Scottish Muslims in Numbers Report
Muslim Council of Scotland highly welcomes The Scottish Muslims
in Numbers report from the Al Waleed Centre Edinburgh. It is an
important piece of work which helps shed light on a number of
useful observations which will help better understand some of the
underlying issues which can impact certain sections of the Muslim
community in Scotland.
While the report also helps identify numerous positive findings
too, including the significant rise in degree level qualifications,
helping propel Muslims towards becoming a highly educated
population, outstripping the national average by 10%. On the other
hand, it also demolishes the myths from integration naysayers, by
highlighting that 71% of Muslims state their national identity as
Scottish and/or British, which will help underline the success of
Muslim integration in Scottish society.
Considering the relatively small number of Muslims in Scotland,
being under 2% of Scotland's overall population, the data revealed
by Scottish Muslim in Numbers report will serve as an extremely
useful source of information for policy makers and community groups
in better understanding the demographics and dynamics of Scottish
Muslims. While it does emphasize many positive elements, it also
helps us better identify the gaps that exist so as to address those
challenges more effectively.
Arson Attack on Edinburgh Central Mosque
Muslim Council of Scotland has condemned the arson attack on the
Edinburgh Central Mosque. Police have called this a "hate crime"
and described an object being thrown at the Mosque in Potterrow at
about 02:10 on Sunday, which caused minor fire damage to a door, a
small bush in the garden area was also damaged. Fortuntaely nobody
was hurt in the attack.
A record number of hate crimes have been recoreded across the
UKin recent months, particulraly since the EU Referendum Scotland
has also seen a spike in such attacks too.
Muslim women have faced the main brunt of such attacks including
one reported in Yoker Park in Dumbartonshire, last month, when a
Muslim woman was racially abused by a 59 year old woman who also
attempted to pull the victims headscarf off.
Muslim Council of Scotland will continue to liaise with Police
Scotland on anti-Muslim hate crimes in Scotland.
Speaking after the recent attack in Edinburgh, Dr Javed Gill the
Convener of MCS he said "this is a shocking attack against a place
of worship, we are thankful that no major damage was done". He also
called on mosque leaders to remain vigilant and report any incident
or suspicios activity immediately to the Police.
The murder of Asad Shah was a despicable crime. The Muslim Council
of Scotland makes it clear that nobody has the right to take the
law into their own hands and nothing justifies that.
Scotland as a society needs to work in partnership to challenge and
defeat all forms of hatred and intolerance and the Muslim Council
of Scotland will ensure it works with all communities to achieve
Muslim Council of Scotland Condemnation of
Attack in Nice
Muslim Council of Scotland has been shocked by the horrific loss of
life in Nice, France last night, targetied against families and
young children. The threat posed by groups and individuals seeking
to kill and maim people has been taken to a new low with this
latest act of carnage carried out in such a brutal and
The Convener of MCS, Dr Javed Gill spoke out against this latest
atrocity, "We condemn in the strongest terms the attack in Nice,
which was carried out on innocent people."
"Sadly this attack is only the latest in a catalogue of atrocities
committed in many cities including Baghdad, Istanbul and Brussels.
We must redouble our efforts in working with all in the interests
and safety of all communities."
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those affected in Nice
MCS Condolence Message
Muslim Council of Scotland has been deeply saddened by the
callous and brutal murder of Father Jacques Hamel during morning
Mass in his church in Normandy on Tuesday 26th July.
Although we have become almost accustomed to the horrendous
indiscriminate actions of Daesh, this latest killing has proved
once again there is no limit to how low this group will stoop to
illustrate its brutality.
The Convener of MCS Dr Javed Gill said "This is an extremely
shocking incident which has absolutely no justification whatsoever;
it has robbed the faith community of a much loved person, a pillar
of his community. We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences
to the family of Father Jaques Hamel and everyone across the
Catholic Church. We also offer our sincere prayers for an end to
this horror, which continues to bring so much pain and distress to
"As Muslims we know the perpetrators of this crime do not
represent Islam; yet through their every action we are learning
exactly how far they have transgressed from the teachings of the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who had categorically
declared that the rights of all religious institutions and
personalities were inviolable."
Muhammad Ali - an outstanding ambassador
Muslim Council of Scotland has offered its condolences at the
passing of Muhammad Ali.
Muslims across the UK have also been adding their tributes to
the former world champion boxer, including Dr Shuja Shafi of Muslim
Counci of Britain "Muhammad Ali was not just a great boxer but a
great human being. He inspired people around the world. His
struggle to stand up for what was right and speak truth to power,
even when unpopular, typified his courage not only inside the ring
but also outside.
That quality led him to be lauded wherever he visited around the
world, particularly in the Muslim world.The love for Muhammed Ali
here was so widespread that he was voted the BBC's Sports
Personality of the Century, winning more votes than all the other
nominees combined; he too had a special place in his heart for the
UK. Muhammad Ali was famous for his ready wit, and I remember
particularly two memorable quotes amongst many. He once said:
'Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on
And commenting on his long-term illness, he said 'God gave me
this illness to remind me that I'm not number one, He is'."British
Muslims will join other Muslims around the world in remembering
Muhammad Ali as an outstanding ambassador for Islam, he will be
missed by us all."
Indeed we are all from God and to Him we will all return.
Glasgow Newsagent Attack
The news of any loss of life is always distressing, more so when
it happens close to our own communities.
Sadly the news emerging about Asad Shah, the newsagent stabbed
in his own shop in Shawlands Glasgow, is not only shocking but of
very deep concern.
The full details relating to this incident are still unclear
however, regardless of whatever background he or his assailant
were, nobody deserves to be attacked in such a despicable
As Muslims of Scotland and living in a pluralistic society, we
would strongly reiterate that nobody has the right to take the law
into their own hands.
There are plans to hold a vigil for Asad Shah, we hope
communities will attend this to show not just their condolences,
but also their unequivocal rejection of such senseless
Police Scotland have issued a community message relating to the
murder of Asad Shah.
Muslim Council of Scotland holds Seminar to
MCS hosted a special seminar of countering extremism which was
addressed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson
The session was attended by a number of representatives
including mosques and community organisations such as Islamic
Society of Britain FOSIS and Al Waleed Centre.
The session was opened by the Leader of Glasgow city Council
Frank McAveety, who emphasised the proud tradtion of Glasgow as a
diverse community. He also highlighted the concerns people had of
the rise of Islamophobia and how Glasgow city council was working
to challenge such hatred through a number of measures including
establishing the Glasgow Central station as Third Party reporting
The Justice Secretary spoke at lengths at the positive
contributions of Scottish Muslims and the importance of working
together to challenge extremism. He emphasised that the
anti-terrorism legislation was UK-wide; however its implementation
in Scotland had key differences. He recognised the risks posed by
stereotyping of Muslims especially through the media and was keen
to explore ways in better educating editors to help them avoid
creating community tensions. The Justice Secretary faced a number
of questions including on the work of Scottish Gov to challenge
religious discrimination through the creation of a task group.
The seminar was later addressed by representatives from mosques
and community groups on their activities and their work in
Scottish Mosques join in Second National 'Visit
My Mosque' Day
The Muslim Council of Scotland has joined hands with Muslim
Council of Britain to support Scottish Mosques in the second
national visit my mosque day. Mosques in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee
and Inverness with be amongst over 70 mosques across the UK holding
open days on Sunday 7th February.
Mosques across the UK will be sharing tea and refreshments
alongside an insight into the day-to-day goings on of a busy Muslim
centre of worship.
#VisitMyMosque Day aims to provide a platform for Muslims to reach
out to fellow Britons and explain their faith and community beyond
the hostile headlines.
Local mosques will also be inviting inter-faith leaders as well,
and all will be asked to come together to demonstrate unity and
solidarity during what has been a tense time for faith
Mosques from all four countries of the UK, England, Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland are involved, and in major cities of the
country. There are over 80 mosques and growing taking part - more
than triple the numbers of mosques that took part last year.
The growing number of mosques participating this year can be found
online at: www.mcb.org.uk/visitmymosque
The list represents the diversity in Islamic traditions, with
mosques from a wide variety of Islamic schools of thought and
traditions taking part, including some of the country's largest
mosques seasoned in doing outreach activities, as well as smaller
mosques holding open days for the first time.
Men, women and children of all ages are welcome.
Anyone in the UK can use the MCB website to search for their
nearest mosque taking part in holding an open day on Sunday 7
Burial And Cremation Bill Scotland
The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Bill is currently being
debated in ParliamentThis Bill could affect the current process of
burial and therefore should be reviewed by Muslims. MCS has been
involved in the earlier stages of this Bill and will continue to
engage in the consultation process.
There are two committees working on this Bill:
1) Local Gov and Regeneration Committee
2) Health and Sport Committee.
Integration Needs to Take Place Beyond
the Lens of Security
Muslim Council of Scotland
The Muslim Council of Britain today welcomed the Prime
Minister's call for more efforts to have English taught, but it
cautioned against the language used to make such calls, and links
Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of
Britain said: "The Prime Minister is absolutely right in wanting
English to be taught more widely. Mosques and Muslim civil society
would be eager to play their part by hosting English language
classes, as many mosques do.
