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Term Report 2011 – 2013

faith at home Islamic Society of Britain 26 York Street London W1U 6PZ 0300 365 10 9 8 info@isb.org.uk






Islamic Society of Britain

Contents Message from the President. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Report from the Executive Director Report from the General Secretary About us

Areas of work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Connecting Communities and Islam Awareness Youth and Campus Education and Training Communications Schools

Consultations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Women in Leadership

Campaigns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Messages to Malala C.A.A.S.E M.A.D. for Peace Woolwich Response Charity Begins at Home

Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Website and Social Media Schools Website and Assemblies E-Circle Feeding the Homeless IIScotland

Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Student Leadership Training Islam Awareness Week Knowledge Seekers Living Islam Expert Seminars: Wills and Inheritance Legacy 2012 Aim High, The Young Muslims UK Winter Residential Enough Food IF Rally Ramadan Festival 2012

Branches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Glasgow Leicester London West Luton Manchester Sheffield Treasurer’s Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 The Presidential Term 2011 – 2013

Message from the President Dilwar Hussain In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

“And thus we made you a community of the middle path, that you may show this to people…” (Qur’an, 2: 143) In this report, as well as the presentations at the AMM, you will see the details of the considerable amount of work that our members have been involved in over the last two years. At the start of this term we developed some key priorities (and we had set ourselves 15 targets, most of which have been achieved): We wanted to put our members at the heart of our thinking and planning as an organisation so one of the first things I did personally was to visit all the branches and meet as many people as possible face to face and listen to our membership. We wanted to focus our message and give it clarity and confidence so that it stands out within the huge market place of Ideas that the Islamic scene has now become. So we homed in on the idea of a ‘British Islam’, a middle path (that is a clear challenge to the extremes), where men and women can work together, in partnership, with equal respect and opportunities. An Islam that we live in the context of this country. We confidently advocated our message, knowing full well that while some would not like it, it is far worse to run an organisation that is not clear about its purpose and its unique selling point. Importantly, we wanted to give focus and attention to two areas that have long been identified as our priorities – Islam awareness and youth work. So, we initiated a new way of thinking about Islam awareness activities, and began projects that would work on two separate fronts to nurture young people. We knew full well that we were at a very modest starting point, but wanted to strengthen the organisation in order to build its presence and develop a network and array of partnerships around it. So we set about increasing membership, streamlining finances, paying off debts from savings, reforming the legal status and constitution of the organisation, and sorting out many 1

other mundane aspects of running an organisation. We put considerable time into developing and nurturing relationships with partners, old and new. While we are far from where we would like to be, the last two years – and more specifically, the last two months – have shown what we can do and the potentially significant role we can play in this country. We knew of the (thus far untapped) potential for reaching people via the Internet and social media. We embraced that and used it to boost our communications considerably, as you will see in this report. Where we felt that we did not have the answers to hand within the Shura, the policy-making forum, we initiated consultations. In all, three were carried out as you will see from this report. From Living Islam to Islam Awareness Week, from feeding the homeless to being in touch with over 20,000 schools, from youth activities to appearing on Newsnight and mainstream media, from our website to a reach of over 200,000 people with our tweets about Woolwich – we have had a major impact, punching well above our weight, and have firmly established our presence. Having said all this, of course we could have done more and we faced a number of serious challenges, including lack of manpower, shortage of funds and an inability to support our branches adequately. Whatever good has been achieved, we are thankful to God and I humbly seek His forgiveness for the mistakes, of which there were many. Overall, the ISB today stands in a much stronger position to embrace its tasks and to meet head on the challenges that it faces, but the recent gains are fragile and need to be consolidated. It has been an eventful two years and as much as this role has been a challenge to me personally as well as to our family – all of whom I must thank, for giving me the flexibility to do this, especially Rabiha – it has also been an honour to serve this organisation. May God bless each and every one of our members and allow us to be a force for good for our country. Islamic Society of Britain

Report From The Executive Director Julie Siddiqi This term report marks the first full term of office since the appointment of an Executive Director, a post I feel privileged to serve. The report shows where we have made strides in executing the office, work and outreach aspects of the Islamic Society of Britain, in line with its aims and policy direction. When we look back to the start of the term, we were still grappling with bread and butter areas like the old website, a need for social media outreach, and discussions about the legal structure of the Society, all of which already had a series of discussions that had seemingly become blocked ‘in the pipework’, and required some focussed attention in order to achieve delivery. Then there were Shura Council discussions about rekindling some of the campaigning spirit for the purpose of addressing matters that directly impacted on our core aims, all of which stem from and seek to enhance our being Muslim intertwined with our being British. Alongside, the deliberations about worrying ‘attitudes’ in campuses and how the Society could have a positive impact needed something concrete to emerge. We identified the importance of building real person-to-person understanding and alliances from a range of faith based, civil and campaigning organisations than had previously not been possible without the dedication of a senior official with ‘daytime’ hours and focus. Our work over the term has tried to address these areas and sought to deliver in several ways, some of which are structural and others that are more visible. It has been a busy period of activity, but as always, the blessing of working with so many

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wonderful people, most of whom who beaver away without spotlight or celebration, is incredibly humbling and uplifting. Whenever I have visited branches I have been greeted by warmth and a desire that the Islamic Society of Britain “works”, and, alongside Dilwar, I have also been able to listen to “what’s wrong with us”. Finance has been a real challenge for us, at a time of rising running costs against a backdrop of family budgets being tightened. Everything is impacted from the cost of printing ink and postage right across to the cost of large venues. Some households have had to reduce their monthly commitments, which is very understandable, and this impacts on our main income source. We brought in a few measures in combination to address finance, some of which reduced overheads and affiliation fees, benefitted from tax benefits, and raised funds. These achievements do not capture everything we do and make happen, nor can this report. It can only but hope to convey what our members do, take part in, and are a part of. And yet, I realise there are shortcomings all round. In what I, project leaders and department heads have been able to make happen. We were limited by financial resources, by constraints on volunteer time and, in truth, by some fire fighting too. Some national events like Weekend for Women did not materialise, and in localities some core local activities dwindled or even ground to a halt. Branches in Slough, Liverpool and East London have closed over the last 5-6 years. Ideas for the further development of internet and information resources were pended, as were ideas of welcome and support packages for new members.



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And so here, by God’s grace, are some of our key achievements: ■■ The 20th anniversary of Islam Awareness Week and the videos of the accompanying theme ‘The Things We Have In Common’ that twinned real life stories together in a way we have not produced before.

■■ Closing the costly office in East London and the opening a more fluid service from a new Central London address, with significant savings.

■■ A full-on Scottish Islam week that saw a week jam packed with events.

■■ A live online e-learning service that plugs straight into the busy family home and allows users to get involved in an interactive way.

■■ One of the best - and youngest - Young Muslim UK residential camps we have had for some time, with Team GB hockey player Darren Cheeseman leading prayers with his beautiful recitation – a positive role model!

■■ Our Ramadan ‘Charity Begins At Home’ campaign to stimulate change in the way Britain’s Muslims weighs priorities in apportioning the generosity we display during the month of mercy.

■■ A series of faith inspired leadership training aimed specifically at university students, a return to the arena after something like a decade.

■■ The Picture of Peace competition for schools yielding over 1000 heart wrenching entries, including an especially composed song.

■■ The website received a complete overhaul in terms of design and functionality. It has ‘personality’ – its positive, volunteer focused and bright. It also serves as an information hub for the general public and a useful resource for teachers, and is able to celebrate locality projects within and outside branch areas with equal ease.

■■ The first national fundraising event that built on the London 2012 Olympics. It was held at a prestigious Olympic venue and profiled our work to a new audience, and raised a modest amount.

■■ Our social media outreach has improved greatly from 2011 with timely facebook messaging across 11, 142 “likes” (at the last count), nearly 4,000 followers on Twitter, a visual data bank of 1,500 photos and a YouTube channel with talks relaying our messages, with 53,000 views. ■■ Launch of Islam in schools website, link sent to over 23,000 schools in the UK ■■ Our services feeding the homeless in key branches that partner with local volunteering efforts to provide food where it is desperately needed. ■■ The most vibrant Living Islam festival to date that sealed its reputation as the high bar for national Muslim family events and played host to the international campaign ‘M.A.D. for Peace’.

