Message of Hope and Courage from MCB General Assembly

28 Apr 2003

The Sixth General Assembly of the Muslim Council of Britain has called upon the British Muslim community not to be discouraged or daunted by recent events. It must continue to work towards building a society based on mutual trust and compassion; giving a sense of hope and direction to our young, strengthening the moral foundations of the family, and working for a just and fair political culture. This would make people the real stake-holders in society.

Held on Saturday 26 April at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Regent’s Park, London, the Assembly was attended by delegates, including men and women from a record 380 affiliated organisations throughout the United Kingdom.

Iqbal Sacranie, the Secretary-General of the MCB, in his opening address, pointed out that the year has been particularly trying in many respects.¬†” It has indeed been a very difficult and trying year for British Muslims. A particular challenge was posed by British involvement in the US-led invasion against Afghanistan, and then Iraq. British Muslims did their duty of urging the government in the most clear terms that these actions were not only wrong but were also likely to damage goodwill towards Britain in the Muslim and developing world. The community joined forces with fellow citizens to express with one voice their strong moral and political opposition to the unjust war that even lacked a mandate from the United Nations. It has also been a defining moment in the history of the community which has become more integrated in the fuller life of the country.”

Iqbal Sacranie urged the government to act urgently to repair the harm done to Britain’s standing and relationship with Muslim and developing countries. This was only possible, he said, through adopting an ethical and independent foreign policy in consonance with our own national interest and upholding international legality in Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and wherever else it may be called for. For its part, the Muslim community was ready and willing to play its fullest role in order to help repair the damage, said Mr Sacranie.

Here in Britain too, we expect the government to move swiftly to remove the lacuna in law with regard to religious discrimination, incitement to religious hatred and vilification as well as to the eliminate barriers to full participation. It is now evermore necessary to redress the social, economic, employment and educational inequalities suffered by the community. The Assembly also called upon the community to participate, nevertheless, in the life and institutions of the country.

The Assembly appreciated the overwhelmingly positive response to the MCB’s publication last year, “The Quest For Sanity” – providing the Muslim perspective on the aftermath of the September 11 atrocity. The welcome responses came not just from Muslims but also from a very wide section of academics, diplomats, politicians, parliamentarians and government officials from Britain and the European Union.

The Assembly stressed the necessity to enhance the role of Mosques and Islamic centres and enable them to meet the growing and complex needs of the community. The Assembly further urged the community to make the fullest use of the census data presented by Professor Aziz Sheikh.

Among the distinguished scholars who spoke to the Assembly were Shaykh Rashid al-Ghannoushi, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Dr Abd al-Karim Khalil and Professor Dawud Noibi. Earlier the delegates were warmly welcomed by Dr Ahmed al-Dubayan, Director General, Islamic Cultural Centre, London who greatly appreciated the role of the Muslim Council of Britain in leading the community through difficult times. It was an eventful meeting, said the Chairman of the General Assembly, Khurshid Drabu, and the MCB has now to work with yet more diligence and dedication to represent the needs and concerns of the community. “Notwithstanding the hardships and hurdles in the short term, Islam is hope and courage, and that is how we go forward from here”, concluded, Iqbal Sacranie.

[Ends]

Note To Editors

To see a selection of letters of appreciation received by the MCB for its publication “The Quest For Sanity” go to the following URL: http://www.mcb.org.uk/books/review.html

For further information please contact: The Muslim Council of Britain, Suite 5, Boardman House, 64 Broadway, Stratford, London E15 1NT
Tel: 0208 432 0585/6 or 07956-353738.Fax: 0208 432 0587 Email: media@mcb.org.uk Website: http://www.mcb.org.uk