Muslim Council of Scotland Muslim Council of Scotland
An accord of Muslim associations, mosques and institutions in Scotland

Scottish Muslims in Numbers Report

29/11/2016

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

20/09/2016

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.

MCS Statement

09/08/2016

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 this.

Muslim Council of Scotland Condemnation of Attack in Nice

15/07/2016

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 indiscriminate manner.

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 last night.

MCS Condolence Message

28/07/2016

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 so many."

"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 for Islam

04/06/2016

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 earth.'

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

25/03/2016

Press Release

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 manner.

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 violence.

Police Scotland have issued a community message relating to the murder of Asad Shah.

Muslim Council of Scotland holds Seminar to tackle Extremism

Seminar

02/03/2016

MCS hosted a special seminar of countering extremism which was addressed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson MSP.

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 centre.

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 challenging extremism.

Further information

Scottish Mosques join in Second National 'Visit My Mosque' Day

31/01/2016

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 communities.

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 February.

Read more

Burial And Cremation Bill Scotland

06/11/2015
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

18/01/2016

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 to securitisation.

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 point.

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 only.

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 Muslims.

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

17/11/2015

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

14/11/2015
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 communities.

MCS Mourns Loss of Life in Mina at Hajj

24/09/2015
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

04/09/2015

Refugees

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 Quay Edinburgh.

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 crisis.

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 welcome.

 

Police Scotland send Condolences for Hajj Deaths

25/09/2015

Police Scotland has offered its condolences to Scottish Muslims on the deaths resulting from a stampede in Mina during the Hajj pilgrimage.

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 wishes

18/06/2015

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 the world.


"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."

https://firstminister.gov.scot/first-ministers-ramadan-message/

MCS Condemns Islamophobic grafitti on Glasgow Gurdwara

13/04/2015
Muslim Council of Scotland is deeply concerned to learn of the nasty anti-Muslim graffiti left on the Singh Sabha Central Gurdwara Glasgow.

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 (Scotland)

Bill rejected by MSPs by 82 to 36 votes.

 

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 difficulty.

 

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 life.

 

Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia would be unethical, unnecessary, dangerous and contrary to the common good.

 

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 parties

06/05/2015

Muslims like the rest of the country are primarily concerned by the same issues, including NHS, Economy and Immigration.

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.

Labour

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 and shechita

7. Work with schools to teach equality and respecting each other's differences

8, Overhaul the PREVENT strategy and involve communities in countering extremism

9. Work with the police to improve ethnic minority recruitment

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 rights abroad

 

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 state.

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 meat.

5. Hate crime has no place in Scotland and will not be tolerated.

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 non-political basis.

8. We will support calls to establish a Race Committee to advise the work of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


Liberal Democrats

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 system

4. Prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion in the provision of public service

5. Committed to Royal Charter on press regulation

6. Ensure counter terrorism efforts do not stigmatise or alienate Muslim community

7. Support two-state solution to Israeli/Palestinian conflict

 

Conservatives

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 conflict

(Source: Mend website, MCS research)

 

Justice Secretary stands with Muslims on Anti-Muslim demos

11/03/2015

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 such material.

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

14/03/2015

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 Scotland.
Mazhar Khan spokesperson from the Muslim Council of Scotland said:
"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 said:

"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 hesitation."
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 good sense.


"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 example.

"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 procedures

12/03/2015

Muslim Council of Scotland held a meeting at Madrassa Taleem ul Islam, Glasgow on the changes in death certification.
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 possible
Guest attended from almost all Muslim organizations, with participation by Imams and Mosque committees
Question and answer opportunity was provided so several guests asked questions
Representatives assured Muslim community to adjust procedures as much as possible for the comfort and facilitation of the community

School Homework refers to Palestinians as "Terrorists"

05/03/2015

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

31/01/2015

Muslim Council of Scotland held a joint seminar with Police Scotland to raise awareness of Radicalism and Extremism from online activity.

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 portrayed online."

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 Scotland.

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 Imams.

"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 local mosque".

Justice Secretary writes letter to Muslim Council of Scotland

16/01/2015

In the aftermath of the Paris atrocity, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson MSP has written to the Muslim Council of Scotland.

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 others alike."

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

08/01/2015

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: Peace.'

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, welcoming of all." http://www.mcb.org.uk/paris-murders-jan-08-15/

MCS Statement on Glasgow Bin Lorry Crash

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 Glasgow.

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 crime

16/12/2014

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 shock.

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 Haines

18/10/2014

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.

Further reading.

MCS Independence Referendum advice

11/08/2014

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 accordingly.