But the Prime Minister's aim to have English more widely spoken
and for better integration falls at the first hurdle if he is to
link it to security and single out Muslim women to illustrate his
Muslims are only one third of minority population. Reports
suggest a significant proportion of immigrants from Eastern Europe
struggle with English. And just last week, it was reported that a
Jewish ultra-orthodox school was shut down for teaching Hebrew
The Prime Minister is right to highlight economic inactivity
amongst Muslim women. More than 10 years ago, it was the
Muslim Council of Britain who highlighted and supported the need
for Muslim women to be more economically active. But we must look
carefully at the drivers, a 2015 Demos report "Rising to the Top",
suggests that the greater economic inactivity amongst British
Muslim women is primarily due to family care at home rather than
not learning English, and that this is most pronounced in women
above the age of 50.
In the MCB's 'British Muslims in Numbers' (2015), we found that
43% of Muslim women are in full-time education and there are real
worries that because of their background, they cannot enter the job
market. We also found that those struggling with speaking English
comprise approximately 6% of the Muslim population, which means
that there is actually a high level of English language competence
amongst Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
The statistic that the Prime Minister has used is not in any
absolute way, the only or most statistically significant one. Other
studies, including our report, give a lower percentage for the
number of Muslims struggling with the English language. We need to
study the other data available on English language in relation to
English language is a barrier, but not the only or most
important one. Other factors such as labour market inequalities,
perceived discrimination, deprivation, and generational differences
amongst Muslim women need to be reflected on.
Last year, it called on 'various stakeholders - Muslim civil
society, policy institutes, employers, trade unions and the
Department for Work and Pensions - to facilitate conditions and
opportunities in the labour market.'
The Prime Minister further notes the "important connection to
extremism". There are countless extremists who have been arrested
or are believed to be in Syria who did not grow up as Muslims, or
who led or are believed to have led 'well integrated lives'.
We agree with the Prime Minister when he says that ''the job of
building a more cohesive country is never complete.' But we would
urge the Prime Minister that this needs be in partnership with
British Muslims, not directed against them.
Muslim Council of Scotland AGM & Fairer
Scotland Discussion Event Dundee
Muslim Council of Scotland
AGM & Fairer Scotland Discussion Event
Sunday 22nd November
Dundee Central Mosque
6 Miln Street DD1 5BZ
Have your say on what a Fairer Scotland should look like in
2030, and what should be done to make this vision a
reality. In addition to the conversations that are already
happening, the Scottish Government wants to work with a broad mix
of people across the country to prioritise practical steps that can
be taken to create a fairer Scotland.
Muslims Condemn Senseless Attacks in Paris
Muslims across Scotland are shocked at the senseless acts of
wanton violence seen in Paris last night. The Convener of Muslim
Council of Scotland Dr Javed Gill said "We condemn in the strongest
terms this senseless violence and offer our deepest condolences to
the victims". "The targeting of innocent people going about their
normal lives is nothing short of despicable".
Muslim Council of Scotland recognises the threat posed by those
behind the Paris attacks and will continue to work with all
authorities in Scotland to ensure the safety of all
MCS Mourns Loss of Life in Mina at Hajj
Muslim Council of Scotland is deeply concerned at the loss of
life in Mina during the Hajj.
According to reports over 700 people have died in Mina with around
850 injured, it is currently unclear what caused the stampede which
led to high number of deaths.
Mina is a large valley around 3 miles from Mecca, it has 160,000
tents which are used by pilgrims when they stay in Mina during part
of the the pilgrimage.
We are currently not aware of any persons from Scotland or
wider to have been caught up in the tragedy.
Muslim Council of Scotland Joins Faith Leaders
in Calling for Action on Refugee Crisis
Muslim Council of Scotland today joined with faith leaders in
expressing deep concern at the ongoing refugee crisis.
Dr Salah Beltagui attended the emergency meeting on behallf of
MCS, which was called by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the
morning of Friday 4th Sept at the Scottish Gov headquarters at the
At the meeting The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon responded to
the humanitarian catastrophe taking place across Europe, declaring
that Scotland stood ready to offer sanctuary to 1,000 refugees.
After the meeting faith leaders joined together to released a
joint statement calling for a compassionate response to the
Our faiths instruct us not to fear the stranger, but to love
our neighbour. We view the desperate situation facing refugees
currently seeking sanctuary in Europe with growing alarm. We are
compelled to speak out on this issue.
Our faiths in their different ways are rooted in the refugee
experience, in what it means to be forced to leave a place where
one's very existence is threatened in search of somewhere
safer. Our scriptures teach the importance of love and
compassion for all who are destitute. We are concerned by the
dehumanising language used to describe people who are so desperate
that they risk their lives, and we share the belief that all people
have an inherent dignity and right to life.
We welcome the UK and Scottish governments' willingness to
offer a safe haven to these desperate people. We urge them to back
this with practical action to help as many refugees as possible,
and we call on our communities to support this and make them
Police Scotland send Condolences for Hajj
Police Scotland has offered its condolences to Scottish Muslims
on the deaths resulting from a stampede in Mina during the Hajj
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone's message said:"
Police Scotland is deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy that
has occurred at the annual Hajj pilgrimage near Mecca.On behalf of
Police Scotland, I offer my sincerest condolences to the families
ofthose who have died. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at
this difficult time.Although we are not currently aware of any
British citizens who have died in thisterrible accident, further
information can be obtained via the Foreign andCommonwealth Office
website at www.fco.gov.uk."
Link to message.
Scottish Muslims begin Ramadhan
First Minister sends best
Mosques across Scotland announced Thursday as the first day of
Ramadhan, the month of fasting and prayer.
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent her best wishes to all
Muslims through a twitter message, including Muslim Council of
Scotland within it, and linking to her Ramadhan message.
In her message The First Minister said:
"Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar and is a
time for spiritual reflection for Muslims in Scotland and across
"It reminds Muslims to think about those who are less fortunate
and the struggles of some of the world's poorest and most
vulnerable people. It focuses on family and charity, and goes right
to the heart of the Islamic faith. That selflessness and desire to
care for others is an example that we all can all follow.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the
positive influence the Muslim community has in Scotland and wish
everyone celebrating this month, Ramadan Mubarak."
MCS Condemns Islamophobic grafitti on Glasgow
Muslim Council of Scotland is deeply concerned to learn of the
nasty anti-Muslim graffiti left on the Singh Sabha Central Gurdwara
In light of the recent similar hateful message scrawled on the
signage of a Muslim cemetery in East Renfrewshire, Islamophobia is
a truly abhorrent act which, as we see, does not just affect
Muslims but other minority faith groups too.
Muslim Council of Scotland stands with the Sikh community in
condemnation and requests immediate action be taken to end these
types of hateful incidents against all minority faiths.
Scotland is a tolerant and inclusive country; these acts should in
no way be allowed to tarnish this image.
MCS Attends Parliament meeting on
Assisted Sucide (Scotland) Bill
MSPs were provided a briefing about the dangers of the Assisted
Suicide (Scotland) Bill. GP and palliative care specialist
Professor Scott Murray warned of the potential for abuse, and spoke
of the urgent need to make our excellent palliative care available
more widely and earlier: it is about living well to the end, and
being in control.
MSPs then had a chance to ask questions and raise any concerns
of their own, making some excellent points.The conclusion was that
assisted suicide is dangerous and unnecessary.
MCS is working with partner groups to provide a strong response
to this Bill.
ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL
Bill rejected by MSPs by 82 to 36
Assisted Suicide Bill
MSPs voted rejected the Assisted Suicide Bill Scotland which
could have made it legal to help someone to commit suicide.
According to Islamic teachings, life is a Divine gift from Allah
and cannot be terminated by any form of active or passive
intervention by the patient, physician or any other.
All Muslim scholars unanimously agree that this action is
strongly prohibited under the Islamic law.
Assisted suicide will put vulnerable people at
great risk and will undermine the care and social solidarity that
are due to those who are ill.
The Bill suggested procedures and safeguards are open to abuse
and coercion physical and mental.
The Bill will create a culture of suicide as a
treatment/solution, this will affect young people in any
Will undermine the well-established legal, medical and social
principles that people should not be helped to kill themselves and
that doctors should support life and do not intentionally end
Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia
would be unethical, unnecessary, dangerous and contrary to the
Efforts should be made to focus on improving care, in particular
making our excellent palliative care available more widely.
General Election 2015
Key pledges by main political
Muslims like the rest of the country are primarily
concerned by the same issues, including NHS, Economy and
However there are also other issues of specific
concern to Muslims; the below highlights the key pledges made by
the main political parties on issues of relevance to Muslims.
