Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

UK appoints Muslim ‘freedom of religion’ envoy

Mr Chisti, son of a Pakistani imam, lands role tackling religious persecution

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (left) alongside new envoy Mr Chisti (centre)
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (left) alongside new envoy Mr Chisti (centre)

Britain will have a new envoy dedicated to overseeing efforts to bring faith communities together and promote religious tolerance.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Rehman Chisti to the position of envoy for Freedom of Religion & Belief on Thursday.

He will replace Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmad and is tasked to oversee foreign office support for persecuted Christians alongside wider issues of religious freedom.

Mr Rehman was previously Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party.

“I’m delighted to appoint Rehman as my new Special Envoy and look forward to him building on the important work we have already done on this issue,” said Mr Johnson.

“The UK will always be a passionate advocate for greater tolerance, respect and understanding internationally.”

“As someone whose family came to the UK when I was six years old, and my father had taken up a role as an Imam, my family and I have always been able to openly and freely practise our faith,” said Mr Chisti.

“I want to ensure every citizen around the world is able to enjoy this basic right. Freedom of Religion, practice and belief is one of the foundations of a free society.”

Mr Christi arrived in the UK in 1984 from Pakistan and has since lived in Gillingham and Rainham, on the outskirts of London.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Gillingham and Rainham in 2010 at the age of 31.

In 2015, he successfully petitioned then-Prime Minister David Cameron asking for official government terms refer to ISIS as "Daesh".

Updated: September 12, 2019 08:46 PM

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