To be moved by Councillor Karmani Seconded by Councillor Collector
This council believes:
The commonly accepted definitions of Islamophobia are:
Islamophobia is the fear and/or hatred of Islam, Muslims or Islamic culture. Islamophobia can be characterised by the belief that all or most Muslims are religious fanatics, have violent tendencies towards non-Muslims, and reject as directly opposed to Islam such concepts as equality, tolerance, and democracy.
It is viewed as a new form of racism whereby Muslim s, an ethno-religious group, not a race, are nevertheless constructed as a race.
A set of negative assumptions are made of the entire group to the detriment of members of that group.
A summary report on Islamophobia in the EU after September 11, produced by the European Monitoring Centre, showed that while the level and frequency of anti-Muslim acts or sentiments have differed, anti-Muslim sentiments have risen in nearly all EU member countries. (European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, Vienna, May 2002)
Subsequent EU reports in 2006 and 2011 have reinforced this observation and identified that although anti-Muslim hate crime and discrimination is under reported it is on the increase and manifests itself in many ways that are damaging to community relations and increases social exclusion and hostility in the following ways:
– Verbal and physical attacks on Muslims in public places
– Attacks on mosques and desecration of Muslim cemeteries
– Widespread and routine negative stereotypes in the media, including the broadsheets, and in the conversations and ‘common sense’ of non-Muslims; people talk and write about Muslims in ways that would not be acceptable if the reference were to Jewish people, for example, or to black people
– Negative stereotypes and remarks in speeches by political leaders, implying that Muslims in Britain are less committed than others to democracy and the rule of law – for example, the claim by a government minister that Muslims more than others must choose between ‘the British way’ and ‘the terrorist way’
– Discrimination in recruitment and employment practices, and in workplace cultures and customs
– Bureaucratic delay and inertia in responding to Muslim requests for cultural sensitivity in education and healthcare an d in planning applications for mosques
– Lack of attention to the fact that Muslims in Britain are disproportionately affected by poverty and social exclusion
– Non-recognition of Muslims in particular, and of religion in general, by the law of the land, since up until recently discrimination in employment on grounds of religion has been lawful and discrimination in the provision of services is still lawful
– Anomalies in public order legislation, such that Muslims are less protected against incitement to hatred than members of certain other religions
– Laws curtailing civil liberties that disproportionately affect Muslims
Adapted and Abbreviated from Islamophobia – issues, challenges and action, Trentham Books 2004
The report “Muslims in the European Union: Discrimination and Islamophobia” (2006) presents available data on discrimination affecting Muslims in employment, education and housing. In its foreword the report states:
Manifestations of Islamophobia range from verbal threats through to physical attacks on people and property. The report stresses that the extent and nature of discrimination and Islamophobic incidents against European Muslims remain under-documented and under- reported. The EUMC report recommends therefore that Member States improve the reporting of incidents and implement measures to counter discrimination and racism more effectively. The report also includes initiatives and proposals for policy action by EU Member State governments and the European institutions to combat Islamophobia and to foster integration.
The report identifies the need for ‘firm political leadership’ to ensure equal treatment of all Europeans, whatever their background. This includes:
– Implementing EU legislation and adequately resourced equality bodies;
– Recording and policing Islamophobic incidents;
– Implementing social integration and inclusion policies for migrants and minorities;
– Granting equal treatment in employment;
– Improving educational achievement;
– Ensuring equal access to housing;
– Encourage European Muslims to engage more actively in public life (e.g. in political, economic, social and cultural institutions and processes).
Most recently Amnesty International have published *‘Choice and Prejudice-Discrimination against Muslims in Europe’* 2012. Based on extensive interviews and research evidence it begins by quoting Thomas Hammarberg the EU commissioner for Human Rights:
“European countries appear to face another crisis beyond budget deficits – the disintegration of human values. One symptom is the increasing expression of intolerance towards Muslims. Opinion polls in several European countries reflect fear, suspicion and negative opinions of Muslims and Islamic culture. These Islamophobic prejudices are combined with racist attitudes – directed not least against people originating from Turkey, Arab countries and South Asia. Muslims with this background are discriminated [against] in the labour market and the education system in a number of European countries.”
The report also identifies that:
Muslims in Europe face discrimination in several areas of life because of their religion, their ethnic origin or their gender, or a combination of these grounds. Discrimination has a negative impact on their lives and affects their exercise of many human rights. It blights their individual prospects, opportunities and self-esteem and can result in isolation, exclusion and stigmatization. For example, legislation and policies restricting the wearing of religious and cultural symbols and dress often have the effect of excluding from employment Muslim women who choose to manifest their religious, cultural or traditional background by wearing specific forms of dress and thus indirectly contribute to their own marginalization. Some women interviewed during this research said they felt discouraged from seeking employment and thus decided either to stay at home or work in sectors where wearing religious and cultural symbols or dress was perceived to be less problematic. Such legislation and policies are detrimental to women’s equality and autonomy.