1. Proper recording of Islamophobic hate crimes
2. Reform 'stop and search' to tackle discrimination
against BME communities
3. Cross government strategy to tackle Islamophobia, from
schools to social media
4. Commitment to the Human Rights Act
5. Cross government race equality strategy
6. Protect rights to religious practice, including halal
7. Work with schools to teach equality and respecting each
8, Overhaul the PREVENT strategy and involve communities
in countering extremism
9. Work with the police to improve ethnic minority
10. Commitment to an independent, viable Palestinian state
as part of a two-state solution
11, Commitment to recommendations by the Leveson Inquiry
on press regulation
12. Push for global targets to tackle inequality and human
Scottish National Party
1. We will call on the next UK government to pursue a two
state solution for Israel and Palestine
2. We support the formal recognition of a Palestinian
3. We will oppose scrapping the Human Rights Act or
withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.
4. We will resist any attempts to ban Halal
5. Hate crime has no place in Scotland and will not be
6. We are supporting work in communities to make sure laws
to deal with hate crimes are in place and supporting rehabilitation
for those who perpetrate hate crime.
7. We will ensure effective regulation of the media on a
8. We will support calls to establish a Race Committee to
advise the work of the Equality and Human Rights
1. Will work closely with Muslim community leaders to
prevent hate crime
2. Monitor and tackle the BME pay gap
3. Challenge discrimination in the criminal justice
4. Prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion in
the provision of public service
5. Committed to Royal Charter on press
6. Ensure counter terrorism efforts do not stigmatise or
alienate Muslim community
7. Support two-state solution to Israeli/Palestinian
1. Will review hate crime legislation
2. Will protect halal and shechita
3. Will mandate changes in stop and search if stop to
arrest ratios do not improve
4. Will improve the diversity of police recruitment -
especially BME officers
5. Support two-state solution to Israeli/Palestinian
(Source: Mend website, MCS research)
Justice Secretary stands with Muslims on
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson met with Muslim Council of
Scotland and spoke out against the threats posed by right wing
organisation Pegida, whitch originated in Germany, and now
threatens to demonstate, against Muslims in Edinburgh.
The meeting with Muslim Council of Scotland covered a wide
raonge of issues of concern to Scottish Muslims, Michael Matheson
said that any racist or Islamophocic incidents would be dealt with
the full force of the law.
He reiterated the words said previously in the Scottish
Parliament, when he said, "Those who seek to incite violence will
be dealt with firmly and reported to the Crown Office and
Procurator Fiscal Service. The Scottish Government fully supports
Police Scotland in taking all appropriate and proportionate action
required. I speak for all my colleagues in the Scottish Government
and, I am sure, all members of this parliament, when I say that we
do not tolerate Islamophobia or any other form of hatred or hate
crime. We will not tolerate extremists who peddle hatred under the
guise of protecting society."
The Justice Secretary's meeting with MCS was held in the
Scottish Parliament and was attended by a number of MCS Board
members. The meeting also covered a number of current issues,
including the recent discovery of homework issued from a North
Lanarkshire school which stereotyped Palestinians as "terrorists".
Mr Matheson admitted his shock and promised to raise this with the
Education minister, to ensure no other Scottish schools were using
Also relating to anti-Muslim activities, was the issue of Hate
Crimes which was also discussed, especially relating to the ongoing
work to ensure victims of hate crimes report them to the police. It
was agreed that further meetings would be arranged to review the
current situation, to recognisse and address any gaps which prevent
victims from reporting any hate crime.
Muslim Community Unites to Condemn UKIP
MEP's Islamophobic Attack on Humza Yousaf MSP
Muslim organisations from across Scotland have come together
to express their abhorrence at Islamophobic remarks made by UKIP
MEP David Coburn.
The organisations collectively represent tens of thousands of
individual Muslims, Mosques and Muslim associations across
Mazhar Khan spokesperson from the Muslim Council of Scotland
"Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) is appalled at the UKIP
leader in Scotland, David Coburn, for his deeply offensive remark
at Humza Yousaf MSP in referring to him as "Abu Hamza".
"The stereotyping of Muslims as extremists and terrorists, is
one the most shameful forms of Islamophobia, and a manner
constantly used by right-wing groups such as the BNP and the
English/ Scottish Defence League at caricaturing Muslims. For a
leader of a political party to make the same type of insult, is
frankly disgraceful and reprehensible.
'The fact that UKIP is no stranger to such controversy and has
regularly been accused of having racists within its ranks, only
exacerbates the offence.
"To prove its rejection of intolerance and Islamophobia, MCS calls
on UKIP leader Nigel Farage to do the right thing and take
immediate action against David Coburn, such a person is not fit to
represent Scottish people in the European parliament."
Asid Khan President of Glasgow Central Mosque
"There is a rising tide of Islamophobia sweeping across Europe
which we all must be vigilant about. David Coburn's unacceptable
Islamophobia has no place in a tolerant and diverse Scotland.
"Muslims have spent years rightly distinguishing the true
teachings of Islam against the actions of terrorists. For an
elected member to refer to Humza Yousaf as a convicted extremist is
beyond the pale. David Coburn's remarks have deeply insulted the
entire Muslim community in Scotland and as others have rightly said
his position is untenable. UKIP should expel him without
Dr Amanullah Durrani spokesperson for the Islamic
Society of Britain Scotland:
" David Coburn's offensive remarks once again
highlight how out of touch UKIP is with reality and basic
"Islamic Society of Britain (Glasgow) condemns the disgusting
comments made by David Coburn, UKIP member and MEP, and demands his
immediate sacking both from UKIP and the European Parliament.
"The acceleration in the demonization of Islam and Muslims across
the UK in recent times has been fueled by such people. The
hypocrisy of UKIP has been exposed by such comments which
they thought were being made in private.
"Muslims in the UK have been working tirelessly to develop strong
intercommunity relationships and resist racist and Islamophobic
sentiments. Initiatives such as the Islam Awareness Week (IAW)
which is commencing Monday 16th to Sunday 22 March is one such
"Scotland's politicians from all parties need to send a strong and
united message for the immediate sacking of David Coburn.
There is no space in UK politics for people like him."
MCS meeting on changes in death certification
Muslim Council of Scotland held a meeting at Madrassa
Taleem ul Islam, Glasgow on the changes in death
Dr Salah represented Muslims Council of Scotland,
Registrar from Glasgow city council, representative from Scottish
Government and an NHS representative briefed about new
changes in death certification procedures
It was mentioned that MCS is working with relevant authorities
to change 100 years old death certification procedure to improve
quality of information and to safeguard lives as much as
Guest attended from almost all Muslim organizations, with
participation by Imams and Mosque committees
Question and answer opportunity was provided so several guests
Representatives assured Muslim community to adjust procedures
as much as possible for the comfort and facilitation of the
School Homework refers to Palestinians as
Muslims in Scotland have been apalled to discover a school in
North Larnarkshire produce homework sheets for children in which
Palestinians are described as "terrorists". Taking to social media
Muslims and supporters of Palestinians expressed their shock and
indignation at the blatant nature of the worksheets, which were
given to primary 7 pupils.
A number of people contacted the council requesting a response
to the material, to which a statement was released by the Council
apologising "unreservedly for the offence caused" and
describing the work as "obsolete".
MCS has also discussed the matter with affiliate groups to
ensure a full response is received from North Lanarkshire Council.
MCS will also be meeting with the Jutice Secretary next week and
this item will also be discussed to ensure no other schools are
producing such material.
Muslim Council of Scotland Challenges Online
Extremism & Radicalism
Muslim Council of Scotland held a joint seminar with Police
Scotland to raise awareness of Radicalism and Extremism from online
Around 50 Imams and mosque representatives attended the seminar
hosted at Minhaj ul Quran Glasgow. Convener of MCS Dr Javed Gill
spoke out on the dangers posed by online activityand especially
social media which can impact young minds, luring them towards
extremism. Dr Gill said "The biggest challenge we face in Scotland
is the dangers posed by the internet in radicalising our youth. We
simply cannot control the online content posted by those abroad. It
is also vital that parents play a greater role in what their
children are watching on the internet. The videos made by the likes
of Islamic State are very professional, very appealing. Although
the reality on the ground will be completely different from what is
The seminar was addressed by Inspector Shaheen Baber of Police
Scotland, who presented on the importance of challenging radicalism
and the work delivered by Police Scotland to maintain security in
The seminar follows on the heels of another recent project which
encouraged mosques to hold open days to welcome communities. The
project also helped cement relations between mosques and encouraged
greater coperation and consultation, as well as allowing Dr Gill to
personally visit mosques to witness the positive work they deliver.
He touched on this while highlighting the important role played by
"I have travelled across Scotland and there are no radical
preachers in Scottish mosques who are urging Muslims to commit
violence abroad or at home. It is vital that a mosque is made more
than a place just for prayer. It should be an open environment for
young people in terms of organising sports and leisure facilities
as well. Such engagement will lead to the youth increasing their
knowledge of their religion and foster a more balanced approach as
well as getting involved in the decision making process in their
Justice Secretary writes letter to Muslim
Council of Scotland
In the aftermath of the Paris atrocity, the Cabinet Secretary
for Justice Michael Matheson MSP has written to the Muslim Council
In his letter, Mr Matheson wrote he was taking this opportunity;
"On behalf of the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland,
to reassure you that we stand together with Muslim communities in
Scotland and in France". He expressed his condemnation of the
Paris attacks while categorising them as "a distortion of the
Islamic faith and an attack on the values we share, Muslims and
Dr Javed Gill the Convener of MCS was grateful for the letter,
emphasising that in the current climate there were attempts by
certain individuals to paint all Muslims as being associated with
the terrorists in France. "We are extremely grateful for the
Justice Secretary's letter, it truly emphasises the pain we all
share at the loss of life in Paris".