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■■ Delivering the transfer to a charitable status of the Society and, through, it the channelling of member donations through a fund management system that benefits from a tax reimbursement. ■■ The Ramadan Festival that capitalised on the breathtaking spirit of the London Olympics and forged relations with an established European campaign to give it a new lease of life in Britain. ■■ The largest, and quite possibly one of the most important national campaigns the Society has initiated, that sought to look ahead and bring to the table a coherent and frank middle-ground response, amid headline national conversations on the sexual exploitation of teenagers. ■■ A significant, timely and effective contribution, alongside other Muslim organisations, in reacting to the Woolwich murder.


Report From The General Secretary

About Us

Somia SHafiQ The closure of the offices in East London and the establishment of a leaner office: 26 York Street, London has helped reduce costs considerably and allowed a greater pool of administrative support that is not tied to volunteers from a single branch. I am grateful for all the local support in physically moving stock from the office. During the term the office was ably managed by Shakil Ahmed, and I remain indebted to his dedication and extra help in enabling the office to provide its backroom support.

The Islamic Society of Britain is a not for profit community based organisation. Established in 1990, we were one of the first organisations that sought to evolve a uniquely British flavour to Islam. In order for this to happen we felt that Muslims would have to think seriously about understanding their faith in a British context.

Following, the change to a charitable status, the transfer from standing orders to payments by direct debit occupied much of our focus following relocation. Work on marrying multiple membership databases with payment records continued during this process and we are much clearer in this area than we have been before. To date we have managed to move about a quarter of our members to the new improved system, and continue to contact our remaining paying members to move them to the new system.

To promote greater understanding and awareness of Islam

Following feedback and consultation with our (volunteer) members, many of whom lead busy working-family lives, we introduced more online and teleconference meetings than before – roughly half of all business meetings were conducted in this way. Central planning and Shura Council meetings were all kept to within a single day. Other support functions we have continued to provide include the administration and booking of facilities for meetings (including the annual members meetings), the dissemination of minutes from meetings, storing promotional materials, central mailing, being a point of contact for the public, and assisting the Executive Director, Treasurer and President in their duties.


Our aims are: To organise, educate and enhance the development of British Muslim communities To encourage positive contribution to British society and the promotion of social justice We are one of the largest national networks of British Muslim volunteers, successfully harnessing the broad skills base of our members, who hail from a variety of backgrounds – ‘stay at home’ mums and dads as well as doctors, lawyers, teachers… Through our programme of activities, the Society helps individuals to think about their faith and contextualise this to the reality of modern society. Our activities range from small local programmes to large national events that cater for thousands. The Islamic Society of Britain has played an important and positive part in how British Muslims think about their faith. Some of our innovative activities often broke new ground, emboldening and empowering many others to create projects of their own. The Islamic Society of Britain views Islam as a religion of peace and a continuation of age-old teachings from God to humanity. Not as a new religion, but as a way of life that has a strong focus – in spiritual terms on the worship of one God, and in social terms on justice and equity between people. Membership of the Society not only provides people with an opportunity to contribute towards our aims, it also offers an invaluable space for one to socialise, enjoy, think and learn. Islamic Society of Britain

Connecting Communities And Islam Awareness Outreach to others has always been a significant part of the work of the Islamic Society of Britain. Connecting Communities is a new stream of work that seeks to enable this type of engagement with a view to building positive and fruitful relationships that help the public to understand Muslims, in all their diversity. This will often include facilitating and highlighting opportunities for Muslims (especially members) to be active, engaged, useful citizens and to work on social and political issues and platforms at both the local and national level. At various meetings of ISB from strategy meetings to members’ weekends there was a sense that we will benefit from a better and stronger engagement with all people, this could be based on commonalities such as faith, children, the environment etc or it could be based upon a shared sense of humanity. It is with this in mind that the department has created an action pack that will give you ideas, inspiration and much more on what you may be able to do or take part in locally. This action pack identifies a series of themes within which several examples of projects are detailed. The pack is currently in development stage; it will be ready later this year. The department instigated a campaign during Ramadan to raise awareness of and money for British charities. Four charities were selected and a campaign was launched to raise awareness of their work and to raise funds from across the British Muslim community. This online campaign included a range of activities from creating a Facebook space, an online donations page and writing short pieces about the charities’ work to share with people through an online database. We focused on one charity for each week of Ramadan and through this method we were able to not only shine a light on the individual campaign but were also able to reflect widely the importance of caring for others and giving charity in Ramadan (see the section Charity Begins At Home).

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Youth And Campus Youth work has always been an important area of work for ISB. Our youth are our future (and our present) and investing time and resources into them will inevitably become the lifeblood for us as an organisation. Unfortunately over the years, for a number of different reasons, the energy and level of activity in this area had declined. So in 2011 we made a conscious decision to re-ignite the enthusiasm and vigour that once was the Young Muslims UK, by introducing some informal parallel programmes for members own children at our Members Weekends. We deliberately confined the age group to 12 – 16 year olds (in the past YMers were often 18+…with a number of 30yr olds!). We gave the young people the opportunity to have some space to meet with others of similar age, to discuss and debate topics similar to those being discussed in the main ISB programme, time to focus on their spiritual development, some hands on ‘careers sessions’ with ISB members – thereby enhancing the ‘family’ feel of our organisation, art and craft and sports sessions, and more! We also started work on establishing a presence on campus for an older age group. This was seen to be vital to bringing in dynamic members and new leadership for the future of the organisation. Both of these areas of work were developed through one of the consultation exercises through which ideas and programmes were developed. In 2012, we were able to organise our first YM residential in Markfield in over 5 years (the Heroes camp was held in 2007). We were aiming for a smallish programme of under 50 young people, but over 65 wanted to attend, and we didn’t have the heart to turn them away. We now have a budding group of young people raring to go! We also ran 3 leadership training events for students through 2011 and 2012 and are hoping that these programmes will help us establish a group that can be active at university level. But we also recognise that there is still a long way to go in developing our work with both age groups. 6


Islamic Society of Britain

Education And Training For the last two years, we have been working towards: 1) Enhancing the education of members to create a balanced, open, reflective, contextualised, yet confident, Islamic environment for learning. 2) Simplifying the syllabus and devising systems that can operate in the absence of local circles where necessary. 3) Encouraging self-directed learning and, where possible, specialisms with a view to channelling knowledge back into the Society’s skill base. 4) Creating supportive educational resources and materials: E-learning and distance learning; Courses on knowledge and skills; Internal lectures and seminars; members’ weekends, reading schemes to widen horizons. There has been a mix of successes and hurdles. The department has been meeting on a regular basis to ensure steady progress and address any issues: Study Circle Appraisal - We conducted a survey involving all the branches to check the status of study circles and found that

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branches are undertaking it to varying degrees, albeit on an adhoc basis, with some branches more active than others. Quite a few circles which had been running for many years have either closed or refocused on newer or younger intake. E-Learning - We began by researching various web technologies and continuously looking at various options on how to deliver a circle online. In the end we went with one particular technology and with considerable work, very consistently ran an e-circle programme twice every month for one whole year. There has mixed feelings regarding the venture and we are reviewing it to see how we want to proceed. ISB Syllabus - We are in the process of revising the ISB syllabus, making the material simpler to access and having it in smaller chunks so that it can be more flexible to a range of different circle formats. E-Resources - This is pending; the idea being that once the syllabus changes have been revised, we would collate the e-resources required to support the various sections of the syllabus.


