Date: February 26, 2019
On 28 January Oxford City Council voted unanimously on a motion to adopt the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) definition of Islamophobia that states:
"Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness."
Oxford is the third council in the UK to adopt the APPG definition which includes vague and ambiguous criteria such as, "Accusing Muslims as a group of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Muslim person or group of Muslim individuals, or even for acts committed by non-Muslims."
In 2017, Barnabas Fund published a statement recommending the use of the word “Muslimophobia” when condemning a fear and hatred of Muslim people. In the statement we said that the word “Islamophobia” should be used only to mean fear and hatred of the religious ideology Islam. Our statement also highlighted that it is a cause of much confusion that “Islamophobia” is commonly used to include fear and hatred of Muslim people as well.
We restate our view that Religion/ideology/worldview or any other set of beliefs are separate from the human beings who hold those beliefs. People (e.g. Muslims, Christians) should always be protected; ideas and ideologies (e.g. Islam, Christianity) should not be. It should always be possible to critique and criticise ideas, even though this may hurt people’s feelings. But any other kind of hurt to people because of what they believe should never be tolerated.
Please Join us in Prayer: Pray that the Lord will generously bestow wisdom (James 1:5) to the councilors and local authorities in Oxford, UK and that they will rethink their misguided interpretation of the word “Islamophobia”. Ask that they will be guided to listen to advice (Proverbs 19:20) and accept that poorly chosen words can stir the very hatred they are seeking to overcome.