A Sheffield-based Imam has called for more education about Islam to help combat discrimination towards Muslims. 

Aneeq ur Rehman, 27, is an Imam for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in South Yorkshire and is based at the Baitul Afiyat Mosque on Sussex Street.

He said: “People are Islamophobic because they don’t have a true understanding of Islam.

“Education is the key. We can only remove Islamophobia by learning and understanding its true meanings, without biased opinions.

“If children learn a true picture of Islam, they will realise it is a religion of peace, love and harmony.”

Imam ur Rehman leads Sheffield’s Muslim community in several projects around the city. These include raising money for charity, supplying food banks, tree planting and giving gifts to orphans at Christmas.

Schools are encouraged to visit the Baitul Afiyat Mosque and a regular coffee morning takes place there which is an open invitation to discuss Islam.

Mr ur Rehman explained that he occasionally receives Islamophobic abuse when he is preaching in the city centre:

“We take it very lightly because we must show patience and win their hearts. We remain calm and show that Islam doesn’t teach violence.

“In a multicultural city like Sheffield, where people of different faiths have lived together for a long time, you won’t see these problems too much. But when you go to smaller less diverse towns, you can sometimes tell they are not happy to see us there.”

According to the Home Office’s 2019/20 Hate Crime Statistics, 50% of religious hate crimes recorded by police in the UK have been against Muslims, which is more than double that of any other religion.

November marks National Islamophobia Awareness Month, with several events taking place around the country to educate people and help combat anti-Muslim discrimination.

To find out more information, visit: https://www.islamophobia-awareness.org/