London's efforts to combat Islamophobia have taken a significant step forward with the creation of the Muslim Community Liaison Advisor position in 2022. Ahmer Khan was appointed to the role in December 2022 and will be formally introduced to a city committee on Thursday.
In his first public interview with CBC London Morning host Rebecca Zandbergen, Khan described the position and his plans.
His main goal is to combat and disrupt Islamophobia on multiple levels, including education, health, and bylaw, creating youth fellowships to advise council, celebrating Islamic art and history, and ensuring that education is the most critical piece where future generations can understand and support differences.
When asked about his personal experiences with Islamophobia, Khan shared that he and his mother have faced discriminatory incidents regularly. In one instance, a child called his mother a "monster" while waiting in line at Costco.
Khan hopes to use his position to create awareness and combat this behavior. He has been meeting with Muslim community organizers, members, and groups to make sure that all voices are heard and that the nuances between each advocacy ask are captured.
When asked about international circumstances, Khan explained that it is not in his purview but noted that there is a coordinated effort to send resources, including money, health care kits, and supplies, to support disaster victims.
Khan's first priority is to work on an education piece to combat Islamophobia, and he plans to work with the Thames Valley District School Board and the London Catholic District School Board to develop an anti-Islamophobia strategy.
Peel District School Board has already passed a similar strategy, which is the first of its kind in Canada.
The creation of the Muslim Community Liaison Advisor position is a significant step towards combating Islamophobia in London. With Khan's plans to create awareness and educate future generations about diversity and differences, the hope is that London can create a safer and more inclusive community for all.
Full Interview here: