Aug 2, 2011 | News & Press
The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) welcomes the publishing today of a crucial report by Spinwatch which examines two of the most key right-wing think-tanks involved in the debate on Islam, multiculturalism and extremism which are thought to have influenced the former Labour and the present Coalition Governments’ Prevent strategies (old and new); namely the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange.
The report which was completed before the recent terrorist attacks in Norway, argues that right-wing think-tanks such as these, have understated the rise of Islamophobia on the far-right and in some cases have condoned the rise of groups such as the English Defence League because of their own links to the so-called ‘counter-jihad movement’. The report also warns that the policies that these think-tanks are promoting is likely to stigmatise and even criminalise politically active Muslims, as well as liberals and leftists, thereby risking the undermining of traditional freedoms enjoyed by churches, schools, universities and public libraries.
The report’s co-author, Professor David Miller of Strathclyde University said: “The policies advocated by the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange detailed in the report inevitably mean the curtailment of civil liberties and the narroming of political debate. The consequences for British Muslims though will be even more severe”.
Anas Altikriti, Chief Executive of TCF stated that “this report comes out at an extremely timely moment, where the entire world and specifically European Societies are still reeling in the aftermath of the Norwegian terrorist masscre.”
TCF believes it is no longer acceptable to regard certain establishments beyond reproach, simply because of their considerable links with and influence upon government and policy makers, especially when they have been at the heart of a wide range of radical and often harmful policies concerning multiculturalism, Muslims and extremism in the UK.
“Not only should the government’s relationship with the media establishments be examined and reformed, but also its relationship with certain ideological establishments and think-tanks whose impact on policy is considerable and undeniable” added Altikriti.
Notes for the Editor:
- The full report can be downloaded here
- For a further copy of the report, enquiries or to arrange interviews with the report authors, please contact Amjad Saleem, Head of Communications on 020 8991 3370 or write to:firstname.lastname@example.org
Aug 1, 2011 | News & Press
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
شهر رمضان الذي أنزل فيه القرآن هدى للناس وبينات من الهدى والفرقان
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Faith and Humanity
As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum (Peace and Blessings be Upon You)
As the Holy Month of Ramadan once again blesses us with its presence we at The Cordoba Foundation would like to congratulate you on the advent of this Holy Month.
We are all travellers on the same journey, struggling to seek God’s pleasure. Ramadan is an opportunity for us to remember the many lessons to be learnt and taught on this journey.
A wise man once said, ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and happiness.’
Within this space, there is God and one’s heart, as the Qur’an reminds us: “...and know that [the knowledge of] God lies between the human being and his heart.” Such is the meaning of profound spirituality. Hence within this space everyone is asked to take up a dialogue of intimacy and sincerity with The Most-High. Within this space we marry the purpose of our existence with the purpose of our subsistence. Man is asked to acquire a force of being and doing rather than to undergo a despotic relentlessness of a life reduced to mere instinct. We are thus responsible for the actions we take.
At the heart of our consumer society, where materialism and individualism drive our daily lives, the Blessed Month of Ramadan reinforces our personal effort and commitment, invites us towards the deep horizons of introspection and meaning, reminds us of silence, restraint and remembrance, and inculcates the importance of detail, precision, rigour and discipline of practice.
The Blessed Month of Ramadan is a feast of the faith of fraternal atmosphere that is shared with all brothers and sisters, to portray the humility and compassion of the Prophet (saw) towards the downtrodden and distressed, irrespective of culture and creed. This year in particular as millions are suffering in East Africa due to famine; millions of people are affected by war and natural disaster and countless of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet in times of economic hardship, let us realize the prophetic vision of a just world by reflecting it in our mindset, etiquette, and actions, so that we become 21st century ambassadors of the Prophet (saw): advocating justice, compassion and love for the whole of humanity.
Ramadan Mubarak and many happy and blessed returns
Chief Executive of The Cordoba Foundation
Jul 18, 2011 | News & Press
On the 18th of July, Nelson Mandela will be celebrating his 93rd birthday and in recognition of his courage and commitment to the cause of freedom and justice, this day has been recognised as Mandela Day, to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better.
In recognition of this, The Cordoba Foundation urges people to take action to inspire the change they wish to see in this world.
In setting the ethical framework of ‘service to one’s fellow human being’, the Mandela Day campaign message is about building a global movement for good.
In this day and age of great sorrow and strife, Mandela Day reminds us that individuals armed with moral power based on ethical principles can take responsibility to change the world to a better place, one small step at a time.
We are also reminded that there are a great many challenges ahead as Nelson Mandela famously said:
‘I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended’
Tell us of what you have done today to inspire and serve humanity and we will share this with the world.
