Inside the launch event for the British Institute of Peace

The British Institute of Peace (BIP) has been launched with the aim of addressing issues related to racism and extremism, both religious and far-right, in the UK. An official launch event has been organisedat the Z Arts Theatre in Manchester on the 24th of January 2019. ‘The Enemy Within?’ will be a panel discussion before an audience of mainly youngpeople and students. The focus of the panel discussion will be Islamophobia.

The panel consists of high-profile politicians such as the former Conservative Party chairperson and minister, Baroness Warsi; Former UKIP MEP and currently a Conservative MEP, Amjad Bashir and the local member of parliament for Stretford, Katherine Ann Green OBE. Leading academics on the panel include Dr Madeline Sophie-Abbas, expert in thefield of hate crime and Islamophobia from the University of Manchester, along with Dr Julian Hargreaves, a researcher at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge and expert on hate crimes and community responses to extremism. Dr Zahid Iqbal, chairperson of the BIP, and Zaidi Hamid, president of the ISOC at the University of Manchester, complete the line-upof panellists.

The event is an open and frank panel discussion on Islamophobia and the future of young Muslims in the UK. The audience will have full opportunity to ask questions from the panel.

This one-day event aims to provide a platform for young Muslims to be able to voice their concerns about the alarming growth of hate crime and Islamophobia in the UK, and the constant demonization of Muslims in the media, which is creating an environment of mistrust. Among many other things, these issues are leading to confusion in respect of identity and belonging.

The following questions will also be addressed: Do British Muslims have a place within British society? Are they unfairly expected to demonstrate their loyalty to the country? What needs to be done to tackle divisions and the rise of the far-right?

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