Paris Murders are a Greater Insult to Islam:
Statement on Charlie Hebdo Massacre
The Muslim Council of Scotland is sickened by the barbaric
attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Below is the
statement issued by Muslim Council of Britain which we support.
"The attack has been condemned by Muslims in France, in Europe
and around the world. In France, the French Muslim Council
(CFCM) has said: "This extremely grave barbaric action is also an
attack against democracy and the freedom of the press."
Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of
Britain said: "Nothing justifies the taking of life. Those who have
killed in the name of our religion today claim to be avenging the
insults made against Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace. But
nothing is more immoral, offensive and insulting against our
beloved Prophet than such a callous act of murder. Our
thoughts, prayers and solidarity go to the families of the
victims and the people of France.
Naturally, and unfortunately discussion will now fall on the
right to intentionally publish hurtful material that denigrates
religious figures and traditions. But however offended we may be,
the ultimate denigration of our faith comes from these murderers
who have unjustifiably taken life.
In the coming weeks Muslims will face the test of having to
justify themselves and their place in Western society. As Muslims
we are ever mindful of our Lord's injunction to convey our true
faith with wisdom and beautiful words. Indeed in the noble Qur'an
we are told: 'The true servants of the Merciful are those who walk
humbly on the earth and when the ignorant address them they say:
In addition, while Muslims must engage with fellow citizens in a
spirit of dialogue and friendship, we must all come together to
seek unity and defy the terrorists whose only aim is to divide us.
The best defence against closed minds is for a truly open society,
MCS Statement on Glasgow Bin Lorry
23 December 2014
Muslim Council of Scotland has been shocked and saddened at the
loss of life resulting from the bin lorry crash in George Square
The loss of loved ones is always a distressing experience at any
time of the year but to occur in the days before Christmas can only
increase the pain. Glasgow is a city which is facing such pain once
again this year; it is also a city with resilience, which has
learnt to come together in the face of such immense difficulty.
Muslim Council of Scotland shares in the pain, sympathy and
compassion with all those affected by this unimaginable tragedy, at
this time of year. We send our deepest condolences to the families
of those affected and pray for the recovery of those injured.
The killing of children: A most heinous
Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) is completely shocked at the
brutal and senseless attack by Taliban militants on a school in
Peshawar, Pakistan, which has left some 132 children dead. Although
Pakistan has over the last few years experienced an onslaught of
violence perpetrated by this group, targeting shopping centres,
mosques and churches, the sheer horror of targeting the truly
innocent in this latest attack has left every person numb with
The Taliban have once again proven themselves to be nothing more
than savages, who feel no shame in attacking a school full of
children. What goal or gain they expected to achieve through the
killing of innocent children, frankly beggars belief.
MCS calls on the Pakistan Government to take immediate action at
providing assistance to all affected families and addressing the
root causes of this atrocity. Although the Taliban deliberately
chose to target a school where a large number of students are from
families linked to the armed forces, the Pakistan Army must not
allow this massacre to deter them from stepping up their campaign,
to bring an end to the carnage wrought by this vicious group.
Dr Javed Gill, the Convener of Muslim Council of Scotland has
urged all mosques in Scotland to hold special prayers for those
affected. "WE are all struggling to come to terms with the events
of today, the sanctity of life is always paramount in Islam,
especially concerning children. Therefore, we ask all mosques to
hold prayers for the victims of this attack, as well as the mothers
and fathers who have lost their loved ones today."
MCS attends Memorial Service for David
Representatives of Muslim Council of Scotland attended the
Memorial Service in Perth for aid worker David Haines, who was
brutally murdered by militant group ISIS.
Over 600 people attended the service, with tributes led by David
Haines' daughter Bethany and brother Michael who spoke about the
touching response he experienced from Muslims, while requesting all
people to carry out a single act of unity in memory of David.
The service was led by Rev Gordon Campbell who delivered a
moving sermon quoting from the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad,
peace be upon him.
Last month MCS and Muslim communities from Perth and Dundee had
issued condemnations of the brutal murder of Mr Haines.
MCS Independence Referendum advice
Muslim Council of Scotland has urged Imams and mosque leaders to
remind the people about their civic duty of voting in the
referendum next Thursday. Regardless of whatever position they take
on the matter, everyone must think carefully about all issues at
stake, deciding for the good of the country and cast their vote
Muslim Council of Scotland is conscious of the strong passions
which have arisen on both sides, in the course of this campaign.
Therefore MCS reminds everyone to respect the opinion of the other
and collectively pray for the good of this country.
SCOTLAND'S MUSLIM COMMUNITY CONDEMN
BARBARIC MURDER OF DAVID HAINES
Scotland's Muslim communities from across the country have
united to unequivocally condemn the barbaric murder of David
Muslim communities from Perth, where David Haines grew up and
the Muslim community of Dundee where Mr Haines family live have, in
particular, added their voices of condemnation to the brutal murder
of Mr Haines.
Dr Javed Gill Convener of Muslim Council of Scotland said:
"As Scottish Muslims we are united in our condemnation of the
murder of fellow Scot, David Haines. Our deepest condolences,
thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Mr
"David went overseas as an aid worker to help the people of that
region. That extremists chose to murder him only shows once again
the depravity of their warped ideology. They have killed so many
innocent people in the region, and they perform such murders only
to draw attention to their cause of destruction.
"These extremists in Iraq and Syria claim to be acting in the
name of Islam. But there is nothing in our faith that condones such
behaviour. Muslims in Scotland and around the world have condemned
these people, and the arguments they use have been refuted
comprehensively as being far from the religion of Islam.
We once again offer our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the
family of David Haines and stand with all communities in
condemnation of these barbaric actions"
Bashir Chohan, President of Dundee Islamic Society at the
Central Mosque said:
"The Muslim community of Dundee is horrified at the mindless and
barbaric killing of David Haines by extremist forces operating in
Iraq & Syria.
"We express our heartfelt condolences and offer our prayers for
David's family who are a part of the Dundee community. We grieve
with them at this difficult time.
"Our Islamic faith teaches us that taking one innocent life is
tantamount to killing the whole of humanity. These twisted actions
are completely contrary to the teachings of Islam and we condemn
them without hesitation and in the strongest possible manner.
"If the Dundee Muslim community can offer any assistance to the
Haines family then we are at their disposal."
Dr Anas Naasan, founding trustee of Perth Islamic Society
"The Muslims of Perth are united in grief with the local
community at the horrendous murder of David Haines.
"David was a humanitarian who went to the region to help some of
the pooorest and most vulnerable. His murder shows the complete
lack of morality and conscience of his killers.
"The Muslim community of Perth condemns in the strongest possible
manner the killing of David Haines and we reiterate that this has
nothing to do with Islam, these actions are contrary to our
This Message is endorsed by:
Muslim Council of Scotland
Dundee Central Mosque
Perth Islamic Society
Glasgow Central Mosque
Islamic Society of Britain
MCS Independence Question Time Event on Mon 8th
MCS hosted a very lively and spirited special Independence
hustings event on Monday 8th Sept. The format of this hustings was
based on the Question Time style of panel comprising 2 people from
the Better Together campaign and 2 from the Yes side
Anas Sarwar MP and Shiraz Ahmed political
blogger for No
Nicloa Sturgeon and AamerAnwar for Yes.
Host for this event was Rev Ian Galloway
of Gorbals Parish Church.
Muslim Council of Scotland adds voice to
condemnation of "I.S."
04 Sept 2014
The Scottish Muslim community unequivocally condemns the
barbaric actions of IS (formerly known as ISIS).
We send our heartfelt sympathies to the families of those who
have been killed at the murderous hands of IS - regardless of where
they are from or what their religion.The actions of IS are against
the teachings of Islam and therefore supporting or joining such an
organisation is unacceptable.
We urge all our young people in particular not to travel to Iraq
or Syria to support or fight with IS. Their actions not only cause
serious harm in those countries but also cause harm to their
families here in Scotland and the wider Muslim community.
This Friday Imams across Scotland will be using their sermons to
reiterate our opposition to extremism in all its forms and urging
against travel to Syria or Iraq in support of IS.When acting
against extremism we urge Governments to react in accordance with
international and domestic law. We know that the illegal invasion
of Iraq was the greatest recruiting sergeant for extremist groups
and we must be careful not to give them further ammunition.
