The Muslim Council of Britain exists to play a constructive role in achieving a nation at ease with itself: accepting of diversity, yet able to appreciate shared values, acknowledge common interests and build inclusive communities through collective endeavour.
To be a nation truly representative of its people we are obliged to listen to each other and to learn how to work together to fulfil our collective potential and realise the strengths of our diversity.
Britain’s Muslims are predominantly young, and more of them are born and raised in Britain. Their parents come from many ethnic backgrounds and cultures with a rich diversity of heritages.
Over time, people from diverse backgrounds have come to self-identify not with the country of their parents, or grandparents, but with Britain as their home, and the faith that is at their core. This is evidenced by the 2001 Census where 1.5 million Britons voluntarily ticking a box to identify themselves as Muslims.
It is the moral and ethical principles of their faith that urges them to be concerned and responsible citizens and active participants in the life of their nation.
In many respects the needs and aspirations of Britain’s Muslim community are no different from those of our fellow citizens – whatever their beliefs or backgrounds. Concerns about health and education, national prosperity, strong public infrastructure and good public services are common to us all. The values of community life, the need to build strong communities of mutual support, are basic principles that connect Muslims to their fellow citizens. From our diverse backgrounds and beliefs we can make common cause to achieve a better Britain for everyone.
Policy concerns for Muslims
But on issues such as faith schools or halal meat, counter-terrorism or equality at work, Muslims do have common concerns as a faith community.
There are so many issues that affect British Muslims, as citizens and as people belonging to Muslim communities.
At these elections, Muslims have been asking their candidates to respond to the following issues:
- Anti-Muslim Hatred and IslamophobiaWhen elected, what will you do to promote cohesion and to reduce the current level of hostility levelled at British Muslims? Newcomers have always contributed to the growth and prosperity of our country. And they continue to do so today. What is your position on immigration policy and what will you do to ensure that the tone of this debate does not fuel a racist agenda?
- Our Public Life and Public ServicesGiven the state of the public finances, which public services will you protect, and which will you prioritise for cut-backs?
- Democratic renewal and accountabilityWhat will you do to promote greater participation, inclusion and coherence in our broken politics today?
- Foreign AffairsWhat will you do to ensure we avoid the mistakes our government has made in Iraq and Afghanistan?
- Security and CounterterrorismWill you oppose all measures that compromise the Rule of Law and instead promote steps that ensure that no individual loses their liberty or dignity without the proper and transparent process of law?
- Education and young peopleWill you work to ensure that the necessary resources and programmes are put in place to address under achievement at school?
- EmploymentWill you uphold the ‘positive duty’ obligation in the Equality Bill (replace ‘this measure’) and what further action or causes will you champion to improve the labour market participation of all disadvantaged people?