The annual Islamophobia awards — previous winners of which include Breitbart London editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam — are “genuinely dangerous” according to Trevor Phillips, the former equalities chief who popularised the term ‘Islamophobia’.
The former chairman of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission said the label “painted a target on the back of people on the list”, following news he was nominated for one of the “ironic” Islamic Human Rights Commission’s (IHRC) awards himself.
Other nominees put up for awards by the London-based NGO included schools watchdog Ofsted, and Dame Louise Casey, the government’s politically correct former ‘integration tsar’, who suggested more should be done to challenge “regressive religious and cultural ideologies” present in “segregated” areas of Britain in a report last year.
“Defining Louise or myself or anybody else as an Islamophobe is offering a licence to do us harm,” The Sunday Times reported Phillips as saying.
“They will say that it is just verbal and political. They know that in this world right now this is not the way some other people see it. It really isn’t a joke. It is genuinely dangerous.
“These campaigns are all part of an attempt to intimidate public figures from saying anything at all about integration into our society,” he stressed.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 10, 2016
The chairman of the IHRC — a Shia-dominated sectarian group which has been described as a “Khomeinist” — Massoud Shadjareh, has dismissed Phillips’s concerns.
He told The Times: “We have not been contacted by any nominee or third party claiming our satirical awards have led to them being threatened either this year or in previous years.
“If any of the nominees have received any credible threats to their lives, we would advise them to do what we do when we receive similar threats from Islamophobes and racists: contact their local police for support and protection.”
In 2014, Breitbart London editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam was pronounced “clear winner” of the award in the UK category by the IHRC, which described him as a “Muslim neo-con who … [attacks] Muslim organisations and figures as extremists for defending Muslims’ rights”.
“It was a badge of honour for me to receive the ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ award a few years ago, especially given the allegiance of the award organisers,” Kassam said on Monday.
“Trevor Phillips may be right, but I sincerely hope this fake news award, with its Muslim Brotherhood-style doublespeak, continues to have a long and fruitful life.
“The longer these fifth columnists propagate Islamic blasphemy laws, the more people wake up to their theocratic fascism,” he added.
The report also recommends the government empowers NGOs and race activists to police the media. https://t.co/YE5tGVmUmG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 19, 2017
Unlike previous years, the IHRC website neglects to explain on what grounds the 2017 contenders were nominated for the awards, but Ofsted recently announced that inspectors will ask hijab-wearing primary school children why they wear the hijab, amidst concerns that some schools are forcing the conservative Muslim garment on children as young as four.
The schools’ watchdog described the nomination as “disappointing and unhelpful, particularly if it leads to flawed perceptions about what we, as an inspectorate, are trying to achieve”.
At the awards ceremony on Sunday night, British activist Tommy Robinson won the UK category award while Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was named “International Islamophobe of the Year”, beating last year’s winner, U.S. President Donald J. Trump.
Breitbart News was among organisations and individuals nominated in the media category, with other nominees including columnist Melanie Phillips, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and The Sun, but lost out to Fox News, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.
In March 2015, the IHRC was slammed for naming Charlie Hebdo “Islamophobe of the Year” when several of the French magazine’s staff had been executed by Islamist gunmen just two months prior to the award.