Imam Qari Asim MBE of Leeds Makkah Mosque, deputy chair of the cross-government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group and Chair of the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), comments on the attack on Syrian refugee in Huddersfield:
I am disgusted and saddened by the recent incident of bullying and physical abuse, which targeted a young Syrian refugee at a school in Huddersfield. This type of behaviour is unacceptable in our society and needs to be challenged; no one should be the victim of such abuse, let alone young people who have lived through the trauma of war and displacement.
It is worth remembering that incidences such as this are still few and far between, and it is heartening to see the outpouring of support from the general public with £120k already raised through crowdfunding for the victim and his family.
However, it is also a stark reminder for the need for better safeguarding mechanisms to support our diverse communities. As Deputy Chair of the cross-government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, I will be asking it to work with the APPG for British Muslims to endorse the working definition on Islamophobia which has been proposed by the APPG after consulting academics and communities across the UK.
Defining Islamophobia is an important step in tackling hate-crime, because the absence of a clear understanding of Islamophobia has allowed hatred to become normalised and even socially acceptable. Islamophobia isn’t just anti-Muslim hatred it’s about everyday discrimination.
A definition of Islamophobia which is adopted by the Government will help to empower authorities and communities to deal with incidents of hatred and better protect British Muslims.”