We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by IS and
pray for all of those killed, injured or harmed by extremism the
This message has been endorsed by:
Muslim Council of Scotland
Islamic Society of Britain
Glasgow Central Mosque
British Muslims and Jews Call for Peace, Wisdom
and Hope over Conflict in Israel and Palestine
28 August 2014
Amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the Muslim
Council of Britain and the Board of Deputies of British Jews
are issuing the following joint statement:
There is no doubt that Muslims and Jews have deeply held views
about the conflict in Israel and Palestine. We acknowledge that our
communities may disagree about the origins, current reasons and
solutions to end the conflict. But there are also points of
The death of every civilian is a tragedy, and every effort should
be taken to minimise such losses. The targeting of civilians is
completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions. We
pray for a speedy end to the current conflict and for a lasting
peace for all.
In spite of the situation in the Middle East, we must continue to
work hard for good community relations in the UK. We must not
import conflict. We must export peace instead.
Whilst everyone has the right to voice their political opinion, be
that in a rally or on social media, we must be mindful of how we
convey our protest. There can be no excuse for racism, violence, or
other forms of intimidation, when expressing views in the media, on
the streets, outside shops or online.
We condemn any expression of Islamophobia, Antisemitism or
any form of racism. We call for Muslim and Jewish communities to
redouble efforts to work together and get to know one
We need constructive dialogue to limit our disagreements and
identify the widest possible range of areas for cooperation. There
are more issues that unite us than divide us.
May the God of Abraham grant our World more peace, wisdom and
Not in our Name: British Muslims
Condemn the Barbarity of ISIS
20 August 2014
The Muslim Council of Britain once again condemned the actions
of the so called "Islamic State in Syria and the Levant", ISIS.
Today we express once again our rebuke of this reprehensible
organisation. We are horrified at the abhorrent murder of James
Foley, a reporter who initially went to the region to expose the
human rights abuses of the Syrian regime. ISIS has murdered this
man for no reason at all.
Each day ISIS seeks to carry out an act more barbarous than the
day before, craving the oxygen of publicity to give credibility to
their heinous acts. We condemn unreservedly their psychopathic
violence, whether it is on minorities, on civilians, or on fellow
The MCB expressed the British Muslim community's common censure
of the group as early as June, and called for joint action to
ensure the poison of extremism and sectarianism is not injected
into our communities.
ISIS does not speak for Islam, and has been repudiated by all
Muslims. Their message only appeals to those who are easily duped
by their twisted message purporting to be Islam. They seek to
glamorize their violence, and unfortunately, the media has a part
to play in adding to that glamour.
We urge the media in refraining from giving them any further
undue exposure beyond conventional reporting. And we urge Muslim
communities to re-double their efforts in coming together,
condemning the barbarity of ISIS and persuading those gullible
enough to take in their message that they are on a path to
MCS Eid Dinner concludes Ramadhan Open
Muslim Council of Scotland joined with Al Furqan Mosque Glasgow
to host an Eid celebration dinner, to conclude the Ramadhan Open
The dinner was attened by leaders of almost all political
parties including, Johann Lamont of Scottish Labour, Willie Rennie
of Scottish Lib Dems and Ruth Davidson of Scottish Conservatives,
alongside Humza Yusuf, Scottish Minsiter for Extrenal Affairs.
All of them spoke on contributions made by Scottish Muslims, as
well as the values of Ramadhan and celebration of Eid.
Also attending was Rt Rev John Chalmers Moderator of the Church
of Scotland and Maureen Seir of Interfaith Scotland, as well as
many senior figures from all the Armed Forces.
Prior to the dinner, Al Furqan mosque hosted the Celtic Cresent
Exhibition, which highlights the history of Muslims in
Glasgow & Fife Councils fly Palestinian
Muslims across Scotland have welcomed the decisions by both
Glasgow City Council and Fife Council to fly the Palestinian flag
in support of thoese injured as a result of Israeli attacks on
Gaza. MCS sent
letters to both councils supporting their decisions. The Dr
Javed Gill, Convener of MCS termed these acts as "highly symbolic"
and in keeping with the "historical support shown by the people of
Scotland to innocent people in all conflict zones.".
The Imams commitee representing mosques across Glasgow have
similarly recognised the support of their City Council, Imam Syed
Tufail Shah personally handed in their letter of
support to the Glasgow City Chambers.
MCS commends Scottish Gov message on
Israeli attacks on Gaza
Muslim Council of Scotland has commended the strong messages
sent by the Scottish Gov on the barbaric military onslaught meted
out by Israel on the people of Gaza. Israeli military attacks have
killed over 1800 people, including over 400 children while
injuring over 9,600.
MCS has also commended the brave and courageous decision by
Baroness Warsi to resign from the UK Government over its response
to the killings in Gaza.
In contrast the Scottish Gov has taken a bold stand condemning
"heavily disproportionate" attacks by Israel, which have
displaced an estimated 520,000 people. The Scottish Gov has also
called for an
arms embargo against Israel, as well as offered
medical assistance to help those most severely affected by the
In response to the large numbers injured in Gaza, the Muslim
Council of Britain has initiated a campaign requesting the UK Gov
assistance to the most severely injured children of Gaza.
MCS has also requested the Scottish Gov to support MCB's
campaign and provide similar assistance through NHS Scotland
hospitals, to the injured children of Gaza.
MCS calls for immediate ceasfire on
11 July 2014
Muslim Council of Scotland has supported calls for an immediate
end to violence in Palestine. Muslim groups across the UK have made
similar calls with Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim
Council of Britain saying: "We condemn all violence taking place in
Palestine right now, but it is quite clear that the Palestinian
people are bearing the brunt of the brutality."
Demonstrations in support of Palestinians in Gaza have attracted
hundreds onto the streets across the UK, including Glasgow,
Edinburgh and London.
Eid Greetings from Pontifical Council and
Eid greetings have been offered to Muslims in Scotland and
around the world by representatives of the Catholic church. The
letter containing the message for Muslims around the world on the
occassion of Eid ul Fitr was received from the Pontifical
Councilfor Interreligious Dialogue and an accompanying one
Conti who is president of the Bishops' Committee for
Scottish Gov hosts Memorial Reception for
11 July 2014
Muslim Council of Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government's
commemoration of the Srebrenica Memorial Day. Humza Yousaf,
the Minister for External Affairs and International Development
hosted a memorial reception at Bute House Edinburgh. Also speaking
was the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev John
Chalmers. The reception was attended by a number of
dignatories and guests including journalists, aid workers and
researchers involved with the International Court of Justice, as
well as a MCS representative.Two women who survived the Srebrenica
Genocide also spoke at the reception.
Muslim Council of Scotland Statement on
radical Syrian group video
Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) is dismayed to learn of a
Muslim person from Aberdeen appearing on video footage of a radical
extremist group in Syria.
MCS and the Muslim Community in Scotland has consistently
condemned all forms of extremism and terrorism, including such
groups operating in Syria or Iraq which seek to attract Britons to
join them. For this reason, MCS recently supported the statement
issued by Police Scotland discouraging individuals from travelling
to that region.
The fact that young people from across Britain feel the need to
travel to that region remains a particular concern. MCS is also
aware that the avenue of recruitment by such groups is not
undertaken geographically. Much of the activity which leads to
recruitment happens online, across all boundaries.
The deep underlying reasons that people may wish to forsake
their families here require serious consideration. In
particular the increasing sense of alienation created
by the current climate which has seen the rise of right wing
groups in the UK. That alienation can be further exacerbated by the
targeting of Muslim communities in some elements of the press of by
Muslim Council of Scotland reiterates that those travelling to
that region only create anguish for the families they leave behind
here. The best way for Scottish Muslims to provide assistance to
the people of Syria or Iraq is through supporting and donating to
recognised charities operating on the ground there to assist with
the humanitarian situation.
MCS Ramadhan Open Doors Tour Impresses MSPs
After attending the MCS Open Doors event in Glasgow, James
Dornan MSP was left impressed enough to table a Motion
congratulating the Muslim Council of Scotland (Motion
The Motion hails the inititive, which it states as "bringing
together members of local communities and different faiths". The
statement further highlights, "the important role that projects
such as this have in dispelling myths about other religions, and
welcomes the fact that people of all faiths and none are working
together to make Scotland a better place."
A number of MSPs have already supported the motion.
MCS Initiates Ramadhan Open Doors Tour across
Muslim Council of Scotland has started a Mosque Open Doors Tour
to coincide with Ramadhan and Eidul Fitr 2014. The tour will cover,
Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Fife as well as many surrounding areas.
The project has been developed by Vice-Convener Munir Choudry and
Shaukat Sultan of the MCS mosques Comittee.
The objective of the tours is to help facilitate better
engagment between mosques and their local communities. The tour has
been welcomed by many of the visitors including Councillors, MSPs
as well as local communities.
Click link for list of participating mosques.
Delegates from MCS Meet with Justice
Representatives from Muslim Council of Scotland met with Justice
Secretary Kenny Macaskill. The meeting was called in response to
the recent threats to mosques from right wing activists. Further
meetings are planned with police and related bodies to explore
methods to improve recording anti-Muslim hate crimes.
Muslim Council of Scotland condemns Mosque
Muslim Council of Scotland is shocked to learn of the brazen
actions of right wing group "Britain First", whose members entered
the premises of a number of mosques in Scotland.
