Briefing: Tackling religious hatred

The UK is experiencing a swirl of headlines and widespread concern at the extent of hatred targeting Muslim and Jewish communities. Since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, there has been a huge rise in incidents of Islamophobia and antisemitism, and arguments over the policing of pro-Palestine marches where chanting and banners have caused offence.

News headlines have been dominated by rows over Islamophobic comments by politicians. The Prime Minister delivered a speech on the steps of Downing Street warning that extremist forces are trying to tear the country apart. The government’s response is to redefine extremism but this has been met with alarm by both archbishops who say that in itself will divide the country and vilify the wrong people.

In this Religion Media Centre briefing, faith leaders discuss how religious hatred can be tackled. It became clear that neither the anti-Muslim hatred working group nor the cross-government working group on antisemitism have met since before the Covid pandemic. Community leaders said they felt let down and abandoned. Ruth Peacock hosted with guests:

  • Akeela Ahmed, the chair of independent members on the government’s anti-Muslim hatred working group
  • Imam Qari Asim, who was sacked as the government’s adviser on Islamophobia in 2022 after comments on the “Our Lady of Heaven” film
  • Daniel Sugarman, public affairs director at the Board of Deputies
  • Rabbi Debbie Long-Somers of Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue
  • Prof Adeela Ahmed Shafi, co-founder of the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group.

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Hannah Scott Joynt


Voice-over artist, award winning radio and TV presenter and BBC continuity announcer


Leo Devine

Leo's Local

Media and Training Consultant at Devine Media. Former BBC Journalist, Editor and Senior Leader


Rosie Dawson

Journo's Notebook

Freelance religion journalist, documentary maker and radio producer with 20+ years of experience in the BBC’s Religion and Ethics department

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