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Sunni and Shia Muslim organisations representing at least 2.2 million British Muslims launch shared Muslim Manifesto consultation process with backing of British MPs and peers

Date: 2 nd March 2015

Muslim leaders are calling for a more ‘ethical Britain’ for all its citizens in the first ever comprehensive Muslim Manifesto to be presented to parliamentarians. In a historic launch at the House of Lords on Monday 23 rd February 2015, Muslim community leaders representing at least 2.2 million British Muslims in the UK, officially inaugurated the consultation process of the Muslim Manifesto 2015. The event was hosted by Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham and attended by 5 MPs and 3 peers including Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith and Shadow Justice Minister; David Ward, Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East; Ibrahim Taguri PPC for Liberal Democrats in Central Brent; Lord Qurban Hussain of Luton and Baroness Manzila Uddin of Bethnal Green. Mohammad Amin of British Muslim Conservatives and a Church of England representative also attended and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former Minister of State for Faith and Communities made a brief appearance. A number of other MPs were also present in the audience.

Representatives from the following major Sunni and Shia Muslim organisations attended and confirmed their support for this ground breaking initiative including Allamah Syed Ali Raza Rizvi, President of Majlis Ulama-e-Shia; Allamah Musharraf Hussaini of Justice for Peace; Ali Jaffri of Imamia Council; Zahid Iqbal and Dr Abbas Aziz of Minhaj-ul-Quran; Sayyed Mohammed Al-Musawi, Head of World Ahlulbayt Islamic League; Trustees of Harrow Mosque; other leaders unable to attend who confirmed their support include Khurshid Ahmed of Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust, Allamah Muhammad Shahid Raza OBE of British Muslim Forum and Dr Musharraf Hussain OBE, Head of Karimia Institute.

The event titled ‘Manifesto Watch’ launched the consultation process of the Muslim Manifesto, a call-to-action and a set of inclusive policy recommendations highlighting the most important issues to the British Muslim community in the forthcoming UK General Election on 7th May 2015. It is the first serious attempt of the Muslim community in Britain to shape a vision for its future. Lord Nazir Ahmed, addressed the meeting, saying “I have been in politics for 38 years, I have never come across the Muslim community actually trying to set their own agenda, to see what they need”. Mohsin Abbas, one of the organisers, explained how the Manifesto is an attempt to bring Muslims and the wider community together, he said “I want to unite people, I want to bring people to a clear, common platform”.

A draft manifesto of 33 points, around which a community consultation is being based, was presented to the delegation. Some of the points aim to address inequality of the Muslim community, such as reducing poverty, currently estimated at 50% of Muslims in Britain, while other points call for more ethical government policies such as a “commitment to ethical foreign policies which uphold the human rights of all people”.  The Muslim Manifesto was presented under the tagline “Our politics – an ethical Britain for all.” encapsulating a push by the Muslim community for a more ethical British politics that upholds shared universal ethics and the rights and equality of all British people regardless of religion. The full draft Manifesto is attached overleaf.

The initiative received support from a number of leading politicians, such as David Ward, elected MP for Bradford East. “When I look down here [at the Manifesto] I find it difficult to isolate or differentiate the Muslim bit of it,” he said. “That is to say that while the issues within the first draft of the Manifesto have been designed to give a greater presence to the Muslim community in the UK, much of the substance of the Manifesto relates to what every person is looking for,” he added.

All the Muslim community leaders in attendance gave a brief oral presentation and pledged their commitment to the Muslim Manifesto. Syed Ali Raza Rizvi, a leading British Muslim scholar and President of Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, said “The Muslim leadership in Britain has failed. So far we have been service providers, but we need to become decision makers… When you do not speak for yourselves then others may speak for you.”

The event was covered by Muslim and non-Muslim media outlets including the news bulletin of Russia Today and BBC Urdu Service.

The Muslim Manifesto is the brainchild of the Institute for Muslim Community Development , a fledgling independent think-tank which aims to facilitate the positive growth of the Muslim community in Britain through research-based interventions.

Muslim Community launches Muslim Manifesto before 2015 UK General Election

Date: 20 th February 2015

On 23rd February 2015 the official consultation process for the Muslim Manifesto will be launched in the House of Lords. The Muslim Manifesto is a call-to-action and a set of policy recommendations targeting all Muslim and non-Muslim British politicians in local councils and parliament. Following a nationwide consultation process which began in late January, the final manifesto will be presented to all political parties contesting the General Election on 7 th May 2015 in March 2015. The launch event ‘Manifesto Watch’ will be hosted by Lord Nazir Ahmed in the House of Lords and attended by MPs, Peers, leaders of the Muslim community, academics, thinkers, community activists and media professionals.

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. The Muslim Manifesto is a set of straightforward and inclusive policy recommendations addressing such key issues of high importance to the Muslim community. It 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, historically held back by community in-fighting and organisational power-play.

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 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. It is hoped that the Muslim Manifesto will redress the failures of previously elected Muslim MPs and the ineffectiveness of hundreds of local Muslim councillors and Mayors that has left many Muslim voters disillusioned with the notion that democratic engagement through the existing political parties will make any meaningful difference. A number of prospective Muslim MPs in Muslim majority areas, frustrated at the existing political will consequently 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.

More information will be released at the launch event ‘Manifesto Watch’ on 23 rd February 2015 at 6:30 pm in Committee Room 4a in the House of Lords. Please RSVP [email protected] as places are limited.

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