Minister for Faith and Communities, Baroness Warsi will be paying a visit to Leicester next week to speak about the government’s plans for integration, discussing ways of tackling anti-Muslim hatred and exploring issues of religious intolerance.
The event, which takes place on Monday 7th April, is to be hosted by The Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) in partnership with the St Philip’s Centre and University of Leicester’s Centre for Hate Crime Studies. Audience members have been asked by personal invitation and will be made up of individuals from local Muslim and faith communities, community organisations and members of the council. They will have the opportunity to voice their opinions about religious divides in the city, as well as putting forward their questions to the Baroness.
As the first Muslim to serve on a British cabinet, Baroness Warsi has striven to end religious and racial discrimination throughout the UK and internationally, so it seems appropriate for her to discuss this topic with the Leicester community.
Suleman Nagdi of the FMO, who will be chairing the meeting, said: “Unfortunately we have seen a national rise in hate crime towards Muslims, and we’ve found that international issues impact on local attitudes. The media plays a role by offering an unbalanced portrayal of Muslims, which is something that needs addressing, but the government also needs to take responsibility.”
Mr Nagdi is hoping that the meeting will give people the chance to air their views, and will lead to a developed partnership between the government and the Muslim community. He explained that “It is the job of the FMO to articulate the feelings of local people, and hopefully the Baroness will get an understanding of the mood on the ground in Leicester, and take people’s views into consideration.”
He commented that as well as addressing the issue of hate-crime and changing attitudes, it will also be important to discuss community cohesion with Baroness Warsi on Monday: “There are great things happening in Leicester and good relationships between the multi-faith communities that we also want to compliment.
“We have many positive stories to relay to the Baroness and we see everyone as a stakeholder in what happens in Leicester, whether they are Muslim, of another faith, or non-religious.”