Britain needs more role models for young Muslims if there is to be a shift in how Islam is viewed, the country’s first Muslim Cabinet minister has said.
Sadiq Khan, Labour’s MP for Tooting and South London who attended Cabinet as transport minister, writes in today's TES that with record numbers of British Muslims under the age of 16 the "need for positive examples has never been stronger".
His words come at a time when scores of young British Muslims are reportedly flying out to the Middle East to join the radical Islamic jihadist group, Islamic State, who are terrorising large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Mr Khan is supporting a new charity, the Naz Legacy Foundation, named after his former headteacher and the first Asian and Muslim secondary headteacher in Britain, Naz Bokhari, which aims to create more Muslim role models.
“Despite the historic and present-day contributions of Islamic traditions to British society, Islam is often still viewed with a focus on terror, intolerance and the subjugation of women,” he writes. “I hope a new batch of role models for young British Muslims will emerge. Under their leadership, let us hope the ignorance that leads to the misunderstanding of our communities and adds to the appeal of Islamophobia and its hate crimes can continue to be confronted – just as it was by Mr Bokhari.”
Read the full comment piece in the 22 August edition of TES on your tablet or phone by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up in all good newsagents.