Dubbing their visits as a "Christian Crusade" the notorious
group's member's intruded onto mosque premises and aggressively
demanded to speak to the imam of the mosque.
The nature and methods used by this group have seen similar
confrontations in other cities including London and Bradford.
The group's website and social media page has prominently displayed
these recent intrusions of Scotland's mosques with their image
emblazoned with "invaded", while describing them as "mega
MCS Reponse to Consultation
on Assisted Suicide (2014)
Muslim Council of Scotland has submitted written evidence to the
current Parliamentary Consultation on Assisted Suicide 2014. The
full article can be viewed at this link.
Police Scotland: Syrian Conflict, Safeguarding
Police Scotland have released a safeguarding message with
guidance in relation to the current Syrian conflict. MCS welcomes
this message and supports its guidlines on how best to provide
support to the humanitarian efforts for the people of
Link to statement.
MCS meeting with Orange Lodge
MCS Convener and Secretary held a meeting with representatives
of the Orange Lodge of Glasgow. The meeting was held in reply to an
invitation extended by the Orange Lodge who dubbed it "historical"
in that it was the first meeting of this level to held between them
and a Muslim body. The meeting was regarded as an opportunity to
develop better understanding of each other as well as to help
educate each others communities.
MCS Supports UK-wide Muslim demand for Apology
from Daily Mail
Muslim Council of Scotland has lent its support to a letter
drafted by the Muslim Council of Britain demanding an apology from
the Daily Mail on an hateful article by Richard Littlejohn called
"The Jolly Jihadi's Outing to Legoland". The letter has been also
signed by numerous British Muslim organisations and
The letter describes the article as deploying "the most hateful
stereotypes of Muslims to attack an individual." It also asks the
question; "Would you allow similar hateful stereotypes to be used
when writing about other faith or race communities?"
It also asserts that this campaign is not an effort to defend
the target of the article Mr Haitham al-Haddad. "He is
perfectly capable of responding to the accusations put to him if
minded to do so. Many of us may well disagree with the views
attributed to him. Rather, we are speaking out at the insidious and
hateful tropes Mr Littlejohn uses for his argument."
The full letter is on the MCB website
MCS Responds to Scottish Parliament Public
Muslim Council of Scotland has responded to the Scottish
Parliament Public Petition on Religious Representatives on
Local Authority Education Committees. The response can be viewed
MCS Convener signs Book of Condolence
Convener of MCS Dr Javed Gill, today visited the Glasgow City
Chambers to sign the Book of Condolence and leave a message to the
victims of the Clutha helicopter crash. Speaking after the occasion
Dr Gill said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected
by this tragedy and we stand together at this time of loss and
Muslim Council of Scotland Christmas
Monday 23rd Dec 2013
Do they know it's Christmas time?
Yes of course we do, even though we're Muslims and don't
generally celebrate Christmas. However, who can escape the
unmistakable excitement and festive atmosphere created by
Christmas. For Christians everywhere, it's a time to celebrate the
birth of Jesus, who is also regarded an important Prophet of God
for Muslims, which perhaps explains the increasing demand for Halal
Scotland has a tremendously rich Christian heritage for which
Muslims have much to be proud of, reminding us of the great
Christian King Negus of Abyssinia, who gave protection, to the
early Muslim community in the 7th Century, who had escaped
persecution in Makkah.
So at this time of peace and goodwill, as we remember the
commonalities between Christianity and Islam, Muslim Council of
Scotland sends its best wishes to all people celebrating; may you
have a safe and joyous time with your families and loved ones.
MCS Meeting with Church of Scotland
Muslim Council of Scotland held a very productive meeting with
the Church of Scotland at their offices in George St Edinburgh. The
meeting included the Moderator of the Church of Scotland Rt Rev
Lorna Hood and Dr Javed Gill convener of MCS with other members
This was the second meeting between the two religious bodies,
and was called in the aftermath of the tragic bombing of the All
Saints Church in Peshawar. Todays meeting addressed the violence in
Pakistan and sought to explore ways to tackle issues
there, particularly those stemming from the misuse of
Blasphemy laws and continuing threat of terrorism.
The meeting also focused on building closer relations between
both faith communities in Scotland through continuing dialogue and
greater interfaith activities. It was agreed to meet again in the
future to continue this positive dialogue.
Church of Scotland press release on meeting.
Muslim Council of Britain Responds to
Extremism Task Force Proposals
The Muslim Council of Britain today expressed the concern
felt in many British Muslim communities following the Government's
proposals for countering extremism in the wake of the tragic murder
of Drummer Lee Rigby in May this year. This act was condemned
forcefully and unreservedly by British Muslims.
In introducing the proposals, the Prime Minister is
reported to have said: "there are just too many people who have
been radicalised in Islamic centres, who have been in contact with
extremist preachers, who have accessed radicalising information on
the internet and haven't been sufficiently challenged". This
narrative will only add fuel to an already charged Islamophobic
In spite of the odd references to other forms of
extremism, the proposals and the words of the PM clearly single out
Muslim communities and institutions, with an unsubstantiated
assertion that extremists are radicalised at Islamic
centres. Many are concerned that these proposals
continue to view British Muslims through the prism of security,
rather than as fully fledged members of British society.
This weekend, the Muslim Council of Britain's scheduled
National Council meeting will discuss these proposals. And the MCB
will invite the Government to present its case to the community. We
do hope they will accept the invitation.
In the meantime, the Secretary General of the Muslim
Council of Britain issued the following interim
"We agree that those who call for the murder of innocent
civilians, as we saw in Woolwich earlier this year, and in other
atrocities around the world, are indeed presenting a distorted
interpretation of Islam. That is the red line that the vast
majority in our community would have no problem in
We are concerned, however, as to who will be the judge of
what a 'distorted interpretation of Islam' really is. At
what point does opposition to a war based on one's faith or values
becomes an act or ideology of extremism? There are still muddled
notions of what extremism really is.
Over the years, vested interest groups have campaigned
against speakers who may be conservative, or whose words were
ill-advised, but they are certainly not supporters or promoters of
terrorism. Many in our community are concerned that the
Government's proposals have been influenced by these questionable
While exceptional events linked to Islam and Muslims as
problems draw enormous attention and forcible and concerted action,
little is done and even less willed to be done to combat
Islamophobia, of word or deed, to tackle social exclusion, or to
actively promote civic inclusion.
Moreover, the idea of the state or police arbitrating
theological 'distortion' is especially worrying. We are
a diverse Muslim community, it would be inadvisable for the
government to promote state-sponsored sectarianism.
Following the tragic murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in May,
the Muslim community was united in its condemnation and disgust at
this action. They were joined by fellow Britons who stood firm in
solidarity with each other. As I noted in a speech in June: "We
look at Woolwich and are struck by the ways that ordinary people
responded to this shocking event in extraordinary ways. The lessons
from Woolwich lie less in acknowledgement of impending existential
threats to our way of life, than in the demonstration of the
resilience of our society.
No amount of investment in counter-terrorism alone will
prevent another attack, but investment in the strengthening of the
resilience and capacity of our communities across the whole of our
society - through the promotion of civic engagement, social
cohesion, capacity building, voice, dignity and stake-holding,
through the strengthening of our democracy and through democratic
practice and social justice will go a long way towards making the
values we all defend a reality for all. Investing in the resilience
and capacity of our communities is the surest guarantee that we can
stand up for who we are and what we believe in; that we can
articulate our grievances without being accused of disloyalty and
face up to those who seek to undermine our contribution to this
MCS Statement on New Influenza Vaccine
Muslim Council of Scotland was approached by the Scottish Gov
after concerns were raised that a new flu vaccine FLUENZ contained
Porcine (Pork) Gelatine, and provided its input for guidance
With MCS's enquiry it was learned that health boards had been
following an information document issued by the World Health
Organisation (WHO). This document included input from Islamic
Scholars who had granted the use of Gelatine in vaccines based on;
a) necessity, b) the lack of alternative medication c) the
transformation process during manufacture.
MCS found serious issues with the WHO document, these
a) The current vaccination is not a necessity as it is purely a
preventative measure and not a treatment.
b) There is an alternative vaccine available to this new one, in
the form of the current main vaccination which is administered via
injection and which does not contain Gelatine.
c) There is considerable doubt whether the Porcine Gelatine
undergoes a "transformation", therefore it remains impermissible
for Muslims (Haraam).
As a result of these findings, "MCS has decided that the
advice from the WHO is not valid for the purposes of this new
vaccine and therefore has advised against its use for Muslims."
MCS has consequently advised the Scottish Gov that Muslim
parents must be provided with the option of opting for the main
vaccination which does not contain Gelatine; it has also requested
that this be made easily available within the existing pilot
scheme, so that Muslim parents are not forced to obtain it from GP
Imams in Glasgow have also confirmed that they have reached a
similar opinion and have advised that Fluenz is not acceptable for
MCS is continuing discussions with the Scottish Gov on this
matter to ensure other vaccinations do not impact on Muslims, as
well as ensuring manufacturers are urged to produce vaccines
acceptable by Muslims.