Communications The Communications department works to advise the President and Shura Council on communication issues, particularly on external messaging and the potential for misinterpretation. In this respect, it provides a support service that aims to raise awareness across the organisation of the need to consider all form of messaging so that they more faithfully reflects the Society’s ethos and aims. The department also looks for training opportunities to enhance skills in marketing or engagement; it responds to identified national issues where it is felt the Society’s voice can have an impact on the national conversation; it handles media requests, including coverage of the Living Islam Festival; and, it oversees the use of various social media platforms. At the term’s start a series of focussed training sessions were planned, with external media experts, that did not materialise due to budgetary constraints and lack of manpower. Selected individuals however did attend a couple of shorts courses by industry experts on the effective use of social media technology, at no extra cost to the ISB. The department recognises that more can and does need to be done in this area but has struggled with the limited resources we currently have. The Executive Director has been able to bring out regular newsletters that have helped to enhance internal communications amongst the membership. National topical incidents and programmes that stir debate about the presence of Islam and Muslims can be fast and furious in a world led by social media technology. The Society’s policy directive is not to be seen as just a reactionary ‘issuer’ of statements, but to encourage members to be citizens who actively engage with and contribute to issues that impassion them.


As the medium of public engagement moves more towards social media, most messages in the ISB’s name were disseminated using this medium and not through a formal statement. However, 10 statement and press releases were issued during the term on the subjects of: ■■ The ISB elections (Jun 2011) ■■ Rough sleeping (Jul 2011) ■■ The tenth anniversary of 9/11 (Sep 2011) ■■ Poppy burning (Nov 2011) ■■ Eid Message (Aug 2012) ■■ The conflict in Gaza (Nov 2012) ■■ Islam Awareness Week (Mar 2013) ■■ St Georges Day (Apr 2013) ■■ The launch of CAASE (May 2013) ■■ The Woolwich murder (May 2013) The launch of CAASE, or the Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, saw the largest national campaign programme for the ISB, which yielded a great deal of mainstream coverage. The Society’s position on the Woolwich murder also put the Society in the dutiful position of playing its part in moderating the debates around Islam and violence amid a highly charged national mood. The statement was one of the most widely circulated in the country on the horrific event. Both events were still ‘in full swing’ at the time of this report, and we are humbled to be making a positive impact in important ways. For more details, see the section on Website and Social Media.

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Schools Schools work started a number of years ago in a various ISB localities, where ISB members would make themselves available to go into schools and give presentations on Islam to primary and secondary school children. This area of work remains important for the ISB, not only to dispel myths and stereotypes about Islam, but also to enable teachers and students to get to meet and understand Muslims first hand. ISB members have helped out with school exhibitions on Islam, become members of SACREs (Standing Advisory Council for RE), organised Islam activity days and helped to arrange mosque visits for schools. Most of this has usually been done on a very localised basis. The aim of the schools department was to centralise some of the core work needed by schools, and enable branches to then utilise the resources put together by the national team. This included presentations, assemblies, lesson plans on Islam, as well as competitions for schools and the Islam in Schools website.

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Consultations There have been a number of areas where focused discussion and the opportunity for wide consultation was required in order to give people the chance to input on the Shura’s deliberations. In these cases meetings were called, members were invited to submit comments and suggestions and in one case a brief survey was also conducted. All of these findings were them presented to the Shura so that a more informed discussion could take place and the decision making process was enriched. 3 consultations on the themes of: ■■ Youth work ■■ Branch activities ■■ Women in leadership We were also hoping to conduct a consultation on how we can support families and integrate family life more seriously into the organisation, but this was not possible due to lack of time. The results of the youth work consultation led to the launch of our YM and campus activities. The result of the Branch consultation is yet to be implemented, though decisions have been made. And a summary of the results of the latest consultation to reach the Shura council are presented below, as an example.



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Women In Leadership Moving on from previous work in the area, this internal analysis looked beyond ‘engagement’ to women in leadership within the Society. Surveys were conducted online and at a members weekend resulting in 61 responses (from male and female members with approximately equal respondents). A focus group was also conducted to generate discussion around the subject. The project sought to explore: ■■ Barriers that prevent women from progressing to leadership positions ■■ What such barriers are - structural, physical or attitudinal, and ■■ What needed to be done to allow progression A comparison was made of the situation over a ten-year period to monitor change. While there has clearly been some improvement in this time, no single category showed women reaching 50%, falling short of a quarter at a Shura Council level. Positive change across all categories was incidental or organic, and not really aided by a policy shift within. The survey identified the risk of volunteer members becoming disheartened if there is seen to be a bias against women in the organisation and that underrepresentation remains an internal challenge for the ISB.

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Female Membership in ISB Position


2012 Change

Members Core Members Shura Branch Presidents Executive Committee

41% 46% +5% 30% 42% +12% 19% 22% +3% 10% 22% +12% 33% 38% +5%

The main areas identified as hurdles for women were family/ domestic constraints, unhelpful attitudes (not necessarily within the Society itself), challenges with childcare, a lack of support from husbands, long travel and the duration of meetings. In terms of what could be done, the report identified leadership training, raising the profile of role-models, challenging prejudicial attitudes, education of members, structural changes at the Shura level, and more help with childcare to be among the key recommendations. The recommendations have been accepted by the Shura and the report is being reviewed with a view to releasing a final version soon.



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Messages To Malala The shooting of a 14 year old girl, Malala, on her way home from school in Pakistan by the Taliban was an event that, all of a sudden, brought into sharp focus the challenges that Islam faces around the world. Her shooting was carried out in ‘Islam’s name’, and when she was brought to the UK, she brought with her much media attention surrounding, and public anxiety about, Islam and what it teaches. The hospital was also inundated with media requests and messages of support at a time when her life was in a critical state. ISB members were in a position to volunteer much needed support to hospital staff, and we were asked to be a point of contact between the hospital’s communication department and local communities. The Islamic Society of Britain worked with partners Hope Not Hate to stand against the twin forms of hatred that were present: the hatred of Malala’s would-be assassins, and the hatred against local Muslims that was being orchestrated across internet forums. A dedicated website was set up (messagestomalala.wordpress. com) allowing people to leave their messages of support alongside other forums using social media, including a YouTube video (‘Malala Yousafzai - You are HOPE’) airing our stand. Over 5,000 messages were received and the messages were compiled into a book.

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (2012) “…It is all the more shocking that she was deliberately targeted because she bravely spoke out on her love of learning and on the right of all children, girls and boys, to education. Our prayers are with Malala, her family and community, as we all await the outcome of her treatment and pray that she will make a full recovery. We stand in solidarity with communities in Pakistan and around the world as we all express our horror at this terrible act of violence on a young girl and demonstrate our commitment to overcome acts of hatred with love and justice. We also stand with Malala in dedicating ourselves to delivering education for every child and in overcoming discrimination against girls in every part of the world. We must commit, by 2015, to achieving quality education for all, including the 61 million children now out of school around the world.”

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C.A.A.S.E. Enough is enough, zero tolerance for all abuse Faith leaders must speak out against this criminal act More respect for women/girls We must listen to survivors with compassion Abuse is not a single-community issue & should not be used to promote hatred Led by the Islamic Society of Britain alongside Hope not Hate, the campaign ‘Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation’ (CAASE) aims to meet head-on the communal challenges raised by child sexual exploitation of vulnerable young girls and women. This campaign comes in the shadow of a series of terrible court cases that have become headline news, or are about to be over the course of the next year or more, that could involve hundreds of perpetrators of Asian / Muslim background. CAASE believes that local and national grassroots and faith organisations are often best-placed to reach out into the communities most beset by this problem. Working across child protection services, with local authorities, schools, faith communities and the police, CAASE will develop a proactive response to the growing problem of on-street grooming, raising awareness, educating and developing community-led responses. 100+ people attended the national launch in Bradford, an area of the country identified by police as witnessing or going to witness over 100 arrests within the broader region. The Bishop of Bradford, the Chief Executive Officer of Victim Support, the Chief Superintendant of the Police, a mother of a victim, and the Executive Director of the Society spoke about bringing civic groups together to bring the issues out into more open discussion and the need to help steer the national conversation down an ‘intelligent middle’. The issues themselves, complex and layered, stirred strong emotions and have long been exploited by far-right groups across the region. The emergent cases carried every potential for serious harm to social relations in the area.


