On Wednesday 26th June at the Osmani Centre, London, The Cordoba Foundation launched the latest in a series of the Cordoba Papers, titled “Meet the Challenge, Make the Change – A Call to Action for Muslim Civil Society in Britain”.
Authored by Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari – a leading figure in the Muslim community – the paper attempts a critical look at the Muslim community, particularly in Britain and the role and performance of Islamic organisations.
Providing a good mapping exercise, the paper charts a way forward through a bold and clear presentation but also raises interesting and pertinent issues for discussion and debate.
The publication was reviewed by writer and researcher, Dr Jamil Sherif and moderated by Dr Anas Altikriti, CEO of The Cordoba Foundation. In attendance were leading figures from Muslim organisations, charities, research institutions as well as community activists and youth. Dr Altikriti said “we welcome the open discussion and debate that took place during the launch of this timely publication, which is lacking in the community.”
Other discussants, including Dr Zahid Parvez – Rector of the Markfield Institute of Higher Education based at the Islamic Foundation in Leicestershire, pointed out the need for British Muslims to better engage with civil society on general interest issues. He said, “whilst we acknowledge a leadership-deficit in the Muslim community, new and credible leadership will emerge automatically in different spheres of our society.”
Lotifa Begum, Development Education Coordinator for Islamic Relief, commended Dr Abdul Bari for penning this paper and initiating discussion on this very important topic amongst stakeholders in the community”. Tarek el Diwany, consultant and analyst in the field of Islamic finance for Zest Advisory LLP, and author of The Problem With Interest, remarked that “we need to do away our fascination with labels and organisational bureaucracy and focus more on making real contribution to society, in the fields of media, medicine, finance and so on.”
Responding to questions and points addressed to Dr Abdul Bari, he stressed that “overcoming cultural and religious differences is a priority to building a better future together with different stakeholders, as demonstrated in the life of Prophet Muhammad since the very beginning of the Revelation.”
The Cordoba Foundation hopes that Dr Abdul Bari’s paper will inspire and probe those currently at key positions in the Muslim community to reflect on some of the issue and challenges highlighted but also to look forward to making the change for a better Muslim civil society in Britain.
The full publication can be downloaded from here