GOVERNMENT and councils must adopt a definition of islamophobia to tackle racism and prejudice against muslims a new campaign has urged.

Anas Sarwar, Glasgow Labour MSP is leading a group calling for islamophobia to be treated as a form of racism.

He is a leading member of a cross party group at Holyrood which has joined forces with Westminster’s all Party group on British Muslims looking to stop the spread of anti-muslim hate.

He has been alarmed by an increase in abuse and attacks on muslims and mosques in Scotland and the UK and is calling for concerted action to make it clear it is not acceptable and for it to be dealt with.

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Mr Sawar and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former UK government minister, and ex Chair of the Conservative Party met with political leaders at Holyrood to call for a definition to be officially adopted by each of them.

Mr Sarwar has campaigned against racism and prejudice and spoken of his own and his family’s experience of racism and anti-muslim hate in Glasgow.

The definition reads: ““Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

Mr Sarwar said: “With racism on the rise in Britain and across the world, it is the responsibility of all political parties and public bodies to ensure we do everything we can to promote a more tolerant and inclusive society.

“Adopting the definition of Islamophobia in Scotland will help demonstrate to our diverse communities that we as lawmakers recognise Islamophobia exists, and that it will always be challenged.

“We can’t leave the fight against prejudice and hate to the Muslim community alone, it’s a fight for all of us.”

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He got the support of Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister’s Questions.

Ms Sturgeon said: “All organisations should sign up to the accepted definition of Islamophobia, as they should sign up to the accepted definition of antisemitism.”

Ms Sturgeon said she wanted the Scottish Government to sign up to the definition and praised the work of Mr Sarwar and Justice secretary Humza Yousaf on highlighting the problem.

She added: “However, it should not be down to Muslim members of the Parliament to lead the fight on their own; every one of us should be shoulder to shoulder with every Muslim across our country in tackling Islamophobia.

“As First Minister, I am more than prepared to lead from the front in that battle.”

The Cross Party group is looking to work closely with police and with the media on reporting issue of islamophobia.

Mr Sarwar said that hundreds of organisations have already adopted the definition but he was disappointed the UK government had not yet signed up.

He said: “While the United Kingdom Government continues to dodge and dither on the issue, we have a chance to show leadership in Scotland.

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“I hope that the definition will be adopted by organisations in Scotland, all the Scottish political parties and—crucially—the Scottish Government.”

At Westminster, Labour, the SNP LibdEms and Greens have all accepted the definition.

Baroness Warsi said: ““It has been great to see all the political parties in Westminster bar the Conservatives adopt the APPG on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia including the SNP’s Westminster group.

“We now call upon all parties in the Scottish Parliament and Government to formally adopt a definition of Islamophobia framed by parliamentarians, endorsed by academics and rooted in British Muslims communities.”