The campaign attracted widespread national coverage – interviews by over 30 broadcasters and newspapers – timed to coincide with and impact upon the national conversations about the organised crime of sexual exploitation in towns and cities. Three days after the launch, the verdicts in the Oxford trial were given thus making CAASE an integral part of discussions and interviews in the days that followed. We are confident that the launch of CAASE at this time helped steer the debate and discussion in a more positive way – more positive than at the end of any other trial to date including Rochdale, Oldham and Derby. The campaign will work on 5 areas. 1. Raise awareness of child sexual exploitation through education and campaigning across all communities. It will encourage reporting and promote services to help vulnerable young people. 2 Produce training kits and background factsheets on the issue for faith and community leaders, so they can speak out with knowledge and confidence. It will produce myth-busting material to counter extremist groups who might attempt to exploit the issue in order to divide communities and stir up hatred. 3 Develop a cross-community response, recognising that the victims and perpetrators of child sexual exploitation come from all backgrounds. An effective response requires communities to work together, whilst doing more to raise awareness of this issue within their networks. 4 Promote local CAASE groups in areas where on-street grooming is currently a problem. These groups will be encouraged to raise awareness, report incidents and promote the work of child protection agencies. They will help underline a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to child sexual exploitation and develop young leaders to take the campaign into their communities. 5 Create a space for dialogue and open discussion between and within local communities, to help break down misconceptions, address real issues of concern and develop more effective crosscommunity responses. Islamic Society of Britain

M.A.D. For Peace The Islamic Society of Britain lent its support to the creative campaign Make A Difference (M.A.D.) For Peace by launching the concept of a Mad Nest at the Living Islam festival to media outlets. The campaign is the brainchild of Dr Gill Hicks, who tragically lost both of her legs in the London 7th July terrorist attack. A brave and dazzling example of the power of human fortitude, spirit and courage, Dr Gill Hicks spoke about her work at the Living Islam festival. “We have such incredible ability and power to make choices, to make a positive difference and to leave the world better off than when we entered – to create our own personal legacy.” Gill Hicks MBE, FRSA The campaign asserts that building empathy is a key component to creating lasting and meaningful peace, because we do not live in isolation - wherever we are, whatever we do, we interact with and depend on other people. Gill describes herself as a survivor and not a victim. She is grateful to be alive and appreciative of every day that she has been given, for she knows just how close she came to losing her life. Determined to make her life count, she has devoted herself to doing all she can and to encourage others to do all they can to bring about positive change.

Gill Hicks commented “It is wonderful to have this opportunity to be involved with ISB, Living Islam. At M.A.D. we believe that peace starts with ‘you’ – from within the very heart of ‘you’. . Launching our M.A.D.Nest initiative at Living Islam strengthens the mutual belief of both ISB and M.A.D., that the work of one person can make a significant difference, but the combined work of many people is very powerful and can create lasting positive change, a model for sustainable peace. We stand unified and with one voice – communicating the urgency and importance of co creating a society in which we can all live in confidence, with empathy and respect.”

Madnests connect individuals together in a local, national and global network. Real people who believe that real peace is achievable through choice and our individual responsibility in building a life in which we can all life with confidence. To promote the initiative and launch it to a British Muslim audience, members of The Young Muslims UK built a ‘giant nest’ and invited media journalists to the event.

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Woolwich Response The horrific and grotesque scene in Woolwich, where a soldier was hacked to death as two individuals shouted “Allahu Akbar” and displayed their actions to the world’s media had all the potential to do serious damage to social relations in the country. It was the first successful act of terror since the bombings of 7th July 2005, and it was the first murder of a serving soldier on British soil. The Islamic Society of Britain played a determined and decisive role in working with civil society groups and faith communities to ensure that the voice of mainstream civil society could drown out the voices of hate and separatism, from both Muslim and far-right extremists. The ISB’s statement was the most circulated of all our releases. The Executive Director made appearances on mainstream media television and newspapers, to relay the thoughts of Britain’s Muslims in relation to the family’s loss, and to make a calm and dignified stand and express utter repulsion and rejection of any justification for the murder. Over 60 television, newspaper and radio interviews have been given by the Society.

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This work has also included supporting the local mosque in Woolwich and the Bishop of Woolwich to resist any effort to utilise the horrific event for political purposes by the far right with a unified show of strength and commitment to community peace. We received a great many messages of support and gratitude from members of the public for enabling a clear message to be seen, for example:

“I don’t normally take the time to respond to religious organisations but I just wanted to say thank you for your brief statement you released today about the Woowich incident.… Please continue to illuminate that Islam does not equal extremist, that being British does mean you can follow the faith that you choose….I am not a Muslim, I am not a Christian. I am a Brit who is proud of your statement.” “Thank you for the statement you put out regarding the atrocity at Woolwich. You spoke for our Country and made us proud to be British”


Charity Begins At Home O believers, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may be conscientious.

Qur’an 2:183

What do homelessness, vulnerable children, cancer and a lack of opportunity have in common? the campaign publicity asked. Experiences we wouldn’t wish on anyone, yet unfortunate facts of life. The ISB has been promoting the importance of spending our charity on causes in Britain for some time. To this end the Society ran a campaign to raise money in Ramadan (2012) for four UK charities: ■■ The Big Issue ■■ The Children’s Society

Website And Social Media We spent considerable time and resources to create a new website that could be quickly and easily updated by nonspecialists and that would be user friendly and easy to access. Launched in November 2011, the website was very positively received by members and non-members alike and has steadily attracted a growing number of hits. Plans were discussed for a revamp, but we have not been able to do anything on that front due to lack of resources. We have also spent a significant amount of time tracking and consolidating the various different sites that we own across the organisation – 10 different websites in total – and arranging for backups and updating sites and their administration where possible. We now have a comprehensive social media profile and monitoring our tweets during the Woolwich discussions we found that our tweets had been re-tweeted over 250 times and had reached over 200,000 people.

■■ Macmillan Cancer ■■ The Prince’s Trust The chosen charitable causes have given tirelessly to help and support people at their most difficult stages of life, and the work of each charity was promoted to thousands of households during Ramadan. In doing so, the Society’s fundraising campaign was also helping to create a shift in the mindset of the big Muslim charities and their generous donors, to make UK recipients a greater focus of charitable efforts.


Media Year 2013 2012 2011 isb.org.uk monthly unique hits 78,887* 1,618 1,000 Flickr images 1,550 1,000 0 Twitter following 3,874 2,000 200 Facebook likes 11,329 10,000 300 YouTube views 53,000 140,000 0 * The normal average website hits are still under 2,000 per month, but the very high spike represents the hit rate for May 2013, following the CAASE campaign and the Woolwich coverage.

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Schools Website And Assemblies On Wednesday 20th June 2012 the formal launch of ISB’s Islam in Schools website www.islaminschools.com took place. A letter informing head teachers and RE co-ordinators about the website was sent to over 23,000 schools in the UK. The site includes the first in the series of ‘Meet a Muslim’ - a short video of a day in the life of a law student. Also an animation called Sara’s Eid, an art gallery of children’s work, games, movie clips, ‘make and do’ ideas, vocabulary list, the ‘Virtual Classroom’, assemblies, power points, lesson plans and much more! The site aims to dispel myths and stereotypes about Islam that are all too easy to find on the internet, and make it easier for teachers to access useful and reliable information that can enhance their teaching of the subject in the classroom. Several radio interviews were conducted, where ISB members explained the resource and how it is beneficial to schools, teachers and pupils. The National Association of SACREs (NASACRE) newsletter also contained a 2 page review of the schools website. People downloaded resources from all over the UK. Some of the comments received about the website since the launch:

“I’ve just received the email about the launch of your website and I just wanted to say thank you. There are so few good online sites about Islam for teachers/students about so this is a valuable resource and looks great.” “I really enjoyed looking through the website which I think is excellent! I looked at all the downloads as well. I think this will be a really helpful site for our schools and will promote it in our schools.”

