Panel puts focus on hate crime

IMPORTANT DISCUSSION Mark Burns-Williamson, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Jo Cox, Iqbal Bhana and Shahab Adris
IMPORTANT DISCUSSION Mark Burns-Williamson, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Jo Cox, Iqbal Bhana and Shahab Adris

The battle to stop hate crime was discussed during a panel event which drew together a range of speakers.

More than 150 people attended the conference at the Pakistani and Kashmiri Welfare Association in Staincliffe to get to grips with the issue of Islamophobia.

Speakers included Shahab Adris from Muslim Engagement and Development, Dewsbury-born Conservative Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and Jo Cox, the Labour party’s parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen.

Mrs Cox organised the event after being told people in our area, especially women, had experienced anti-Muslim abuse or attacks and felt a growing fear arising from the way Muslims were portrayed in the media. She is also concerned about the new Counter Terrorism and Security Act.

“I want us to have an evidence-based, inclusive approach to tackling hate crime wherever it occurs, including in online forums,” Mrs Cox said.

“Whilst the safety of people in this country is paramount, my worry is that if we rush to legislate in a climate of fear we could end up with bad policy, and with laws and practices which make Muslims feel targeted.”

Baroness Warsi added: “I’ll tell you what would really help – I want to see someone who is not a Muslim standing up and speaking out on Islamophobia.”

The event was sponsored by the Pakistani and Kashmiri Welfare Association.