|23 Feb 2010
More than 500 guests from all areas of British Muslim civil society attended the Muslim Council of Britain’s first Muslim Leadership Dinner in Central London. The occasion focused on strengthening and inspiring a diverse array of Muslim individuals and groups for the good of all.
In his opening speech, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the MCB, spoke about the future of the Muslim community. He said, `At a time when many are struggling to see how justice and fairness can be re-introduced to public life – those who hold power under the public trust must strive to regain the trust of the public. Our faith, which places the harmony of the community as the greatest good, and is underpinned by the belief that a just society can and will be achieved, should give us the strength and direction needed to bring about lasting change.’
He also outlined plans to initiate the renewal of the MCB, to ensure that it serves better Britain’s diverse Muslim community to build a better Britain. He said `it is important that we all give support for an enduring, British institution.’
The evening saw the launch of the Muslim Community Development Fund, with a target of raising £1 million this year to enable the MCB undertake its strategic programmes for unity, capacity building, protection and uplifement of the community.
Addressing the audience, the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP acknowledged `the vital and valued role Muslims and the Islamic faith play in our society.’
Professor Tariq Ramadan requested `Muslims to unite and voice their opinions on all issues affecting British life.’ He emphasised that Muslims too have many diverse viewpoints, and made clear that government should not pick and choose which background was the most appropriate to speak to.
The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party spoke about `the common values we all shared’ as British citizens and said he felt `a sense of renewal and optimism’ at the dinner.
The Rt Hon John Denham MP paid tribute to Muslims and fellow Britons who `together had shaped British society.’ He added that, `Your rich history is going to be crucial in years to come.’ The Secretary of State praised the contribution of British Muslims and stated that Britain has indeed changed unrecognisably for the better.
HRH The Prince of Wales also sent a message of support for the evening. All the speakers and guests acknowledged the immense contribution made by the MCB and Muslim leaders, and agreed that Muslims in Britain should continue to work together with the wider society, as integral members, to build a cohesive, just and prosperous Britain.[ENDS]
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with around 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.