The Schools team has continued to upload presentations and assemblies to the website. The team also helped during both Islam awareness Weeks, providing branches with a ready-made classroom presentation/assembly on the themes. We recently received this email about one of the presentations delivered by our members:

“Your talk was even better than I had anticipated and the feedback from the teachers who were supervising and the students has been so positive. I think they finally realise that there are so many links between Christianity and Islam and that they should in fact question what they see in the media with regards all religions. I was very impressed with your knowledge of Christianity as was my Head of Department. I am so glad I had the pleasure of hearing your talk as this will help me in all future lessons on Islam for many years to come.” In September 2012 we launched the ISB Islam in School’s competition on ‘Peace’, in support of ‘The UN International Day of Peace’. Competition details were sent to over 23,000 schools in the UK. Young people aged between 7-16 years were invited to submit a poem or piece of artwork expressing what peace means to them. Our judges were: ■■ Luqman Ali - Director, Khayaal Theatre Company ■■ Abid Hussain - Arts Council England ■■ Nafe Anam - Creative Director, A&C Communications Agency ■■ Catriona Robertson - London Borough Faiths Network ■■ Saba Zaman - Freelance Journalist See page 45 for a selection of entries.

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Islamic Society of Britain

E-Circle The ISB introduced a new pilot service during this term. We have been listening intently to members and families who have expressed concerns about their own Islamic learning, and that of their family. Many found the time constraints of working, school demands and home life very challenging. The Society’s Education and Training department invested time and effort to bring a learning experience (an “e-circle”) online. Aimed at busy households, the e-circle is presented live fortnightly at 9pm and allows couples or families to benefit from our speakers. Viewers can simply watch or ask questions and take part in online discussion. Some of the sessions are now available on the ISB’s YouTube channel /BritIslam with more clips to be available in the next term. With the pilot over, we are reviewed the learning and seeing where we can make improvements to the service.

Feeding The Homeless Our volunteers have been more active in local initiatives to provide food for the homeless and needy than ever before. With biting economic difficulties impacting more citizens, the need felt across branches to make a positive difference has brought in more volunteers and seen more joint projects with other faith groups and local initiatives. ■■ In Leicester a Saturday Stop-By run in partnership with St James the Greater Church provides food to 50 people on a weekly basis. ■■ In Glasgow food is provided for 40 to 60 homeless people every week. ■■ In Manchester, our branch arranges for freshly cooked food to be delivered to 50 needy people every month, in collaboration with the charity Human Appeal. Plans are underway to use the venue of the homeless charity Lifeshare as a soup kitchen to be able to continue serving in all weather conditions. ■■ In Slough and Windsor, members volunteer time on Christmas day serving food and providing vital life support to the local homeless and to a regular group of elderly people who would otherwise be spending that special time alone. Further food services are provided during the month of Ramadan in numerous localities where local Muslims break their fasts and share a meal with the local homeless.

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Student Leadership Training

Islam Information Scotland (iiScotland) is Scotland’s only training and resource provider on Islam and Muslims. It was set up the Islamic Society of Britain’s Glasgow Branch in collaboration with other local organisations and a local mosque. iiScotland aims to promote a greater awareness of Islam as a way of life and create a better understanding of Muslims as a vibrant community at the heart of Scottish life.

Aimed squarely at university students, these events marked the first dedicated programme we have organised for students in over ten years. And they was eagerly received. The theme, ‘Your Country Needs You’, saw three weekend events that built on the need for maturing minds to consider, with a sense of seriousness and some urgency, the relevance of Quranic guidance and scholarly endeavours in how we can live to benefit the people of this country.

■■ It operates across Scotland and is run by volunteers. During the term, it continued to provide services including:

Part one took place in the autumn of 2011, followed by part two in the spring of 2012 and the final part three in the late summer of 2012. The weekends met with capacity crowds of 60 to 80, limited by the residential facilities on site. Students came together from across universities to a mix of workshops, talks, panel discussion and music. Young people got to see, debate and question the important role they play as citizens in every aspect of society. Discussion groups were vibrant as young people discussed issues and concerns in smaller groups that were not segregated by gender (unlike their experience of many university Islamic societies). A Facebook group generated further interest and conversation and the majority of attendees in the subsequent weekends were those who attended the first.

■■ Training courses designed specifically for those who come into contact with Muslims and seek to understand their culture and way of life. ■■ Exhibitions and poster sets that have been very effectively used by mosques, community groups and student’s societies. ■■ Schools presentations that provide materials for the teaching of religious education in schools and the delivery of school assemblies. ■■ Overseeing Scottish Islam Awareness Week across the country.

To aid the discussions further, a special booklet was produced with articles by some of the leading authorities in Islamic scholarship on the area of the social contract, citizenship, democracy and gender relations. Attendees received a copy at no extra cost. The weekends included ‘Apprentice’ style competitions where groups had to design a campaign; positive mental attitude training; discussions on the media’s relationship with faith; an analysis of misrepresented teachings on gender relations; and exploring theory and practice of the relationship between strong faith and social relations. Feedback from one participant summed up the feelings of many:

“Alhumdulillah one of the most inspiring events that I have EVER attended! Video clips of the events can be found on our YouTube channel. We now face the task of taking this training to the next step of organising manpower on campus. This is proving to be difficult, but we will persevere and try our best to make this work. 23

Islamic Society of Britain

Islam Awareness Week National Islam Awareness Week (IAW) reached its 20th anniversary in 2013. And 20 years on, we believe its work is needed more than ever before. That is, if the alarming level in antiMuslim sentiment impacting community relations across Europe is anything to go by. What was initiated in 1994 by the ISB as a positive social project to raise awareness has persevered seeing creative ideas and themes each year, bringing together laughter and a sense of community-togetherness in many towns but also shedding light on prejudices that do exist within Britain – prejudices that challenge our very British sense of fairness. Over the 20 years, IAW has seen hundreds of events in towns and cities across the UK, bringing many people together. It has received support from politicians and celebrities with the bulk of the work carried out by volunteers who organise dinners, coffee mornings, lectures, concerts, mosque open days, tree planting, inter faith events, community volunteering and film shows – to name a few. These volunteers, who comes from different faith backgrounds, are the back bone of IAW. The excellent work done by them was acknowledged in 2005 when IAW received an award for Excellence in community relations at the Muslim News Awards. The main idea of IAW is to promote social cohesion rather than dwelling on differences. Previous launches have taken place in the Houses of Parliament and major cultural venues such as the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Royal Geographic Society in London. A theme has been chosen which highlights an issue of common concern across communities.

Theme for 2012: Love The theme for 2012 was the ultimate muse – that complex mystery of the universe, the superglue that holds us all together, that crazy little thing that makes us human...Love.

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Love is one of the most central attributes of God in Islam. Love is the basis of our relationship with God and it is the basis of our relationship with our fellow human beings. The launch of IAW was partnered with the Christian-Muslim Forum and took place in a trendy restaurant in London. Speakers at the launch included Julian Bond, Director of the ChristianMuslim Forum and Esmond Rosen of the Jewish Volunteering Network. Elsewhere around the country, many local events large and small, dinners, school assemblies and exhibitions took place for the duration of the national Weeks

Theme for 2013: The Things We Have In Common The Things We Have In Common sought to continue to convey one of the core messages of IAW: Britain’s Muslims inherently share an essential commonality with their fellow citizens along all of life’s streams, and in all that we value and hold dear. It was a theme celebrated through the lived experience of life – life’s objects, moments and memories. Everyday objects and human life experiences were shared when two real people came together to discuss a certain something they had in common. People who may be chalk and cheese when measured by some of society’s usual instruments, and who may live many miles apart, but who ‘came together’ as they discussed their love of, experience of or even phobia of… a thing in life. In each case we paired one person who was Muslim with one who was not. Nurjahan & Joel discussed their lived experience of homelessness and Helen & Hilary spoke about living with cancer for example. The stories were celebrated on the internet (www.iaw.org.uk/ thingsincommon) where 3 short videos were produced featuring the shared experiences.