The initial distribution of this vaccine in Glasgow is a pilot
scheme; MCS will therefore continue to monitor its distribution
Scotland-wide, so that Muslim parents across Scotland receive the
correct advice and options.
MCS Written and Oral Evidence to SG SSM
MCS has submitted its response to the current Marriage and Civil
Partnership (Scotland) Bill Stage 1.
The response can be downloaded from this link; MCS SSM
Muslims Council of Scotland also provided oral evidence to to
the Parliamentary Committee:
22. Dr Salah Beltagui (Muslim Council of Scotland) added that
marriage was ?not just for the procreation of children? but
also for the growing up of the children in the family.Drawing
a link with society as a whole, he said-
"There are also the wider relationships of kinship within the
family and extended family. If we lose that, we lose a lot of
the cohesion of society."
23. He also felt that allowing same-sex couples to marry would
take away the delineation of family roles-
"In our tradition, there are things-they are also mentioned in
the bill-such as certain relations not being allowed to marry
because they are so close in kinship. If we start changing the
definition of marriage from what we know and what we know
about who is coming from which line and who is not, there will
be confusion and we will not know exactly where we stop and where
128. Various groups raised concerns about the Bill's approach to
protecting faith groups' right to decide whether to celebrate
same-sex marriage. Dr Salah Beltagui (Muslim Council of
Scotland), for example, said-
"We collected evidence about the protections that the bill
offers from many sources, all of which suggest that the
protections might not be sustainable when a case is taken
further, for example to a higher court such as the European
Court of Human Rights."
Download the full
Eid Message from the First Minister
The First Minister Alex Salmond has issued a special message for
the Muslim community on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr.
"The holy month of Ramadan encourages Muslims to reflect on
the hungry and poor across the globe and the struggles that they
face. It is a time of giving and helping those striving to make
ends meet, something to which everyone should aspire. Eid-al-Fitr
marks the end of Ramadan and is a time for worship, thanksgiving
and celebration with family and friends.
"Today I send heartfelt Eid greetings to all our Muslim
neighbours and friends on this special day of celebration, on
behalf of the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland.
"As you give to the poor, meet for prayer and celebrate the
end of Ramadan together, I wish you all Eid Mubarak."
First Minister meets with MCS on Hate Crimes
Muslim Council of Scotland held a highly productive meeting with
the First Minister Alex Salmond on Friday 14th June at Bute
House, in which he delivered a briefing on the newly released
figures on Hate Crimes in Scotland. The figures pointed to a
dramatic increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes from 19 the previous
year to 80 in 2012/13.
The First Minister also listened to feedback from MCS on the new
report and noted a number of the concerns and suggestions fielded
MCS Statement on attacks on holy sites in
Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) is acutely aware of the recent
attacks on the holy shrines of Sayyedah Zainab, and respected
companions [Sahabahs] of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and is deeply
shocked by these deplorable acts.
Declaring its dismay regarding these actions, MCS wishes to make
the following statement:
- Islam is a religion of peace and safety that stimulates
love and harmony in society. According to Islamic teachings,
only such a person can be called a Muslim at whose hands the lives
and properties of all Muslims and non-Muslims remain safe and
- It is not only a duty, but a mark of veneration to protect
the sacred places of resting of our great personalities. May God
Almighty protect the blessed graves of Sayyedina Khâlid bin
Waleed (RA) and Sayyedah Zainab (RA); granddaughter of the Holy
Prophet (SAW), and other Companions. MCS therefore strongly
condemns these horrendous acts on these holy sites of Islam, as
also condemned by all Islamic Schools of thought. We also remind
the Muslim community of the need for unity and solidarity,
particularly as these attacks are capable of creating sectarian
tensions within the Muslim community. Scottish Muslims stand united
against these insidious acts and demand that such acts are not
Statement of Solidarity from Scottish Jewish
The Scottish Jewish Community has condemned the recent upsurge
of Islamophobic attacks against Muslims across UK: "The Jewish
Community of Scotland is deeply concerned by the increasing number
of hate crimes against Muslims since the appalling murder of
Drummer Rigby in Woolwich."
The statement also added; "We therefore stand with the
Muslim community in condemning unreservedly the irrational hatred
that holds entire communities responsible for the crimes of a a
tiny number of extremists." Dr Javed Gill, Convener of MCS
thanked the Scottish Jewish Community for their support,
reiterating that only by standing together in appreciation of our
diversity, can we defeat the hatred that seeks to divide us. The
full statement can viewed athttp://www.scojec.org/news/2013/13vii_solidarity.html.
MCS Condemns the Woolwich
Muslim Council of Scotland has condemned in the strongest terms,
the brutal and horrific murder in Woolwich of Lee Rigby, a soldier
serving with the Britiah Army. The fact that he was killed by two
individuals claiming to act in the name of Islam makes this attack
particularly heinious, this horrendous crime serves no religion or
MCS is particularly grateful that all Muslim organisations
across the UK have been swift to denounce this murder.
MCS is also aware of the efforts of right wing extremist groups
who seek to exploit this tragedy for their own hateful purposes.
MCS will continue to engage with authorities and other faith
communities to ensure the safety of all communities is
Edinburgh Mosques join to condemn Woolwich
The mosques of Edinburgh joined together to voice their
condemnation of the brutal murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. The
meeting hosted at Annandale St mosque on Wed 29th May,was supported
by Muslim Council of Scotland. Special guests included The Lord
Provost and Kenny Macaskill MSP, as well as Police representatives
and council officials.
MCS Meeting with Justice Secretary Kenny
Muslim Council of Scotland, held a productive meeting with the
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MSP on Thursday 21st Nov. The
meeting was called in response to the hurt felt within the Muslim
community at the recent anti-Muslim Youtube movie.
MCS Love The Prophet Demo at George Square
Glasgow: Saturday 29th Sept 2012
MCS Engagement on S.G. Same Sex Marriage
MCS Board members and representatives of the community held a
meeting with the Alex Neil MSP the Cabinet Secretary for
Health and Well-being, on the topic of the current Same Sex
Marriage Bill. The meeting explored the various issues within the
Bill of concern to Scottish Muslims.
MCS has been engaging heavily with the Muslim community to
ensure a greater awarenss about the Bill and its impact, as well as
to encourage a wider response to the consultation from the Muslim
community. A number of meetings have been held to achieve this:
A special general meeting was convened by MCS on Sunday 24th
February at Madrassa Taleem ul Islam, around 60 people attended
from Mosques and organisations across Scotland, with input from
attendees; MCS produced a briefing document datailing the current
Bill. to discuss the current Scottish Government Bill on Same
Scottish Gov Discusses with MCS on current Meat
The on-going Horsemeat scandal has been a concern for everyone
including Muslims, particularly with the recent discovery of pork
in products designated as halal for institutions.
MCS is pleased to learn that the Scottish Government has also
expressed its concerns at these revelations, which prompted it to
contact MCS to reiterate its commitment to food safety and
compliance as well as listening to their concerns.
In a conversation with Richard Lockwood, MSP the Minister for
Rural Affairs, Dr Salah Beltagui of MCS provided the following
suggestions to the Scottish Gov:
- The importance of creating a climate of on-going random
monitoring including spot checks to ensure food, complies with the
- These should especially be implemented at point of manufacture
as well as place of consumption, including schools, hospitals
- The possible creation of a specifically Scottish body for
monitoring Halal meat for consumption in Scotland or export which
MCS would be willing to engage on a wider discussion. This will be
part of the planned Scottish Food Standard/ Safety agency.
- The importance of protecting the reputation of the Scottish
meat brand especially for export markets in Muslim countries.
MCS will continue to monitor developments in this current
scandal while liaising with the relevant bodies including the
Scottish Gov, to ensure Muslims can avoid any distressing
situations affecting halal meat in Scotland.
If people have any concerns then let us know to pass it on to
MCS responds to Gov Consultations
relating to Halal Slaughter
These Consultations are to do with the new EU Regulations
for animal slaughter 1099/2009 which will come into effect on 2013.
Separately to the Scottish Gov and UK Gov.Special attention
is given in the responses to issues which deal with Halal
These responses were made on cooperation with Dr Shuja Shafi,
Deputy General Secretary of MCB.
Scottish Gov Consultation Response
UK Gov Consultation Response
MCS Submits Response to Defend
In response to the present Government Consultation on Same
Sex Marriage, Muslim Council of Scotland has submitted its response
outlining its position on the redifinition of marriage.
The response can be viewed
Muslim Council of Britain launches
Campaign Website to Defend Marriage
London, 24 May 2012: The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the
umbrella body representing Britain's Muslims, has today launched a
campaign to defend marriage, in particular by opposing the
government's proposals to change the legal definition of
The new website, Muslims Defending Marriage will be the
campaign's main tool. The website features an online petition,
briefings and useful links.
MCS Community Event: Central Mosque Glasgow
Friday 22nd June
Opening new doors to access the Scottish Muslim community.
information and Event Pictures
MCS AGM 2012
MCS held a successfull AGM on Sunday 11th March, attracting
delegates from around 28 mosques and Muslim organisations across
The program included a review of the work delivered by MCS over
the previous term. Feedback was also taken from attendees, with
questions answered by the Convenor. The Guest speaker for the event
was Dr Zahid Pervez who is the President of UKIM.
