Labour MP Naz Shah has told MPs she worries that she could be murdered in an Islamophobic attack.
During a debate about Islamophobia on Thursday, the Muslim politician desribed how she had received abusive messages telling her: “I hope you see your children dead in your arms”.
Other comments threatened to “string her up”, she told the Commons, while one read: “You don’t deserve life. You are pure evil and your clock is ticking”.
Shah accused the government of “failing to act” over anti-Muslim hate crime – despite the “rise and rise and rise” of Islamophobia.
“Which Muslim’s life must go next for us to simply recognise and understand Islamophobia?” she asked during an emotional Commons speech.
“And never before have I shared this openly, but I do question – as many Muslims across this country do – which Muslim’s life will be next? Will it be mine?”
Meanwhile, the Bradford West MP accused the government of “pernicious racism” for failing to accept a widely-recognised definition of Islamophobia.
“If it is down to women to define the experience of feminism, the experiences of people of colour to define racism, the experience of Jews to define anti-Semitism, the experience of the LGBTQ+ communities to define homophobia, I ask the minister how dare he tell the British Muslims that our experiences cannot define Islamophobia?
“If that isn’t a pernicious form of racism then what is it?”
Speaking on behalf of the government, communities secretary James Brokenshire said there needed to be a “formal definition” of Islamophobia, but added that it must command “broad support” within communities – something that the definition proposed by politicians “at this stage does not yet meet”.
He said two advisers would be appointed as the government looked to arrive “swiftly” at a collective position.