Leicester riots: Muslim council express 'deep concern' over review leader

Credit: Leicester Media Online

The Muslim Council of Britain has expressed its 'deep concern' over the leader of a review into the Leicester riots.

It follows the announcement of an independent review into the unrest in east Leicester during August and September last year.

Community tensions mainly involving young men from some Muslim and Hindu communities led to spates of vandalism, assaults and attacks on places of worship and properties in Leicester.

Lord Ian Austin has been appointed as chair of the independent review. Credit: PA Images

On Friday 26 May, the Secretary of State for Communities - Michael Gove - commissioned an independent review.

Lord Ian Austin, a former Minister for Housing and Planning and former Minister for the West Midlands, has been appointed as chair of the independent review.

However, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has expressed 'deep concern' over this appointment.

The MCB said: "It is crucial to have an independent reviewer who is impartial, fair, and capable of gaining the trust and confidence of all stakeholders.

"The appointment of Lord Austin, given his divisive record and the serious allegations of Islamophobia against him, has created deep apprehension among Muslims and other communities in Leicester.

"This casts doubts on his suitability to oversee a review aimed at building trust and harmony within our communities. Any such review led by Lord Austin will face questions about its credibility and legitimacy.

"We call upon the Secretary of State for Communities, Michael Gove, to reconsider the appointment of Lord Austin and select an independent reviewer who can command the confidence and support of the diverse communities in Leicester.

"We urge the government to act swiftly to ensure that the review is conducted in a manner that reflects the principles of fairness, justice, and unity that Leicester and its residents deserve.

In response, a DLUHC spokesperson said:

“We are confident that this thorough, independent review will strengthen community cohesion in Leicester - a city with a proud history of tolerance and diversity.

“The independent panel of experts will hear from a wide range of people and voices from across the city and beyond, to get to the bottom of what happened and why.

“We will announce further details about the review shortly, including the names of the panel members who will support the chair in this important task.”

Following his appointment, Lord Ian Austin said: "Acceptance of each other’s background and beliefs is at the heart of our national identity.

"Communities living and working together have formed some of the most vibrant societies across the country and cities such as Leicester have proud histories of tolerance and diversity.  

"This makes the scenes we witnessed in Leicester last year all the more worrying and it is therefore so important that we listen to people in Leicester to get to the bottom of what happened and why."