness Finn tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the potential consequences of adopting an official definition of Islamophobia.’ The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, asked a follow up question:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, on the overall question of definitions, sometimes it is much easier to do things when we handle them as concepts. In the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, we struggled with the question of racism, particularly when it is found in institutions, so we ended up saying: “The concept that we apply to this case of institutional racism is this”. That is much easier than a definition because a definition can restrict what you want to say. Is it not better to learn from what the Stephen Lawrence inquiry did?
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