Calls for UK government to recognise UN International Day to Combat Islamophobia

The Aziz Foundation is asking government to recognise the UN International Day to Combat Islamophobia as a “first step”.
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A family-run charity supporting young Muslims into further education and work placements is leading calls for the government to formally recognise a day combating Islamophobia.

The Aziz Foundation is a UK-based charity which works with young British Muslims to secure them postgraduate places and internships, in an effort to improve the opportunities of Muslims across the country.

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Run by Asif Aziz, who is also chief executive of Criterion Capital, the foundation’s stated aim is to “nurture confident, articulate public leaders of Muslim background who are able to critically engage with public narratives and address the social challenges facing British Muslim communities and wider society”.

Now, the foundation is calling on the UK government to formally recognise the UN International Day to Combat Islamophobia, in a bid to tackle Islamophobia in this country.

The day itself is on March 15, in recognition of the Christchurch mosque shootings in which 51 Muslims were murdered in a terrorist attack, with many more injured.

Asif Aziz is the founder and chief executive of the Aziz Foundation.Asif Aziz is the founder and chief executive of the Aziz Foundation.
Asif Aziz is the founder and chief executive of the Aziz Foundation.

An event was held on March 20 to officially launch the foundation’s campaign, attended by famous faces such as the social media personality Chunkz and the former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain.

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Hosted at the V&A, Mr Aziz said the evening involved a series of discussions about the contributions Muslims make to society, as well as what can be done to address Islamophobia.

On why the campaign is so important, Mr Aziz said recognition of the UN day is essential as “the first step in recognising the existence of Islamophobia”.

He continued: “We need government bodies, employers, to have an Islamophobia policy. As employers have diversity policies and other things, this is a form of diversity.”

Against the backdrop of hate crimes against Muslims increasing in England and Wales, with Home Office data showing they rose by 42% to 3,459 in the year ending March 2022, Mr Aziz said the focus moving forward has to be on the ties that bind, rather than separate, us as a community.

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“Islamophobia is like antisemitism. It is a cancer that is growing. Still, many people don’t recognise it. There’s more that unites us than divides us, and that’s why it’s so important to recognise Islamophobia.”

Mr Aziz said the foundation is “all about giving back to the community, the British Muslim community”.

“Muslims are the biggest charity givers in the country as a percentage of our income,” he said. “It’s in our values.”

Since starting the foundation five years ago, Mr Aziz said there have been numerous successes in supporting young British Muslims into universities, studying in fields as varied as journalism and the civil service.

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“We’ve had many success stories. We’ve given over 500 scholarships from universities across the country, such as London School of Economics, Bristol, Warwick, City, Goldsmith etc. It’s great to hear someone say that they could never have achieved this without this support.”

For more information on the campaign, visit