THE SNP's ruling committee has adopted an official definition of Islamophobia in a unanimous decision.

The party has taken on the definition drawn up by Westminster's All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, which states that the prejudice "is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness".

The decision came at a meeting of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) on Saturday and follows campaign work by affiliated organisations Scots Asians for Independence (Safi) and SNP BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic).

Qasim Hanif of Safi told The National: "It was time for the party to do this and there was a great push to do it.

"As the party of government in Scotland, we need to be line with everyone else."

The Labour Party, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats Federal Board are amongst other parties to have adopted the definition, which is also used by a number of councils and other institutions.

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Hanif said: "The NEC understood that this needs to be in place."

The first Muslim MSP, Bashir Ahmad, was elected for the SNP in 2007. Humza Yousaf, who worked as a parliamentary assistant for Ahmad, became the country's first Muslim government minister and cabinet secretary.

Both men are also the first non-white people to hold the roles and despite increasing moves to improve diversity in Scottish politics, there remains an imbalance across spheres of government.

Published last summer, the first public inquiry on Islamophobia in Scotland concluded that there has been a rise in abuse towards Muslims, including both verbal and physical assaults.

It was carried out Professor Peter Hopkins of Newcastle University for a cross-party group of MSPs head by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and called for all parties to adopt a "no tolerance" stance on Islamophobia.

Hanif said the SNP move is not related to any specific incidents of prejudice within the party, adding: "It is better to have this now than to wait for an incident and then act."

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In a statement, SNP BME said: "We welcome this decision to show our resounding support to all Muslims, not only in Scotland but to the whole of the UK, and acknowledge that Islamophobia is one of the largest recorded hate crimes.

"Alongside our Safi colleagues, we hope this provides reassurance to the Muslim community in Scotland that the SNP does not tolerate discrimination or prejudice in any form.

"We want an independent Scotland which is fair and inclusive of all people, and future generations, who have chosen to make Scotland their home."