Labour MEP Afzal Khan was today appointed the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group President's special representative to Muslim communities, a position that will involve community outreach, policy development and working with national governments across the European Union.
The role will involve Mr Khan being a leading pro-EU voice to Muslim communities; challenging the ISIS/Al-Qaeda narrative that you cannot be a proud European and faithful Muslim; advancing fundamental rights to ensure no citizen and no group are considered unequal; and advocating an ethical EU foreign policy.
He will also meet with progressive political leaders from all over Europe, and hold bilateral meetings with MEPs, the Commission and ministers.
Afzal Khan MEP said:
"Muslims have enriched Britain and Europe for hundreds of years. Contemporary challenges in security and coexistence can only be met together.
"I am pleased that my new role as the S&D special representative to Muslim communities will allow me to serve as a bridge between Europe’s Muslims, the socialist political establishment and the wider society at this critical time.
"For centuries, Muslim communities have helped make Britain great. They excelled as labourers, businessmen, and intellectuals, and have been recognised for their work by the British government and Crown. My own life’s journey - from immigrant to Member of the European Parliament - is testimony to the success that has been achieved.
"I want to share the British experience with Europe, where the integration debate is relatively new. Our journey can prove a beneficial model.
"As progressives, we believe working together makes us stronger, and helps to create an inclusive and tolerant Europe. I will use my new role to promote these. Part of my activities will include visits to several European countries, talking to community leaders and politicians.
"I will connect British community organisations of different faiths to partners in France, Germany, Italy and Denmark. The result of this travel and exchange with relevant stakeholders will be an extensive report on the ‘State of Muslims in Europe’.
"The report will focus on finding innovative ways to enhance our security, promote coexistence and find new opportunities in our diversity."
Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's Leader in the European Parliament, added:
"Afzal is the ideal candidate for this vital role - he has the experience, knowledge and drive to make this work, especially in the run up to the referendum.
"We must and will continue to work for an inclusive and tolerant European Union to tackle and prevent marginalisation, racism and radicalisation."