They suggested to definite it as a “type of racism” but two years later and the government haven’t yet settled on a definition.
A government spokesperson says: “We are working to agree a robust definition of Islamophobia and it’s important to take the time to get this right.”
So is there a difference between Islamophobia and racism?
Racism is a belief that one race is better than others. It also means any harmful act or unfair treatment towards someone because of their race.
When talking about Islamophobia, the term encompasses prejudice or hate towards Muslims and the religion of Islam.
The Council Of Europe defines Islamophobia as:
“The fear of, or prejudiced viewpoint towards, Islam, Muslims and matters pertaining to them. Whether it takes the shape of daily forms of racism and discrimination or more violent forms, Islamophobia is a violation of human rights.”
When acts of Islamophobia or racism are reported to the police they’re known as hate crimes. Hate crimes can also be recorded as a result of ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, and disability.
In the case of Azeem Rafiq, being subject to drink wine would be seen as a form of Islamophobia as drinking alcohol is not allowed in Islam.
However, when it comes to being called the P word or other derogatory terms because of ethnicity, these would be classed as racial slurs.
It’s common for Islamophobia and racism to go hand in hand when people conflate religion and ethnicity.
Since speaking out, Yorkshire Cricket County Club chairman Roger Hutton has resigned and head coach Andrew Gale has been suspended.
Hutton has “apologised unreservedly” to Rafiq since leaving the club.
Speaking at a parliamentary hearing he said: “To be candid with you, my first desire was to improve the culture at the club more broadly, rather than in relation to discrimination specifically.”
Hope Not Hate, an anti-racism organisation, has started a campaign named #RunOutRacism and are supporting Rafiq in asking for transparency in his case.
They say Rafiq’s experiences are “not isolated” and want to see the issue addressed urgently in the sport.
“Watching Azeem Rafiq talk about the racism he has experienced has been heartbreaking. When racism is not taken seriously, or dismissed as ‘good natured banter’, there are real consequences. People get hurt.”