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Knowledgeseekers Ramadan Retreat With our popular 10 day summer residential course falling within Ramadan in 2011, we were able to offer a special Ramadan Retreat during the period of the last 10 days. The Quran Comprehensive course explored the language, meaning and application of the Qur’an in our lives. The Islamic Studies Foundation course provided a balance between the traditional subjects of fiqh, tafsir and sirah and looking at contemporary issues of Islam and modernity and Islam in the UK. The courses offered a unique experience and were fully subscribed, attracting male and female learners.

Winter Retreat Held at the end of 2011, this offered Qur’anic Arabic at four levels. 36 adults attended a residential course allowing for generous teacher/student ratio; feedback was very positive and many were eager to come to further courses. We were unable to repeat the course in the winter of 2012 however, because of insufficient volunteers.

‘Do We Really Understand Hadith’ Course. Held in the late summer of 2012, this course was delivered by Munir Ahmed and Ahtsham Ali who have been tutored extensively by the eminent Muhaddith Shaykh Abdullah al-Judai. It covered introduction to Ulum al-Hadith; compilations and categorisation of hadith; sunnah and hadith; how do we understand the sunnah today, and false hadith. 56 participants signed up to the course, about half of whom were women. 82% of attendees rated the overall programme “excellent” or “very good”.

“...The course was fantastic. I have had a great time. I have enjoyed my stay. I have learned a lot and have met some amazing people, alhamdulillah. I would recommend this course to any Muslim - regardless of their cultural background or madhab....” “…I do feel spiritually inspired. Just being in an Islamic environment lifts the heart and I am hugely grateful to ISB....” Though we managed to offer some great courses, there is so much more that can be achieved if KnowledgeSeekers has a strong team and a committed leadership. With Riza Mohamed accepting the challenge of leading the department, we very much hope that he will bring his experience of training and development in coming months and years will build a stronger team. As the ‘Islamic’ courses market gets crowded, there is a need to define our brand carefully and use our strengths, such as the positive participation of women and our practical relevance to an eager new generation of British Muslims. Alongside this, significant investment in terms of money, expertise and time is needed to be able to deliver our courses through various media including internet and to hold courses for different durations (weekend, one-day) at multiple locations to meet the needs of those that may not be attending our current courses.

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Islamic Society of Britain

Living Islam 2011


They came in their thousands from all over the country and even from abroad‌ to the Living Islam festival. Thousands of mums, dads, children and grandparents arrived at the venue in the Lincolnshire countryside in the summer of 2011 ready to be a part of the most spectacular event in the British Muslim calendar.

Work has already begun to build up towards the largest and most ambitious Living Islam festival to date. With a new project head, we will look to build on the values and success of our flagship project, and bring in new dimensions. The event will take place at the familiar Lincolnshire venue in August 2014.

Over 150 volunteers in over 30 departments and 18 months of meticulous planning at weekends culminates into the Living Islam festival, the largest event of the Islamic Society of Britain. It is an outdoor festival, a spiritual retreat, a series of seminars and a family holiday experience. A dedicated office was set up to handle queries and bookings.

Consultations are underway to see what improvement can be made to the booking system, the programme, range of events, site management, etc. Corporate sponsorship packages are being redesigned and speakers are being identified and approached. Because the festival will take place soon after Eid, there will be an even greater celebratory feel.

The programmes of talks and events (see the attached) encompassed the purely religious, the social and political, family nurturing and personal development. Participants in their hundreds spoke of feeling inspired and being spiritually uplifted, more confident in their knowledge and outlook, a better understanding of contexualising Islam’s teachings, and of being thoroughly relaxed and entertained. Throughout the four days in the green, serene, tranquil setting of the showground, participants could re-connect with their spiritual life and take part in collective prayers, attend tajwid (recitation) lessons, think and reflect and enjoy some time out. There was even a spectacular acrobatic display of vintage aircrafts by the Aerostars. The entire programme came to a close with participants on a spiritual high ready for Ramadan which was starting the next day. Living Islam 2011 was not only successful in terms of having the highest number of participants so far, but we also managed to cover all the costs and keep something in the pot for the next event.

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Expert Seminars:

Legacy 2012

Wills and Inheritance In November 2012, the ISB held a small roundtable discussion with some experts on the subject of wills and inheritance in Islam. Professor Tariq Ramadan, Shaykh Usama Hasan and Haroon Rashid, a solicitor specialising in wills explored some of the contemporary challenges with established workings of inheritance in the British experience. The discussion examined how inheritance laws can be applied in a modern setting within a UK framework, and also deal with any potential ethical concerns that may arise out of unequal division of estate between genders. The idea behind the event was to see if we can create a model for discussing issues that can often seen to be very controversial, but nevertheless need to be addressed, and to have the debate within a mature, respectful and academically rigorous framework. We hope to follow the event up with other discussions of this nature.


A pilot event was held at a prestigious venue that sought to attract members and their associates and keep them connected with the ISB as well as raise funds and network with new people. After initial discussions an event linked to the Olympics was chosen and, fitting the event, the Olympic rowing venue of Eton Dorney in Windsor was booked. Just over £12,000 was raised for the ISB’s work. A great opportunity for networking was created for participants. The 200 capacity hall was packed with people from the region alongside members and contacts from across the country. Islam Channel filmed throughout the evening and a 20 minute programme has now been made called ‘Legacy of the Torch’ which looks back over the Olympics and features our event. Julie Siddiqi outlined the work and projects of the Society. Other speeches were delivered by Kristiane Backer, Team GB members Darren Cheesman and Moe Sbihi and torchbearer Sahar Zahid. Imam Zaid Shakir sent a video message for the event. The pilot showed the importance of such activities and also gave us lessons to learn in order to improve the event and make it even more successful next time.

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Aim High, YMUK Winter Residential The year of 2012 may have been a glorious year of national pride and celebration, but it was not over until The Young Muslims UK Winter camp. The event was over subscribed and many of those attending experienced their first residential; roughly half the attendees come from the households of long term ISB members. 65 Youngsters, aged 12-16 years, came from across the country. The residential was themed ‘Aim High’, a mix of debate, spiritual reminders, workshops, entertainment, and, marshmallow toasting by a campfire. People were put into small groups based on age, each with a group leader and a rota of group tasks. Team GB hockey player Darren Cheesman ran a workshop and also led congregational prayers with beautifully moving recitation. A debate entitled ‘This World Would Be Better Off Without Adults’ produced mature arguments on both sides of the divide. Hugely successful workshops were run on: Art on canvas, geometry, presentation skills and poetry writing. Feedback was extremely positive from the teenagers and later from their parents alike, and a second weekend event is planned for the summer of 2013. Here are some of the comments: From an organiser:

“A lovely weekend spent in energetic and enthusiastic company inspired by our shared faith. We had moments of joy, tears, reflection and relaxation together – wonderful!” From parents:

“I prayed to thank Allah (SWT) that great organisations like this exist - that have helped my children gain so much”

Enough Food IF Rally The Islamic Society of Britain delivered a message at the huge Enough Food IF rally at Hyde Park, attended by a reported 45,000 people. IF is a collaborative effort bringing broad sections of civil society together to tackle world hunger and its focus at the rally was to pressure world leaders to act attending a G8 meeting the same day to act. The ISB’s Executive Director addressed a listening crowd:

“I stand before you here today as a mother of four happy children, as a woman of faith, as a Muslim, who wants to see the injustice of hunger eradicated. Hunger today is not a natural disaster, it is a human-made disaster. 2 million children lose their lives every year from hunger. 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry every night. Hunger kills more of the world’s children than our terrible wars put together. Islam teaches me that I am not true to my faith, if I go to sleep full while people around me are hungry… When we talk about faith it really is about living it – it really is about action… As long as we have a voice and a vote, we should use them for the causes that matter.”

