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National Conference Highlights How British Muslims Should Lead on Community Development Initiatives


National Conference Highlights How British Muslims Should Lead on Community Development Initiatives

“And let there arise from among you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” – Qur’an 3:104

On Sunday 22nd March 2015, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) took part in a national conference entitled, ‘Being the Example – Rethinking the Dawah in the UK’. The conference or ‘ijtima’ was organised by the Myriad Foundation in association with the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC) in Manchester, and was attended by over 300 people.

The event was supported by many of the leading dawah organisations in the UK, including the Islamic Diversity Centre (IDC), Abdullah Quilliam Foundation, Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF), As-Suffa Institute, Al Khair Foundation to name but a few. All these organisations came together to see the fantastic work each group were engaged in, and to help promote the message of Islam in different ways.

The event was a great success and numerous representatives delivered presentations to the audience about the projects and campaigns they were involved in, and suggested innovative ways in which the dawah could progress in the UK.

Speakers included:

Ali Mahmood (Myriad Foundation),
Sufyan Ismail (MEND),
Saima Alvi (BMHC),
Shaykh Abu Aaliyah Surkheel Sharif (Jawziyyah Institute),
Iman Qasim (IQRA TV),
Imam Abid Khan (Cheadle Masjid),
Ustadh Adam Kelwick (Abdullah Quilliam Society),
Salahudeen Patel (iERA),
Sohail Arshad (IDC),
Nanu Miah (Share Ramadan),
Tahir Anwar (Inspiring Grace),
Manzoor (Meet Your Muslim Neighbour).

Some of the key highlights from the conference were IDC’s ‘Elderly Care’ project, which involved volunteers donating clothes, food and money to the elderly, and Myriad Foundation’s ‘My Hospice Buddy’ program in association with Macmillan Cancer Support.

The ijtima was aimed at exploring different methods of addressing the misconceptions that non-Muslims have about Islam, to challenge the negative stereotypes being portrayed in the media of Muslims, and to help create a positive image of Islam to the wider British society. The main theme of the conference was the importance of Muslims engaging and spearheading community based work, both locally and nationally. It was unanimously agreed by the numerous organisations present that more community development work had to be done to help build a positive perception of Islam and Muslims, which would inevitably soften the hearts of the misinformed masses.

Salahuddin Patel highlighted how iERA have diversified their dawah efforts recently, and have expanded into community initiatives on a national and international scale, such as the ‘Muslim Winter Support’, environmental ‘Islam is Green’, and most recently, the ‘Against Racism, Against Hatred’ campaigns.

These campaigns demonstrate to the public that Islam is not only concerned with the Muslim community, but also has viable positive solutions for society in general. This helps to build a more inclusive profile of Islam and Muslims. Salahudeen concluded:

“The primary goal is for people to listen to the message of Islam; this is undeniable when we do a holistic study of the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is important that we facilitate that message by being people of trust and good character. This will help enhance the call of worshipping Allah (swt) alone. However, we must never use humanitarian work as a means to hide behind our inferiority complexes. We must always try and invite people to Islam in every given circumstance just like the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did. For a holistic approach to the dawah we must be prepared to walk the walk and be the positive change that others can see.”

The event ended with a question and answer session that allowed attendees to find out more about the different volunteer led initiatives across the UK.

“And who is better in speech than the one who calls to Allah and does good deeds and says I am one of the Muslims.”
[Qur’an 41:33]

For more information, please contact:

Abu-Tayeb Khairdeen
One Community - Identity-01
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 07811 164 299