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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Aberdeenshire council sparks controversy by not agreeing definition of Islamophobia

ABERDEENSHIRE Council has sparked controversy by voting to defer on agreeing a definition of Islamophobia.

The Tory-LibDem led administration voted to wait until the next council cycle to find an agreement due to concerns of there being “negative consequences of adopting a definition”.

And some councillors supporting the agreement have questioned this as the definition proposed has already been agreed upon by other local councils across the UK.

The definition was based on the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims’ interpretation of Islamophobia.

READ MORE: Alister Jack defends saying ‘suck it up’ to ‘grumbling’ Deidre Brock

The definition reads: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

And now any future agreement has been deferred to the next business services committee meeting, which, due to summer recess, is likely to happen in late August or early September.

Gwyneth Petrie, leader of the SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire, said the administration had “kicked this down the road by two or three months” which was “crazy”.

She added that there was no clear reason for the move to defer other than “for the sake of it”.

However, she went on to invite those voted to defer to come forward and make their reasoning clear.

The decision also disappointed Fatima Joji, the only Muslim councillor in Aberdeenshire who described the move as a “cop out”.

Joji said: “I felt really disappointed and as the only Muslim councillor, felt let down by my colleagues in the council group who decided to defer for this flimsy reason.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe where they live and everyone has the right to expect that their representatives are uprholding that right on their behalf.”

Aberdeenshire council sparks controversy by not agreeing definition of Islamophobia

When asked why she thought why an agreement had been deferred, she said: “Some of the views that have come from the councillors, I’m just a bit worried. Some of the language that was used to justify deferring it, I feel we have a lot to address in terms of how we educate ourselves on issues that affect marginalised communities.

“Probably because our area is less diverse than other areas, people don’t see it or understand it. I think it’s incumbent on councillors to go out there and find these answers.”

Council leader Mark Findlater declined to comment. 



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