Press Release

Proposed Islamophobia definition curtails free speech, new anthology warns

22 August 2019         Issued by: Christian Concern
  • Proposed Islamophobia definition risks curtailing free speech, a new collection of essays warns.
  • A wide range of contributors are represented in a new collection of essays expressing concerns about attempts to define ‘Islamophobia’.

Christian Concern welcomes today’s release of Islamophobia: An Anthology of Concerns, published by cross-party think tank Civitas.

The book contains essays by a wide range of contributors from a variety of religious and philosophical persuasions. Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Peter Tatchell, Ed Husain, Lord Singh of Wimbledon, and Tim Dieppe from Christian Concern.

Attempts to define ‘Islamophobia’ risk curtailing freedom of speech and hindering work intended to expose extremist activities, a new collection of essays warns.

Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern said: “This anthology shows the widespread concern about formalising a definition of Islamophobia. People from many different faith persuasions or none can all agree that free speech is one of the fundamental requirements of a free society.

“The proposed definition by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims is vague and dangerous. Its adoption would clearly lead to restrictions on what can be said about Islamic beliefs and practices. It is shocking and disturbing that various political parties and local councils have rushed to adopt this definition without proper consideration of the consequences.

“Anyone concerned about free speech should read this collection of essays, and reflect on how close we are as a society to curtailing free speech and legitimate discussion when it comes to Islamic beliefs and practices.

“Society should not be encouraging a proliferation of phobias whereby groups compete for victim status. Terms such as anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh, anti-Hindu, or anti-Christian are already clear and sufficient.”


Notes for editors

Islamophobia: An Anthology of Concerns is published by the cross-party think tank Civitas on Thursday August 22nd. A PDF of the full text can be read here Hard copies are available to journalists on request.

The collection includes essays from:-

  • Emma Webb, director of the Forum on Integration, Democracy and Extremism (FIDE) at Civitas;
  • Dr Rumy Hasan, senior lecturer in the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex;
  • Peter Tatchell, director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation;
  • David Green, director of Civitas;
  • Professor Paul Cliteur, professor of Jurisprudence at Leiden University in the Netherlands;
  • Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern;
  • Hardeep Singh, deputy-director for the Network of Sikh Organisations
  • Pragna Patel, a founder and director of Southall Black Sisters advice and advocacy centre
  • Ed Husain, director of Islam, the West and Geopolitics at Civitas;
  • Maryam Namazie, spokesperson for Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation, One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain;
  • Mohammed Amin, former chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum;
  • The National Secular Society;
  • David Toube, director of policy at the Quilliam Foundation.
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