“My child is a changed person since the weekend - (in a really good way!)”; …and the youth themselves:

“I have never felt so close to Allah” “It’s too short, I don’t want it to end” “When’s the next one??!” Islamic Society of Britain



Islamic Society of Britain

Ramadan Festival 2012 The Islamic Society of Britain led the Ramadan Festival with two other partner organisations to coordinate a breadth of activities when the world’s eyes were also on the London 2012 games, taking the festival to new levels. The Festival began life in the Netherlands in 2005 and has not had broader success in the UK before. It brings people together from different faiths to share in the atmosphere that is created at such a special time of year for Muslims, and creates a platform for people to come together in a positive environment and network with others who they may otherwise not have contact with. New links and future working relationships have all been positive outcomes of previous Festivals. The 2012 Ramadan Festival was part of the broader international project 2012 Hours Against Hate, an initiative of community organisations to stop bigotry and promote pluralism and respect across lines of culture, religion, tradition, class, and gender. The initiative was granted the prestigious London 2012 Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the 2012 Games. Messages of support were received at home and from abroad for the Festival, which became the hub for a range of outreach activities including:

The Ramadan Festival 2012 was launched by Julie Siddiqi and Asim Siddiqui (City Circle) at a London event with guest speakers Imam Abdul Latif Finch of the Zaytuna Institute; Stephen Robertson; Big Issue Chief Executive; Nick Lowles, Hope Not Hate and Alex Goldberg, Olympic Jewish Chaplain. The launch was covered across local radio stations, covered by Al-Jazeera, the Guardian newspaper, and received a full page spread in the Daily Mirror.

“…projects like the Ramadan Festival, part of 2012 Hours Against Hate, are enabling people in the UK to make positive life changes” Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

■■ ‘Dine@Mine’ activities – Inviting friends, neighbours and colleagues to a Muslim household and sharing Iftar within a family setting ■■ Sharing food with the homeless and the most vulnerable in society including Iftars and hampers of food ■■ Mosque open day events and sharing Iftars with the local community

Islamic Society of Britain


Glasgow Branch We have always been fortunate to have many experienced members and a great degree of goodwill amongst the Glasgow community. We are able to work with almost all organisations and this is a real strength. With the changing landscape with regards to Islamic organisations, institutes and activism, we undertook a strategic review and decided to focus on four main areas: 1. The Young Muslims UK

Some highlights: ■■ 1500+ school pupils attended workshops and mosque tours ■■ 370 guests at a Gala Dinner, with over 250 guests who were not Muslim ■■ IAW Scotland Launch with Deputy First Minister and guests

2. Family Circle

■■ Roundtable lunch with legal professionals on ‘Shariah & Scots Law’

3. Islam Awareness Week

■■ Over 25 organisations working together for the first time

4. Feed Glasgow

The Young Muslims UK The Young Muslims UK continues to inspire Glasgow. They consistently run 4 popular circles, on a weekly basis, that are open to all across Glasgow, with a mix of Islamic education and sports & leisure. We reach out to over 120 young people every week.

Family Circle With a new day and venue, we have had a growing attendance. The kids activities are always popular and topics covered for adults include addictions afflicting Muslim communities, establishing a work-life balance, relationship and sex education.

Islam Awareness Week 2013 We successfully produced one of the best ever IAWs we have had in Scotland (facebook.com/iawscotland). We were able to work with 25 other organisations to provide a week packed with activities.


Feed Glasgow We provide food for 40-60 homeless people in Glasgow every week. It was essential to link with an experienced local charity which oversees and guides us to ensure we help these vulnerable members of society, without creating a culture of dependency (www.feedglasgow.org). Other activities the branch has undertaken include: ‘Effective Parenting’ seminars with Shahid Akmal - These extremely popular seminars help parents learn practical skills and theory to improve their parenting. Radio Ramadan – The branch continues to provide essential resources and skills to this long running project (www. radioglasgow.org). Islam Information Scotland - Our organisation that focuses on providing services, resources and training on Islam and Muslims (www.iiscotland.org). Aye Islam 2012 - A unique family event for Muslims across Scotland (ayeislam.org). A residential programme for the family including a crèche for the ‘wee ones’, a separate children’s

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Leicester Branch programme and a break away programme for teenagers; leaving the parents to focus on self development and spiritual refreshment. The event was fully booked and received excellent feedback. We have a dedicated core of experienced and loyal members. However we need to bring in fresh people, ideas and energy and this is proving a challenge due to our fluid and dynamic way of working. We have many sympathisers and supporters but they are often hesitant to commit to a single organisation/area of work. We also need to improve our communication with members and keep them engaged. We also face the challenge of so many single-focus organisations and activities in Glasgow, with a big event happening almost every week. However we see this as an opportunity to collaborate with others and we have been able to build solid relationships as a result. The Young Muslims UK continues to be a driving force for good and a great inspiration. However, the focus over the coming period is to strengthen the infrastructure and allow it to develop key members who have shown commitment and ability. Another gap is the lack of regular ISB Tarbiyyah programmes.

Islamic Society of Britain

Eat’n’Meet Launched in 2009 with a one-day event we are now running a weekly drop in service for over 50 homeless people in Leicester. In the past year we have been working in partnership with other providers of homelessness services in Leicester and are involved in the new council strategy for homelessness in Leicester. Eat’n’Meet continues to provide a range of services for the homeless in Leicester, from the Saturday Stop-By service to the provision of food and toiletry parcels to vulnerable women. The Eat’n’Meet coordinator has spoken about the project in schools, scout and youth clubs and Madaris with each event resulting in generous donations from adults and children, some as young as 4 years old. Eat’n’Meet has received publicity from both national and local media and is featured on the Near Neighbours website. To support the increasing number of people becoming homeless and living in poverty the Eat’n’Meet team have started to work and develop ideas to start a food bank.

Saturday Stop-By Saturday Stop-by was set-up by ISB Leicester in January 2012 after securing 6 months of funding from Near Neighbours. The project runs in partnership with St James the Greater Church where the sessions are held. Every week volunteers from a range of backgrounds and faiths run the three hour drop in service for homeless people where they provide hot and cold refreshments, delicious curries and run a range of recreational activities . A recent survey of Saturday Stop-By users showed that over 97% were happy with what was on offer at Saturday Stop-by. “I would be very lonely without Saturday stop by,” “I look forward to coming to sat stop by in the morning, helps me get out of bed and I like meeting people from different cultures” and “I personally find Saturday stop by the best in Leicester, a great place to socialise and the food is amazing” are just some of the comments we have received. The most rewarding aspect



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of Saturday Stop-by is helping and securing accommodation for someone living on the streets.

The Young Muslims UK Leicester Held every fortnightly for girls ages 11+. We have a regular attendance of 10 girls. Activities include debates/discussions, role play, arts & craft, trips and much more.

Moonwalkers Youth Group MWYG was established in February 2007 aimed at children between the ages of 5-11. There are 25 children in the group with others on a waiting list. A four year syllabus has been devised with this year’s theme being ‘The Qur’an.’ Children have enjoyed a variety of activities this year such as performing the ‘mini Hajj’, a visit to a local masjid, stories from the Qur’an, arts and crafts, nasheeds, role play and quizzes. MWYG linked up with the Eat n Meet project for a gift-wrapping session to provide gifts for the homeless of Leicester. Members of the local community, friends, neighbours and family, including local vicars, a Councillor and MP John Ashworth joined Moonwalkers to help the homeless. Other events planned before the end of the year are a visit to a local farm, trip to a fire and rescue centre, lessons in British Sign Language and learning to weave with willow. The year always ends with the End of Year Performance and prize giving when Moonwalkers perform to an audience of parents, relatives and local community members.

Dine@Mine The annual ladies Dine@Mine was held in November 2012; the event began in 2006. Over 90 ladies of various faiths and backgrounds gathered at the award winning restaurant, Everest Dine for a Diamond Jubilee themed evening of fun and

Islamic Society of Britain

fundraising. Tickets are much sought after and were sold out in record time well before the event to the disappointment of many. £1,100 was raised for Rainbows Children’s Hospice making a total of over £6000 raised for local charities, mainly the children’s hospice over the years. The evening was filled with tiaras, quizzes, games, an auction (including an item and letter from the Queen!) laughter and food.