Jul 18, 2011 | News & Press
Head of Research at The Cordoba Foundation and editor of Arches, Faliq was tasked by the foundation to deliver messages of support and sympathy to the victims of the genocide and their families. During his 10-day stay, Faliq met a number of survivors and victims of the war, as well as visiting various sites and projects throughout the country. He met representatives from the Islamic Community of Bosnia-Herzegovina, namely the Grand Mufti Dr Mustafa Ceric; Katheryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons as well as its Chief Operating Officer Adam Boys; Professor Enes Karic, Faculty of Islamic Studies – Bosnia-Herzegovina; and Sehija Dedovic, An-Nahla Women’s Centre.
Reflecting on his trip, Faliq said “despite visiting Bosnia several times and having lead numerous delegations, every visit for me is very emotional and inspirational. It’s emotional because of the sheer tragedy and shock suffered by the Boshniaks (Bosnian Muslims), namely the Srebrenica genocide. But it is also very inspirational witnessing the strong resolve of the people to live normal and dignified lives despite the dark past.”
Ahead of the memorial, the foundation’s CEO Anas Altikriti spoke of hope and peace despite the gruesome reality witnessed in Srebrenica and other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina: “the Srebrenica Memorial Day provides a timely reminder to us all of the challenges that can only be met in a sense of togetherness and community.”
The Cordoba Foundation released a special edition of the Occasional Papers series, in commemoration of the Srebrenica Memorial Day. The publication featured two important articles by the Grand Mufti titled “Spiritual Revolution: The Challenge for the 21st Century”, and by Professor Enes Karic, “Who is the ‘Other’ Today?”
Jul 8, 2011 | News & Press
As the Srebrenica Memorial Day anniversary on the 11th of July approaches its 16 year, we are once again reminded of the lengths that man could potentially go to when immersed in a state of fear, hatred and division.
The Memorial Day puts to rest any naivety that the lessons of the past have not only been learned, but well and truly headed. Not only are human beings chronically capable of committing the most repugnant of acts against fellow human beings, regardless of the advancement of time, the catalysts for these crimes are invariably similar whatever the different and unique circumstances of each.
Though recent court rulings and the capture of Ratko Mladic are bringing about some closure to a painful period of history in this region, it should not be underestimated that the most heinous of crimes committed against particular people of faith, race, creed or colour in generations gone by could never be committed again. These remain dynamic challenges for us to overcome.
However the past should not become a ball and chain for the future. There is a need to provide humanity with a space for personal and social transformation. There is a need to work towards higher values and ethics that concern human nature and purpose, leading to peace and harmony with one and others) and towards building understanding based on common features in a language understood by most people.
The Cordoba Foundation has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the threat man poses against his fellow man, should particular conditions become established on the ground. Whether Srebrenica, Auswitz, Rwanda, Gaza, Kashmir or Somalia, and whether in the last century, this or the one coming, injustice establishes fear which breads suspicion and ultimately hatred. From there, the
move on to violence is neither a difficult nor inconceivable step to undertake.
Our objective is to work in common collaboration to remove the very initial elements on that tragic path, and to counter the root causes for clashes based on false and misguided understanding and implementation of the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘the other’.
The Srebrenica Memorial Day provides a timely reminder to us all of the
challenges that can only be met in a sense of togetherness and community.
To mark the 16th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Memorial Day, The Cordoba Foundation is releasing a special edition of the Occasional Papers, dedicated to Srebrenica, by two distinguished people, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Dr Mustafa Ceric and Professor Enes Karić, professor of Qur’anic Studies at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Bosnia. The issues raised in the two articles provide timely reflections and observations on human relations, of dialogue between people and cultures as well as the attendant challenges of a spiritual revolution today. The report can be downloaded from here
A special sermon given by the Mufti of Bosnia, can be downloaded from here
Jun 26, 2011 | News & Press
The 26th of June will mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Torture is one of the most profound human rights abuses that take a terrible toll on people and their families. An invasion of the privacy of an individual’s personality, intellect and body is one of the worst crimes that can be committed against human beings.
As Kofi Annan said, ‘This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak against the unspeakable’.
In the 21st century, The Cordoba Foundation deplores the fact that torture is still used in many parts of the world especially by countries that have signed up the Convention Against Torture.
The Cordoba Foundation encourages relevant agencies and countries to redouble efforts to address the issue of torture and put in place tangible measures to eradicating torture and abuse across the spectrum.
May 5, 2011 | News & Press
The death of Osama bin Laden, should signal the end of one of the most difficult phases in the relationship between the West and the Muslim world. It should bring closure to a painful 10 years after 9/11. It should lessen the need for mainstream Muslim organisations to feel always under pressure to condemn the ideology espoused by Al-Qaeda and like many other historical moments, should provide us with a chance to think, ponder and reflect.
