Apr 25, 2015, 1:21 PM
News Code: 81584043
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Labour vows to outlaw Islamphobia in UK

Tehran, April 25, IRNA - A future Labour government is committed to outlaw the scourge of Islamophobia by changing the law and making it an aggravated crime, party’s Leader Ed Miliband has pledged.

“We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime,” Miliband promised in an interview published by the London-based Muslim News magazine.

“We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country,” he said.

Labour Party Manifesto pledged to take a “zero-tolerance approach to hate crime” regarding the growth of Islamophobia as well as anti-Semitism. “We will challenge prejudice before it grows, whether in schools, universities or on social media. And we will strengthen the law on disability, homophobic, and transphobic hate crime,” Miliband was quoted saying.

Despite voting for the new Counter Terrorism Act last month, Labour was also critical of the way the Government has cut funding and narrowed the focus of the controversial Prevent extremism programme, saying that much of the work to “engage Muslim communities has been lost,” the Muslim News reported.

“I want to overhaul Prevent programme,” Miliband told the publication, the Muslim community is as an “incredibly important, incredibly rich, incredible asset to our country” and so it was really important to put on record.

“The reality is that the people I talk to in the Muslim community are absolutely full square with the idea that we’ve got to make sure that we work with our young people to stop them being dragged into this perverted (terrorist) ideology.”

“The way to do it is the Prevent programme working with communities. You got to do the things that once this ideology takes hold you try to disrupt it. For me that is the answer. We want to see how the Prevent programme is community focused.”

When challenged by the Muslim News editor Ahamd Versi about the way particularly Muslim charities have been targeted by banks and discredited by the media, Miliband said that he was “not in favour of demonising anyone (and) that is the wrong thing to do.”

With regard to foreign policy, Miliband said Labour would have supported the recognition of a Palestinian State in last year’s UN vote.

“We would do everything we can to work for a two state solution which is a viable Palestinian state alongside security for Israel,” he added but also pointed out that he personally was “not in favour of sanctions” against Israeli regime.

He was dismissive that Labour’s manifesto commitment to arrest and act against those returning from fighting in Syria would be hypocritical by targeting only Muslims as it is happening now. “When I am Prime Minister there will be one law for everybody. Full treatment for everybody,” he said.

According to The Muslim News, Miliband was adamant that Muslims should not face racial and religious discrimination when it comes to employment or suffer the most because of the austerity cuts “It is part of the law that that is prohibited. We are going to have racial equality across the Government. We will enforce it.”

“We will tackle deprivation. We will build homes, get rid of bedroom tax, raise minimum wages, build better jobs for people, have a fairer social security system,” he said.

The last Labour Government stopped engaging with many Muslim organisations at the end of its tenor and the boycott has been continued by the Conservative-led Government. Questioned about it, he said he would engage, wrote the Islamic publication.

“I will always engage with people. I really value my relationship with the Muslim community and it is a relationship I would nurture as a Prime Minister,” the Opposition Leader said.

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