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Public inquiry exposes high levels of Islamophobia in Scotland

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
There are growing calls for an independent review into the scope and impact of Islamophobia in Scotland

Scottish Muslims are more and more likely to be subjected to verbal and physical assaults, especially on public transport, a three-year public inquiry has found.

The inquiry, set up in 2018 by a cross-party group of MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament), warns that Islamophobia is escalating across Scotland, especially in big cities like Glasgow.

The inquiry interviewed a wide-range of Scottish Muslims, from different backgrounds, a staggering 83 percent of whom claimed to have experienced Islamophobia directly.  

The inquiry’s report, produced by Newcastle University professor Peter Hopkins, recommends that all political parties in Scotland adopt a “no tolerance” approach to Islamophobia.  

It also recommends using the Scottish education system to inculcate a better understanding of Islamophobia as well as recruiting more police officers from “diverse communities”.

In addition, the report calls on the Scottish government to commission a full independent review into Islamophobia.

Report author Professor Hopkins teaches social geography at Newcastle University and has been researching issues of racism and Islamophobia in Scotland for 20 years.  

Responding to the report, Scottish Labor leader, Anas Sarwar, said the findings “should shame us all”.

"There are people in Scotland who feel scared to leave their homes for fear of verbal or physical attack, are withdrawing from public services with devastating knock-on consequences on their health and education and feel they are outsiders in their own country”, Sarwar added.

Meanwhile, a Scottish government spokeswoman issued the following statement: "We are committed to tackling hate crime and prejudice, including Islamophobia in all its forms and we will carefully consider this inquiry's recommendations”.

The spokeswoman added that the Scottish government is planning to develop a new “hate crime strategy” later this year “in consultation with stakeholders”.


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