The Edinburgh Reporter carries a story on a new initiative launched by Police Scotland and Edinburgh City Council, “Shared Vision – Your Decision”, which invites local people to vote for projects that can create a “city free from Islamophobia”.
Police Scotland, Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government have allocated a budget of £40,000 for projects that are voted upon by the local population. Chosen projects will receive up to £5,000 each to implement their vision.
Racial and religious hate crime in Scotland has fallen in the period 2011-2016 from 4,547 to 3,712 racist hate crimes and 896 to 581 religious hate crimes respectively.
Of the 581 religious hate crimes documented in 2015/16, just under a quarter, 134 crimes, were classified as Islamophobic (23%) according to data published by the Scottish Parliament. While Scottish Muslims make up only 1.4% of the region’s population, according to the 2011 Scottish census, they are vastly overrepresented in religious hate crime statistics.
Between 10 November and 12 December groups were asked to submit applications as part of the “Shared Vision – Your Decision” programme. The project aims are to eradicate Islamophobia and associated prejudice behaviour and foster positive relationships between Edinburgh’s diverse communities.
Bidders were encouraged to present new and innovative projects, with the guidance stating activities could address “commonly held misconceptions of Islam”,”raising awareness of religiously aggravated hate crime,” or “working with hate crime offenders”.
All bids had to evidence how the money would be spent. A total of 34 bids have been shortlisted for public voting.
Sergeant Scott Kennedy of Edinburgh’s Prevention’s Interventions & Partnerships (PIP) Team said: “It’s been really encouraging to see so many organisations and groups eager to be involved and who want to help create a city free from prejudice, so we’re really looking forward to heading into the next phase.
“These projects are for the benefit of the people and communities of Edinburgh, so I’d urge residents to get involved and have their say in where this public funding goes.”
Voting opens on Saturday 28 January at a launch event at Methodist Church Hall and closes at midday on Monday 13 February 2017. Residents will be able to vote at the event at Methodist Church Hall or at their local Edinburgh library. Alternatively, people will be able to vote online. More information on how to take part can be found here.