BNU creates and adopts new definition of Islamophobia
Buckinghamshire New University has become the first university to create a definition of Islamophobia with examples which it has now formally adopted.
Recent research by the University of Birmingham revealed the shocking pervasiveness of negative attitudes to Muslims among the British public. BNU recognised the complex nature of defining Islamophobia, so worked with the Muslim community and consulted with experts, to understand how best to define and challenge it, while also considering the context of education and existing definitions of Islamophobia.
Following a lengthy process, the University Senate recently endorsed the working definition and examples of Islamophobia recommended by BNU’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
The University’s definition is as follows:
“A fear, prejudice, hostility or hatred of Muslims or non-Muslim individuals that transcends into religious or racial discrimination or intolerance, by excluding or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, of equal human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, educational or any other areas of public life, both in the online and offline world”.
The definition includes a non-exhaustive list of examples of Islamophobia in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere. You can read these on our website here.
Existing definitions and examples that were considered included: Runnymede Trust (1997 and 2017); Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) (2018); the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) (2018); the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) rejection statement (2020); and a proposed UN definition (2020).
We want to help our Muslim community at BNU to thrive without prejudice or discrimination and hope that this definition can educate, drive change and, ultimately, help us create a more welcoming environment, both within and outside BNU.”Professor Nick Braisby Vice-Chancellor
Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor, Buckinghamshire New University, said: “Islamophobia is abhorrent. By proudly creating and adopting a new definition of Islamophobia, we will continue playing our part in fighting inequality and building an equitable and just society, where everyone can be themselves and contribute to their full potential. We want to help our Muslim community at BNU to thrive without prejudice or discrimination and hope that this definition can educate, drive change and, ultimately, help us create a more welcoming environment, both within and outside BNU.”
Karla Inniss, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Business Partner, and Dr Simon Lee-Price, Student Achievement and Success Senior Lecturer in DfSS, who have been leading this work, have been invited by Advance HE to share the University’s approach at their national Equality, Diversity and Inclusion conference in March 2023.
The University’s definition of Islamophobia follows our IHRA definitions of antisemitism in November 2020 and Antigypsysism and Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater discrimination during Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month in June this year.