Amnesty International is calling on European governments to more strongly enforce existing laws and find ways to counter negative Muslim stereotypes and prevailing attitudes in particular:
1. Establish a national equality body to monitor the implementation of anti-discrimination legislation, collect individual complaints and provide support to victims including advice on informal settlement mechanisms and legal support in cases brought to court. It should be competent to make recommendations to public authorities or private actors on discrimination-related issues and consult with policy makers in designing policies to tackle discrimination on the ground of religion or belief in employment, education as well as in other areas, and it should be adequately resourced to meet its obligations.
2. Monitor discrimination on the ground of religion or belief and its impacts on Muslims as well as on other religious groups, and the multiple discrimination affecting Muslim women and girls in particular. Measures should include collecting data disaggregated by ethnicity, religion and gender, and undertaking public opinion surveys, studies and research on perceptions and experience of discrimination to guide states when developing policies and legislation aimed at tackling discrimination.
3. Ensure that domestic legislation provides that the burden of the proof for discrimination claims in administrative and civil courts is shared. This means that if a claimant has established facts from which it may be presumed that there has been discrimination, it shall be for the respondent to prove that there has been no discrimination.
4. Ratify Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, enshrining a prohibition of discrimination on the ground of religion or belief, among others, in respect of all legal rights, if they have not already done so.
That there has been a significant rise in Islamophobia in the UK in the last ten years demonstrated by blatant attacks on the Muslim community, increased hostility towards them, discrimination, hate crime and vilification.
If left unchallenged this will have a disastrous effect on community relations and cohesion and will increase levels of social exclusion, hostility and conflict. In cases this has resulted in gravitation towards violent extremism and disaffect ion with mainstream political process.
The recent Islamophobic film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ reflects an increased trend of crude, inflammatory and deeply offensive materials on social media that are aimed at only increasing community tensions, promoting division and incitement of religious hatred under the pretence of freedom of expression. Such actions are only set to increase in their frequency, derision and crudity in the near future and hence proactive measures need to be taken to challenge these actions and mitigate their negative impact.
There is an increased overly negative portrayal of Muslims in the mainstream media which reinforces inaccurate stereotypes and collective judgement of the whole Muslim community in the UK.
There is a rise in far-right movements and groups i n the UK and across Europe, with groups explicitly promoting anti-Muslim sentiments and promoting hostility towards all Muslims as a central message.
There is a rise in anti-Muslim legislation in parts of Europe resulting in the curtailing of rights to religious expression for Muslims and certain UK laws in particular the Anti-terror laws have disproportionately targeted people of Muslim background.
There is potentially low reporting of Islamophobic hate crime in the District.
That Bradford District has a large Muslim community that has a global spotlight on it hence proactive measures to address Islamophobia can have a potentially positive global impact. That Bradford council has taken positive measures to challenge discrimination and promote community relations in the past most notably its effective handling of the EDL national demonstration in Bradford 2010; however the Council and its partners need to be more vigilant and explicit in its opposition to all forms of Islamophobia on an ongoing basis.
Challenging Islamophobia is vital if we are to main tain positive community relations in Bradford and be a beacon of best practice in community relation in the UK.
This council resolves to:
Firm political leadership-Endorse the commonly accepted definition of Islamophobia and issue a clear statement that Islamophobia is unacceptable in all its forms and will not be tolerated by the Council and partner institutions.
Monitoring-Take a proactive approach in ensuring policies and procedures are in place to monitor Islamophobia and there is explicit reporting of Islamophobic hate crime and that this is promoted across the District and with partners.
Training- Ensure Bradford Council staff has training in relation to Islamophobia and resources are developed to provide guidance and support to tackle it
Co-ordination- A dedicated Council Officer be responsible for co-ordination and delivery of specific actions relating to Islamophobia
Reporting- Produce an annual report of the Councils actions and performance in preventing Islamophobia and how this relates to the other equality strands
Promote a zero tolerance approach to Islamophobia and work towards demonstrating best practice in this area at a national level.
School Education- encourage schools across the District to address issues related to Islamophobia in its Citizenship curriculum in particular focussing on challenging overly negative media stereotypes and representations of Muslims and monitor schools in relation to this
Community Cohesion- That the Council supports projects that directly challenge Islamophobia in particular third sector agencies an d encourage mutual dialogue and exchange between Muslims and non-Muslims in the District
Religious Expression- That the council make a statement to protect and promote the legitimate religious expression of all faith groups and that they strongly condemn measures that have been enacted by some European countries that have curtailed the rights of Muslims in relation to religious expression.
To be moved by Councillor Ahmed Seconded by Councillor Faisal Khan
This council notes:
The increase in the number of shisha lounges in Bradford and its acceptability as a social past time amongst young people and students.
The harmful health effects of smoking shisha – according to the WHO, an hour of smoking shisha for one hour is equivalent to smoking 200 times the volume of smoke in one cigarette.
The myth that ‘herbal’ or tobacco free is safe – smokers can inhale dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and sharing mouthpieces can lead to diseases and infections.
