Islamophobia Conference held in Edinburgh

Our Islamophobia 2015 Conference was held at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church on Saturday 12 December

It was opened by Bailie Melanie Main (Councillor for Meadows/Morningside, Edinburgh), who welcomed the participants on behalf of Edinburgh City Council.

The Edinburgh conference was presented by Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) was and supported by many other organisations. It was part of a European weekend of action against Islamophobia involving events in London, Brussels and Paris, Madrid and five other Spanish cities.

After the conference we had an extremely interesting and encouraging meeting with the imam at Edinburgh Central Mosque and several other senior figures from the mosque. The imam expressed strong support for the work SACC is doing.

Introduction and First Plenary - Islamophobia, Colonialism and War

Chaired by Pat Smith. Welcome and introduction from Councillor Melanie Main. Speakers: Keir McKechnie (Stop the War Coalition Scotland), Salman Sayyid (Reader in sociology, Leeds University), Moazzam Begg (Cage).

Discussion - Enforcing Foreign Policy at Home (Prevent, the media etc)

Facilitator: Zahid Ali. Contributors: Abed Choudhury (IHRC), Salman Sayyid (Reader in sociology, Leeds University).

The parallel discussion on Racism and Islamophobia in Schools wasn't livestreamed (because Gerry from Independence Live couldn't be in two places at once). The discussion was facilitated by Pat Smith with contributors Sophie Hall (Amina MWRC), Samena Dean (MWAE), Tasneem Ali(MWAE);

Plenary - the State and the Street

Examining State racism/islamophobia, and the street racism/islamophobia of far-right groups.

Chair: Zahid Ali. Speakers: Charlotte Ahmed (UAF Scotland); Mazhar Khan (Manchester Muslim Forum), Richard Haley (SACC), Abed Choudhury (IHRC), Samena Dean (MWAE), Douglas Chalmers (UCU Scotland), Craig Murray (former UK ambassador).

Discussion - Racism and Islamophobia in Policing

Facilitator: Habiba Islam, talking about racism and islamophobia in policing with Moazzam Begg. Ade Johnson, who was also scheduled to contribute to this session, was unable to attend but sent a written statement. Ade's brother-in-law Sheku Bayoh died in police custody in Kirkcaldy in May 2015.

The parallel discussion on Dealing with the Prevent Strategy in Scotland  wasn't livestreamed (because Gerry from Independence Live couldn't be in two places at once). The discussion was facilitated by Tom Lea, with contributions from Richard Haley and Douglas Chalmers.

Closing Plenary - The Way Forward

Chaired by Zahid Ali. Speakers: Moazzam Begg, Charlotte Ahmed, Abed Choudhury, Richard Haley.

The videos were all recorded by Independence Live, to whom we are very grateful. They can also be viewed on the Independence Live Livestream for the conference. You can donate to Independence Live here.