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

14/09/2014

Scotland's Muslim communities from across the country have united to unequivocally condemn the barbaric murder of David Haines.

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 Haines.

"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 commented:

"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 peaceful religion."

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 Sept

09/08/2014

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

These included:

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 world over.

 

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 agreement.
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 another.
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 hope.

 

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 Muslims.

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 futility.

MCS Eid Dinner concludes Ramadhan Open Doors Project

17/08/2014

Muslim Council of Scotland joined with Al Furqan Mosque Glasgow to host an Eid celebration dinner, to conclude the Ramadhan Open Doors Tour.

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 Scotland.

 

Glasgow & Fife Councils fly Palestinian flag

08/08/2014

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

07/08/2014

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 the  "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 violence.

In response to the large numbers injured in Gaza, the Muslim Council of Britain has initiated a campaign requesting the UK Gov to provide  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 Gaza

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 Archbishop Conti

27/07/2014

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 from Archbishop Conti who is president of the Bishops' Committee for Interreligious Dialogue.

 

Scottish Gov hosts Memorial Reception for Srebrenica Genocide

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

4/06/2014

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 some politicians.

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

10/07/2014

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 S4M-10465).

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 Scotland

18/06/2014

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 Secretary

29/05/2014

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 intrusions

12/05/2014

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 mosques"

MCS Reponse to Consultation on Assisted Suicide (2014)

03/06/2014

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 Message

24/04/2014

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 Syria.   Link to statement.

MCS meeting with Orange Lodge

29/04/2014

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

24/02/2014

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 individuals.

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  here.

MCS Responds to Scottish Parliament Public Petition

13/03/2014

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 on this link.

MCS Convener signs Book of Condolence

04/12/2013

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 pain".

Muslim Council of Scotland Christmas Greetings

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 Turkey!

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 Moderator

03/12/2014

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 accompanying him.

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.

http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news_and_events/news/2013/moderator_

Muslim Council of Britain Responds to Extremism Task Force Proposals

5th December 2013

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 atmosphere.

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 statement:

"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 endorsing.

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 elements.

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 society."

MCS Statement on New Influenza Vaccine

05/10/2013

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 purposes.

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 included;;

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 surgeries.

Imams in Glasgow have also confirmed that they have reached a similar opinion and have advised that Fluenz is not acceptable for Muslim use.

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 Bill

22/08/2013

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 Response

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 we start."

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 document.

 

Eid Message from the First Minister

08/08/2013

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 Report

14/06/2013

FM small

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 by MCS.

MCS Statement on attacks on holy sites in Syria

29/07/2013

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 unhurt.
-  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 repeated.

Statement of Solidarity from Scottish Jewish Community

19/07/2013

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 Attack

23/05/2013

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 cause.

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 maintained.

Edinburgh Mosques join to condemn Woolwich Murder

30/05/2013

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 MacAskill

21/11/2012

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

Demo4

MCS Engagement on S.G. Same Sex Marriage Bill

28/02/2013

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 Sex Marriages.

Scottish Gov Discusses with MCS on current Meat Scandal

19/02/2013

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:

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 SG.

MCS responds to Gov Consultations relating to Halal Slaughter

24/10/2012

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 slaughter.
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 Marriage

14/06/2012

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 here.

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 marriage.

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.

More 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 central Scotland.

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 Consultation

MCS has submitted a response to the current Parliamentary Consultation on Assisted Suicide. Click to Download.

 


MCS Event; Consultation on Scottish Gov Civil Partnerships Bill

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 comments. Download Statement.

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 Document.

This should only be used as a guide to completing the actual full document, which you can download from this link.

The completed document can be submitted to the Scottish Gov by post or emailed to this address: sandra.jack@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

The closing date for responses is 9th Dec 2011.

CP1 CP2 CP3

 

MCB Responds to Channel 4 Dispatches Documentary: One Incident of Child-Abuse is One Incident Too Many

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 law.

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.

END

 

Shared National Identity Should Not Be Seen Through the Lens of Security - MCB Responds to Prime Minister's Munich Speech

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 said:

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 before law.

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 particular communities.

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.

End

 

New Year Message from the MCB Secretary General

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 communities.

 

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

MCB 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 24th 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 all citizens."

Download Brochure

 

 


 

Tuesday 23 November 2010

MCB Statement on Panorama Story - "British Schools, Islamic Rules"

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 good.

"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 children".

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 totality."

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

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 to securitisation.

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 point.

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 only.

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 Muslims.

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, Scottish Charity Reg; SC041819