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Moray Council: Call for Anglophobia to be recognised as an issue

By Alistair Whitfield

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A call has been made for the issue of anglophobia in Moray to be recognised.

The issue arose during a meeting today where Moray councillors agreed unanimously to adopt a definition of islamophobia.

Councillor Claire Feaver.
Councillor Claire Feaver.

Claire Feaver (Forres, Conservative) wholeheartedly supported the adoption of the definition, but raised the matter of anti-English behaviour.

She said: "I think we also need to recognise along with islamophobia, anglophobia.

"As a minority group in Moray, I get more emails and telephone calls from people who’ve suffered from anglophobia and I’d like to flag that up.

"Anglophobia is there all the time.

"Numerous constituents over the last five years have come to me asking what we’re going to do about this."

Cllr Feaver asked if anything could be included to acknowledge the issue.

Graham Leadbitter, the leader of Moray Council.
Graham Leadbitter, the leader of Moray Council.

However Graham Leadbitter, the council's leader, felt it would not be appropriate to change the wording as a lot of work had gone into agreeing a clear, well researched definition of Islamophobia.

Cllr Leadbitter (Elgin South, SNP) said: "We would all agree any form of discrimination is completely unacceptable. It’s a particularly insidious form of abuse.

"But we are at risk if we randomly add bits to this motion because there are many areas it could cover.

"For example we could add gypsy traveller discrimination, which is significant and widespread.

"I’m not adverse to having that (anglophobia) incorporated into the council’s policies, I just think it needs to be done correctly.

"If there is a definition to be incorporated then we need to know what that definition is. I don’t want to make that up on the hoof."

Councillor Donald Gatt.
Councillor Donald Gatt.

Cllr Donald Gatt (Keith and Cullen, Conservative) welcomed the strengthening of the council’s equalities policies.

He said: "Any victimisation of people because of their race or their religion or their colour is to be condemned utterly.

"Sadly I do have to report about two years ago I myself was subject to it.

"I was told to go back to England – and I was born in Perth, so I’m as Scottish as anybody else.

"I would welcome any other moves to eradicate this hatred we have in society whether it’s islamophobia, anglophobia or anti-Semitism."

Moray Council's corporate committee agreed unanimously to adopt a definition of islamophobia which has been backed by all parties at Holyrood.

The motion proposing it was put forward by cllr Leadbetter following a request from the Muslim Engagement and Development group.

The definition states: "Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of muslimness or perceived muslimness."

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