The state of mistrust, lack of faith and goodwill between the West and the Muslim world should be reflected upon along with methods of reparation and how we espouse the values of justice and how we pursue them. Retributive justice that inspires cycles of violence becomes a ball and chain for a future without reconciliation.
The Arab Spring that brought peaceful protests and revolutions throughout the Arab world in the past four months are a perfect example of moving towards a sense of restorative justice.
The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) emphasises that now more than ever is the need to move towards a sense of peace and mutual respect for and between people. Spiritual scriptures all envision a pluralistic world, mutual understanding and religious tolerance, emphasising love of the Creator and love of the neighbour in contributing towards meaningful peace around the world.
There will be those who will seek to divide the community but there is a need to ensure that community relations are strengthened so that we can collectively ensure that British society as a whole emerges from this turbulent time stronger in its moral and ethical fabric and able to lead the way in peaceful coexistence with mutual respect and understanding.
Commenting on this, Anas Altikriti, CEO of TCF said ‘We must, at all costs, avoid initiating a new era where recriminations and counter-recriminations coin West-Muslim relationships. If anything was learnt from the past decade, it is that violence begets violence and the cycle of bloodshed is virtually impossible to break. Western Muslims must join efforts with fellow country folk to reject policies which deem human lives dispensable and war an easily ready option.’
We at The Cordoba Foundation stand proud in our aspiration that different cultures, civilisations and, thoughts can thrive and strive for the common goal of understanding, respecting, accepting and celebrating diversity.
Feb 18, 2011 | News & Press
Anas Altikriti, Chief Executive of The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) has arrived in Cairo today to conduct exploratory consultations with civil society and political leaders following the ousting of Hosni Mubarak as President of Egypt .
Commenting on his visit, Altikriti explains that “the mandate of The Cordoba Foundation amongst other things is to facilitate a space for people with opposing ideas to come and explore ways of working together. We are hoping that we would be able to make constructive contributions in Egypt to help navigate Egyptian civil society to move forward towards a more stable future“.
TCF believes Egypt is facing a new and exciting future as a result of people’s power as recently evidenced in the streets of the country. “It is important that ordinary Egyptians are able to exercise their democratic rights, and determine their own future — free from external influences” added Altikriti.
The future of Egypt, like other countries where people are demanding an end to despotic rule and dictatorships, should foster political and religious pluralism to creating a more inclusive and cohesive society.
TCF will continue its dialogue with the main stakeholders involved in events unfolding in Egypt in order to ensure a peaceful outcome that meets people’s aspirations and ensures a smooth transition to a better and more human reality.
Feb 10, 2011 | News & Press
The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) welcomes the publication of ‘The Edge of Violence‘ by DEMOS, which suggests a ‘radical’ approach to tackling home grown terrorism. The report which defines ‘radical’ as the ‘rejection of the status quo’ lays bare the myth that radicalisation is a linear path to violence and terrorism. As the report argues; ‘differentiating between types of radicalisation is extremely important because targeting the wrong people can breed resentment and alienation and erode the freedoms Western governments want to preserve’.
Using a combination of literature reviews and interviews across 5 countries (UK, Canada, Denmark, France and the Netherlands), the report seeks to cast light on how and why some types of radicalisation develop into violence and others do not; how the different types relate to each other and what implications this has for social and security policy. The report comes up with the following 3 recommendations stakeholders will find useful in addressing the challenges in question: encouraging positive activism, demystifying and de-glamourising Al-Qaeda as a structure and an ideology and encouraging a greater role for the involvement of non-governmental actors.
Commenting on this, Anas Altikriti, Chief Executive of TCF said: “This report is timely because it reminds us of the key complex issues that we are facing. Unfortunately, the discussions that have emerged from the weekend following David Cameron’s speech in Munich have been focused on one aspect: the failure of multiculturalism. It is all very well to abrogate responsibility to a single issue, but the real issue is that problems are not one-dimensional and do not belong to just one community. Social problems cannot be viewed through a security lens. We welcome DEMOS’ recommendation in particular that space needs to be provided for discussions and dialogue to take place in order to counter some of the established narratives”.
TCF believes that the issues facing the Muslim communities – both internally and externally- are multi layered and replicated in other immigrant ethnic and faith communities and thus cannot simply be written off as a failure of multiculturalism. Adequate attention needs to be paid first to normalising social structures whilst at the same time providing a space for establishing dialogue and facilitating partnerships that will give communities the confidence they need to address their real concerns. This needs the involvement of all stakeholders in society without exception to ensure the promotion of respect, understanding and acceptance of diversity.
This is indeed the challenge for the Big Society to overcome.