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Coffee House Steerpike

Is May’s Islamophobia adviser a parting shot at Boris?

23 July 2019

2:36 PM

23 July 2019

2:36 PM

Theresa May has had a busy few weeks, frantically churning out press releases, consultations and policies to build a legacy before she is replaced by her nemesis Boris Johnson.

And as one of her final acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May took the unusual step of appointing Imam Qari Asim as a new Islamophobia tsar this morning. According to a government press release the ‘independent adviser has been appointed to provide expert advice on a definition of Islamophobia to the government.’ May’s government also announced that Labour’s John Mann would be appointed as an independent adviser on anti-Semitism.

But Mr Steerpike can’t quite help but wonder if the appointment of Qari Asim has more to do with Boris Johnson than ‘tackling burning injustices’ or the good of the country.

Back in 2018, when Boris was under fire for comparing women in burkas to ‘letterboxes’, Asim, as chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, went on LBC radio to publicly lambast Johnson, whose comments he said ‘legitimised the hatred that exists towards Muslim women’ and ‘fanned the flames of Islamophobia.’

Is it possible that May was unaware of her new Islamophobia chief’s public distaste of Boris? Or is it more likely that she was instead sending a parting shot at the next leader of the country? Mr S will let readers decide…


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