What is the Muslim Manifesto?
The Muslim Manifesto is a call-to-action and a set of straightforward and inclusive policy recommendations pinpointing key issues of high importance to the Muslim community. It is addressed to all Muslim and non-Muslim British politicians in local councils and parliament whom it is hoped will pledge to back it in the forthcoming 2015 UK General Election on 7th May 2015. The Muslim Manifesto is a clear statement of intention of relevance to British Muslims of diverse socio-economic background, ethnicity and religious persuasion. Fundamentally it is non-sectarian and not owned by any single organisation or individual; it is a proud move forward, which could forge a more united future for the British Muslim community.
Why is the Muslim Manifesto necessary?
The Muslim population, estimated at 2,786,635 in the 2011 census, makes up a substantial proportion – approximately 4.4% – of the British population, however it is plagued by chronic socio-economic and cultural problems. Currently the Muslim community and its associated ethnicities lag behind other religious and ethnic communities in many areas including academic attainment, employment, household wealth, health and well-being, and crime. Muslim communities, have common purpose in the enormity of their shared social, legal, educational and health-related problems. It is only through an all-encompassing programme of socio-economic empowerment, in which the rights of all are met, that Britain will be able to thrive.
The independent collective ownership of the document allows the Muslim Manifesto to transcend the limits of any organisation while its existence as a political manifesto allows it to have the broadest reach on the national stage and greatest impact, holding to account directly our democratically elected representatives.
Why create the Muslim Manifesto now ?
The Muslim population is a demographic of growing political significance. Muslim News has estimated that as many as 40 constituencies in the 7 th May General Election could be determined by a Muslim swing vote. The influence of the Muslim population will continue to rise as Muslims are the fasting growing religious populous in the UK. The Muslim Manifesto gives Muslims the opportunity to put pressure on British elected representatives, including members of parliament and local councillors by outlining the commitments that the Muslim community expects of its prospective candidates for political leadership. A number of prospective Muslim MPs in Muslim majority areas will also be standing on the Muslim Manifesto. It is hoped, however, that politicians regardless of background or faith will champion the Muslim Manifesto and ensure a brighter Britain for all.
How is the Muslim Manifesto being constructed?
The Muslim Manifesto is being constructed through a nationwide consultation with all sectors of the British Muslim community including grass roots members, major Muslim organisations, academics, thinkers, community activists and politicians.
To kick off the debate, the Institute for Muslim Community Development has put together a draft manifesto around which the community consultation will be initiated. British Muslims will have the opportunity to provide feedback, ratify individual manifesto points and add additional points via surveys conducted at community hustings, online and by email. Consultation will occur through meetings with Muslim organisations and at hustings held mainly within Muslim community centres across England. After a month of consultation meetings and survey collection, a final manifesto will be generated based upon the ten most popular commitments. This manifesto will be presented to all the major parties contesting the UK General Election on 7th May 2015. A premier conference will be held in April 2015 titled ‘British Muslims and Our Politics’ which will officially launch the final manifesto.
A media campaign involving Muslim and non-Muslim TV, print and social media, will spread the message within mainstream and Muslim communities and provide further opportunities for discussion and dialogue. The public awareness campaign will continue until polling day in this year’s General Election on 7th May 2015.
Timeline of key dates for the Muslim Manifesto
Late January 2015: Community consultation began unofficially with Muslim organisations and community leaders
23rd February 2015: Official launch of the consultation process at press conference ‘Manifesto Watch’ in the House of Lords
Late February to late March 2015: Nationwide roadshow/hustings with Muslim communities debating preliminary manifesto and soliciting additional points
Late March 2015: Final draft of the manifesto completed based upon ten most popular points
Mid-April 2015: Premier conference ‘British Muslims and Our Politics’ launches final Muslim Manifesto
7th May 2015: UK General Election