MCS Work Report
Read the MCS
Report covering the work delivered over the last 2 years.
MCS Response to Assisted Suicide
MCS has submitted a response to the current Parliamentary
Consultation on Assisted Suicide.
Click to Download.
MCS Event; Consultation on Scottish Gov Civil
15 October 2011
Muslim Council of Scotland have released a full response to the
Consultation Paper. This includes an anlysis of of the issues
raised by it and responses to all questions in the paper, including
MCS held a series of consultation events on the Scottish
Government proposed Bill on Civil Partnerships at Madrassa Talim ul
Islam. The event was well attended with representatives from almost
all mosques in and around Glasgow.
For the benefit of those unable to attend the meeting, a sample
response sheet has been produced including the answers provided by
the majority of attendees at the event. Click for
This should only be used as a guide to completing the actual
full document, which you can download from
The completed document can be submitted to the Scottish Gov by
post or emailed to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for responses is 9th Dec 2011.
MCB Responds to Channel 4 Dispatches
Documentary: One Incident of Child-Abuse is One Incident Too
The Muslim Council of Britain regards it as a priority that the
professionalism and regard for the health and safety of children
that characterises mainstream schooling should operate without fail
in Islamic educational settings. We have asked Channel 4's
Commissioning Editor of Documentaries, Mr. Hamish Mykura, to ask if
Dispatches has reported the abuse recorded in this programme to
Bradford Social Services and we have yet to receive a reply.
More generally, the Muslim Council of Britain has been active in
ensuring that madrasah and mosque-based education is universally
subject to regular Ofsted inspections and Criminal Records Bureau
checks and we have the full support of our affiliate organisations
in this matter.
The Muslim Council of Britain does not believe that the abuse of
children in madrasah and mosque-based education is a widespread
phenomenon in Britain and we believe that the vast majority of
British mosques hold the health and safety of children to be of
utmost importance, following true Islamic teaching and British
However, as far as we are concerned, one incident of child-abuse
is one incident too many. Our community must work together to root
out any such behaviour in our precious institutions.
The Muslim Council of Britain also condemns without reservation
any bigotry towards members of other faiths that may exist within
the Muslim community, especially if this is promulgated in
educational settings. The MCB, along with the vast majority of
British Muslims, consider freedom of conscience in religion without
fear of harassment or ridicule to be a fundamental Islamic value
and a universal human right.
In the case of an institution referred to in this Dispatches
programme, we have been assured by the institution itself that it
has taken decisive and effective action with regards to removing
from any educational duty individuals involved in the preaching of
bigoted, un-Islamic attitudes.
Shared National Identity Should Not Be Seen
Through the Lens of Security - MCB Responds to Prime Minister's
05 February 2011
The Muslim Council of Britain gives the following response to
the Prime Minister's speech on security and multiculturalism,
delivered today at the Munich Security Conference.
Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain
The Prime Minister gave an important speech today that affects all
of us, including British Muslims. There are many things that we
agree and we commend, such as the need to ensure we do speak out
against Islamophobia, and the need to foster a cohesive national
identity based on the values of democracy and equality of all
The Prime Minister today took aim at multiculturalism through the
lens of security, when in fact we need a discussion on our shared
values that includes all of us, not just Muslims. The Big Society
should be about how we can work together to solve our common
challenges; not to further isolate, sideline and demonise
The Prime Minister chose to deliver his speech on a day when the
extremists of the English Defence League will be marching on Luton
to sow discord amongst our communities. We find it very
disappointing that at a time when we should seek to stand together
to fight violence and extremism, Mr Cameron omits any reference to
this extremist group spreading hate and bigotry against British
Muslims in towns and cities up and down this country. Such a
flagrant omission by the Prime Minister adds fuel to fire for such
extremists to further stigmatise and alienate entire communities
based on their religion or ethnicity. We already see poisonous
anti-Muslim narrative emanating from some MP's, echoing the
discourse created in parts of our media.
We welcome Mr Cameron's resolve for institutions, including Muslim
organisations, to subscribe to universal human rights. There is no
British Muslim organisation that is in receipt of government
funding and does not subscribe to universal human rights. The
British Muslim community has stood firm against the scourge of
extremism and will continue to do so.
The MCB itself, though not in receipt of government funding, has
consistently spoken in favour of British values that acknowledge
universal human rights and pluralism. It has spoken in favour of a
stronger and successful British nation.
Furthermore, Muslim organisations have time and again demonstrated
their commitment to the common good. We have been asked to pass the
litmus test and prove our loyalty to this country. It is important
that our discourse acknowledges that British Muslims are very much
part of this country.
New Year Message from the MCB Secretary
31st December 2010
The New Year is a momentous occasion for all of us. It is a time
for reflection and provides an ideal opportunity to renew our
faith, our hopes and our commitments. I wish everyone a happy,
peaceful and fulfilling 2011. I pray that this turning of page
helps all of us to discover and realise the potential within us to
achieve and contribute to the wellbeing of our families, our
societies and our world.
The British Muslim community can look ahead at the coming year
positively and confidently. The New Year Honours List 2011 alone
highlights the distinguished contributions made by a number of
British Muslims to our country. Those honoured include the Armed
Forces' highest-ranking Muslim, Rear Admiral Amjad Hussain who
becomes a Companion of the Order of the Bath. We extend our warmest
congratulations to all those named. They are great ambassadors for
our country and illustrate the enormous contributions British
Muslims make to our country, in all walks of life, day in day out.
Their achievements provide an excellent foundation for us to build
on for 2011.
Despite the community's massive contribution to British society,
we still face the scourge of Islamophobia and the rising
anti-Muslim hate crimes, often fuelled by ignorance, prejudice and
irresponsible association of the heinous crime of terrorism with
our community and faith, sometimes directly and at others subtly
and indirectly. We must counter this by playing a greater role in
engaging with wider society. MCB is committed to working together
with all our partners in the civil society, particularly the faith
The extensive contribution of our mosques, charities and
numerous community institutions is a testimony to the Muslim
community's commitment to the values of compassion, justice and
service. I hope that as our institutions plan for the New Year they
also think anew to deal with the new challenges.
Happy New Year!
Click the link below for New Year Honours List 2011: http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_193438.pdf
23rd November 2010
Launches 'Celebrating Faith' Brochure
As part of the National
Interfaith week 2010 celebration, The Muslim Council of Britain's
inter faith relations committee will be holding a seminar on Inter
faith dialogue and engagement on Wednesday
November at the House of Lords in Westminster. Young
representatives from MCB affiliates, as well as some faith leaders
will speak on inter faith work from their religious perspective.
Professor Tariq Ramadan will give the keynote speech on "Prophet
Muhammad's (pbuh) Role in Inter faith Relations".
The MCB has played
a proactive role in the development of inter faith work in various
fields including healthcare chaplaincy since 1997 and has organised
many events to work towards increasing inter faith understanding
and co-operation. The Secretary General of MCB, Farooq Murad,
states,"At the MCB, we value
faith, all faiths, because faith provides the essential moorings to
avoid drifting meaninglessly in the dark sea of doubt and
disbelief. This is precisely why from its very inception the MCB
has attached enormous importance to inter faith work."
To commemorate the
event, the MCB is also launching a special publication under the
title, 'Celebrating Faith', which highlights the MCB's continuous
work towards developing inter faith relations and also includes
narratives of MCB affiliates about their contribution towards inter
faith activities. Dr Manazir Ahsan, the chair of the inter faith
relations committee says, "Along
with a mutual tolerance and respect, efforts have to be made to
deepen our inter faith, and intra faith work in order to increase
understanding between our faiths and to strengthen our co-operation
in pursuit of social justice, human dignity and the common good of
Tuesday 23 November 2010
MCB Statement on Panorama Story - "British Schools,
In relation to the BBC Panorama programme on Muslim schools, the
Muslim Council of Britain issued the following statement: "The vast
majority of Muslim schools in this country offer a much-needed
service to British Muslims. Many full-time Muslim schools have
achieved impressive results in educational league tables, and
part-time schools inspire young Muslims to contribute to the common
"The Muslim Council of Britain is heartened that the majority of
Muslim schools work towards established standards, striving to
promote an agenda that recognises Britain's cherished pluralism. We
hope that those few schools that fall short of such objectives, if
indeed they do, redouble their efforts for the benefit of their own
Commenting on the programme itself, the Muslim Council of Britain
said: "The programme's incendiary title and commentary from the
programme's presenter has already contributed to the mood-music
that Muslims are somehow separate, foreign and un-British.
Responsible reporting would examine faith schools in its
John Ware had complete disregard for the value of Ofsted
inspection, a nationally recognised body governing schools, and
chose to seek something of a minority to cause contention. The
programme did not represent a fair documentation as it failed to
inform of the Muslim schools that have conveyed successful
achievements and pass rates and was inept to fully highlight the
findings from rigorous Ofsted inspection