The smoke produced by a Shisha contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemical s.
Shisha tobacco and smoke contain numerous toxic sub stances known to cause lung, bladder, and oral cancers.
The increase in anti social behaviour, noise pollution and dangerous driving where shisha lounges operate, often near residential areas.
This council resolves:
To monitor and take harsher enforcement action against lounges operating illegally or are violating the conditions of their licence.
To restrict the number of licences issued.
To work in partnership with health organisations an d others to increase awareness of the dangers of smoking shisha. To increase resources in areas where shisha lounges operate to tackle anti-social behaviour.
B8. Councillor Shabbir Residents on the Heaton Grove are concerned that their area is lacking appropriate lighting as a result of which residents have been subject to 5 burglaries since April 2012 as well as antisocial behaviour and drug dealing? Can the portfolio holder assure residents that appropriate surveys have been undertaken to assess the street lighting and that measures are being undertaken to ensure the safety of residents and properties?
C10. Councillor Shabbir Can the Leader inform members what measures are being taken to increase student school places at schools such as Heaton primary, Heaton St Barnabas, Cottingley and Sandy Lane? Does the portfolio holder agree that simply sending children to schools some distance away is not the answer and places additional financial burden and stress on parents and children?
C16. Councillor Karmani Can the leader of the council indicate what significant inward investment has come into Bradford to tackle youth unemployment and what progress has been made so far?
C24. Councillor Collector Residents in the vicinity of Great Horton Road have regularly been subjected to ASB and lack of enforcement of traffic regulations by the council. What strategy is in place to balance the promotion of a late night economy with the rights of residents to access their streets and homes without fear, intimidation and noise pollution?
C33. Councillor Faisal Khan Can the Leader provide a breakdown of which schools have improved the most given the recent results, with a breakdown by locality and ethnicity? What support has been put in place for schools that are still significantly below the national average?
C40. Councillor Karmani What strategy is in place to protect the most vulnerable people when the welfare reforms and cuts to benefits come into full effect next year? W here are the reserves being spent?
C43. Councillor Collector With the hike in student fees leading to 10% less students enrolling at Bradford University, will the leader of the council support and endorse the National Union of Students National demonstration against fees on November 21st titled ‘Educate, Employ, Empower?
C46. Councillor Ahmed Can the Leader tell us what in his opinion would constitute an appropriate consultation exercise for a school to undertake if the school wanted to become an academy or have an academy partner?
C50. Councillor Shabbir In light of recent welcomed planning enforcement can the portfolio holder inform the residents (Haworth Grove) whose lives have been blighted by a development on Roydscliffe Road they too will have a proper and thorough investigation of their concerns about a development which in their view has significantly overstepped its original planning permission. Can you also provide assurances that the council will enforce planning rules and permissions that have been granted?
C51. Councillor Ahmed Would the Leader consider it appropriate for a Muslim Academy to partner a school with a 95% non-Muslim student population? Furthermore would the portfolio folder consider this a plausible situation to arise and if it was to arise what measures would he and the authority insist the school governors of the school undertake?
C52. Councillor Collector According to the Council accounts in 2011, there was ‘a ‘planned’ under spend with the explicit intention of creating a buffer against future budgetary measures’. Also, net revenue spending was £433.5m this year, which was £5.3m lower than budgeted. Can the leader of the council explain why the people of Bradford have suffered greater cuts than needed in the first years of the Tory-led government? Is it any surprise that the Tory government have cut the budget by another £10m for a Labour-run council – especially when they have seen a build-up in the reserves?
C53. Councillor Ahmed Can the Leader inform members how many school appeals are received per year by: School, postcode, ethnicity, disability and economic status. Furthermore, out of the appeals received how many of these are successful broken down into the same categories?
C54. Councillor Shabbir Can the leader of the council tell us what support or grant has been offered to the Power 100 event due to take place shortly in Bradford, and if there has been a grant or support offered what processes were followed? Moreover is this facility available to other councillors to develop projects of community interest and that support Bradford?
C55. Councillor Faisal Khan Can the Leader provide us with an update on the Westfield development?
C56. Councillor Shabbir Can the Leader inform members how a mother living o n a housing estate on Howarth road can take her two children to two different primary schools some five miles apart, when she neither has a car and the daily affordability of ta king her children to and from school?
C57. Councillor Shabbir Can the portfolio holder explain why Bradford is hosting Betsheva Dance company at Alhambra, which is funded by the Israeli government to promote ‘Brand Israel’ is an attempt of cultural whitewashing and sanitising the county’s image of occupation and apartheid in the Palestinian territories?
C58. Councillor Ahmed Can the Leader inform members how many young people from BME communities have been taken into care in the year 2011-2012 and thus far in this current year? Furthermore how many of these young people return home?
C59. Councillor Karmani In light of the recent allegations that social services department failed to listen to girls reporting evidence of abuse (who were victims of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale) what assurance can you make to ensure this does not occur in Bradford?