A LEEDS Imam was on Tuesday (23) appointed by the government to provide expert advice on a definition of Islamophobia.
Imam Qari Asim MBE, the deputy chair of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group and a senior Imam at Makkah Mosque in Leeds, will work on establishing a definition of Islamophobia that commands broad support with Muslims and the society.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire said an “effective” definition of Islamophobia will help in the government’s efforts to ensure Muslims are not targeted for hatred, persecution or discrimination.
“Imam Asim’s appointment marks a further step in helping us to achieve that goal and ensures that we develop an effective definition of Islamophobia which commands widespread support,” he added.
Imam Asim will lead a process that will build on the definitions of Islamophobia currently being considered, including the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) definition, which reads: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
Concerns have been raised that the APPG definition could unintentionally undermine freedom of speech, and prevent legitimate criticism of Islamist extremism, or of unacceptable cultural practices.
Imam Asim, who is the chair of Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, said: “I am deeply committed to working across Muslim communities and with relevant stakeholders to formulate a legally robust, comprehensive and workable definition of Islamophobia.
“I am honoured to be entrusted with this role, which will have a far-reaching impact in protecting British Muslims and tackling anti-Muslim hatred.”