Tackling Islamophobia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:36 pm on 7 December 2023.

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Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham 1:36, 7 December 2023

Qari Asim worked with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi and all faith leaders, and he did a terrific job in that regard. When we are dealing with independent advisers, we must respect their advice. They look at things from a faith perspective and they may sometimes express disagreement, but that is the role of an independent adviser.

When the Government want to remove someone from office, there is something called courtesy and decency. I have here the letter sacking Qari Asim, and it is not even signed by a Minister. It just says, “You’re no longer required, because your views are not compliant with freedom of expression.” I thought the whole thing about freedom of expression and respect was difference of opinion; freedom of expression means that people can engage in peaceful protest when they do not agree with a certain course of action. The Government need to look at that carefully.

I ask the Minister to answer the question that the Prime Minister did not: why have the Government not appointed an independent adviser on Islamophobia? Will they appoint one so that we have parity with the independent adviser on antisemitism? When will that decision be made?