Ramadan circle The Ramadan circle this year aimed at approaching a wider audience by utilising a bigger venue, more speakers and social interacting tasks. We managed to run this twice a week with good turnout. We had 15-30 girls attend every session.

London West Branch The branch holds a weekly meeting as planned on a school term basis, as key local members are teachers by profession. Much of our local activity is built around our local scouts work. A new programme aimed at parents and young people was introduced and takes place before scouting activities and after study help sessions. An Eid party was organised through the scouts group and was attended by 65 parent-leaders and young people. The scouts group also played a key role in activities built around the Olympics 2012, as well as other local collaborations. The branch also participated in a charity walk to raise money for a relief charity. An Islam Awareness Week event was held at Hounslow Library, but attendance was hindered by severe weather.


Luton Branch The branch has been very busy over the last 2 years, continuing with its grassroots work and building on the successes of previous years.

■■ Interns from Beds University and Sixth form college; school work experience.

Inspire FM

■■ Inspire ‘app’ (for iOS and Android) currently in production - to be release before Ramadan

Inspire FM is one of Luton’s full-time community radio stations and has entered into its 3rd year running now. We have a huge local following across all the Muslim community, a global listenership through our online services and have organised many inter-faith and community cohesion projects. We have become a focal point for the community and are regularly contacted by the local council, police, schools, university, mosques and businesses. Our “Community Announcements” during our peak listening hours has also proved to be a big hit among our listeners, providing a hub of activities and events for people to get involved. Some of our other recent achievements at Inspire FM have been: ■■ Strong and independent financial position; 3 major charity partners/ sponsors ■■ The Muslim History Month (organised to include the International Women’s Week) for the second year running ■■ Family Fun Days (organised by our Cohesion Task Force) ■■ Major broadcasting collaboration with Unity FM (Birmingham), sharing several programmes, including Unity’s Friday Night Fusion and Inspire’s Drive Time ■■ Online Ramadan broadcast (2012) - best ever with 40,000+ unique streaming sessions over the month ■■ Best Ever Hajj broadcast – Live from Arafat ■■ Broadcasts from events outside and joint broadcasts with BBC 3 Counties and Hospital Radio


■■ New Website, iViewFM, facebook, twitter.

Beech Hill Scout Group Our scout group is still going strong with regular attendance of about 40 boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 14. We have a strong and dedicated leadership team of 10 adults (men and women). We are the only Muslim focused scout group in Bedfordshire and are involved in the local scouts district taking part in activities with other scout groups as well as nationally being part of the Muslim Scouts Fellowship through which we take part in activities such as national camps and the annual Scout Olympics. Other activities we have organised as a group include: fundraising for the people of Gaza with the charity Families Relief, hiking trips, camping, Qiyam ul-Layl programmes and more. We have represented scouting on local BBC radio and support other local initiatives such as the annual interfaith Peace Walk and the recently established Foodbank’. Part of our work involves building strong links with parents and we enjoy their involvement and support. Many in our leadership team are in fact parents of Scouts themselves. Scouting continues to be one of our most successful projects and is enjoyed by all, adults and children alike. The principles of scouting continue to infuse everything we do and we work hard to instil these in our members: “Duty to God, Duty to Self, Duty to Others.”

Islamic Society of Britain

The Young Muslims UK

Eid Festival 2012

Sisters: Regular Friday evening circles were organised for approximately one year but we discontinued from Ramadan 2012. We intend to restart this service however.

In partnership with the National Trust, the Luton branch organised the Eid Festival in the great outdoors. The event has been running for over 4 years now, and although we have been involved in previous years, this year we took on the full ownership. We also worked closely with volunteers from the local UKIM branch and with the volunteers involved in Inspire FM.

Brothers: Ongoing weekly circles organised on Friday evenings, a mixture of spiritual, tarbiyah and physical activities Yearly camps organised, the last one being in the National Peak District.

YMUK Alumni A new initiative recently started which was prompted by the realisation that a number of our key members of the YMUK, who only a few years ago were active, had now finished university and were back in Luton having started their first jobs in the ‘real world’. It was felt that there wasn’t anything tailored for them and if they were not engaged by the branch, the link that we had with them may be lost and the YMUK work undone. It was felt that a support network was essential for them to continue to develop and for us all to benefit from each other. To this end we have started a fortnightly usrah, in the traditional sense, where we meet in each others’ homes, study the Qur’an, discuss topics of interest, attend courses and meet socially to build bonds of support. Part of the commitment that all those involved have made is to also get involved in a local project, the “output” element to complement the “input” that the usrah aims to facilitate.

Islamic Society of Britain

The Eid Festival is once a year event that takes place on the weekend about a week after Eid-ul-Fitr. It is a wonderful synergy of local people, the lovely local countryside, fun & games for all the family and freshly prepared food. This year we are planning on holding the event on the Sunday 11th Aug 2013.

Open Learning Circle for Men A learning circle for was restarted in October 2011. This was held weekly every Sunday evening in a local mosque and mainly consisted of a short Quranic reminder followed by discussion and reflection from the attendees. It delivered by local members on a rotational basis. We initially concentrated on a study of the last 25 Surahs of Juz 30. The aim was to encourage attendees to become familiar with and memorise these shorter chapters in Arabic with translation. Unfortunately, the circle did not restart after Ramadan 2012. A quarterly family circle is being considered at present.


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lEicEsTEr special edition

Turn to Pages 4-5

Fiona Phillips: 2013 is the year to bring communities together



Vote for OUr Britain Not Theirs

When faced with a choice of HOPE and hate their is only one logical outcome.

Islamic Society of Britain

Manchester Branch During the term, we have not only built a rapport with local, regional and national organisations but have also carried out collaborative activities with some organisations and managed to secure sponsorship to cover our activities and office costs.

Family Circle Our monthly Family Circle has been providing a mix of scholarly learning, lectures, socialising and children’s activities attracting an attendance from 50 to 150. We run it on the second Saturday of each month and it creates an opportunity for people to network. The monthly event provides crèche facilities where children of all ages get busy with planned activities. The event is free to all and includes an evening meal. Topics, some of which have been in series, have included religious themes like the Sirah and Islamic history; topical discussion like the London riots; and awareness topics such as depression and mental health. We invite expert local speakers to speak on the main topic and a short 5 minute reminder on one of the important topics is also built in the programme. (Venue: KD Grammar School, Hartley Hall, Alexandra Road South, Manchester M16 8NH).

Ramadan Iftar and Eid Party We organised Ramadan iftars and an Eid fair with Human Appeal and are keen to carry on with this project. We have also contacted the British Muslim Heritage Centre to come on board with this project to increase the network and help extend its reach.

Eat n Meet Soup Kitchen

in collaboration with Human Appeal. Food sufficient for over 50 citizens is donated and given out. The cost incurred in such a project varies from fifty to a hundred pounds. We have a team of volunteers committed to help the homeless people. We have been running it outdoor in Piccadilly Gardens but are currently in negotiation with the Lifeshare, an organisation helping homeless people, to use their premises as venue for our soup kitchen to make sure our activities are not hindered even during the extreme weather conditions. Lifeshare has agreed to our proposal and final formalities will be satisfied by the end of April which would mean we can help more homeless people.

Health awareness programmes Every two months, an event is held in a local mosque where GPs and pharmacists volunteer their time to provide valuable information on healthy living and diet. Recent activities include an awareness session on hepatitis C and depression.

The Young Muslims UK We are currently running study circles for girls jointly with the British Muslims Heritage Centre and are also looking to do some joint activities for boys. Recent boys activities include a football match and barbeque at Cheadle Mosque.

School Assemblies and Workshops We have been doing various workshops and open day events in schools and we have been welcomed to carry on these activities in future also. We have recently received some more leads and have contacted the respective schools to arrange visits.

Our local branch arranges for freshly cooked food to be prepared and delivered to homeless people once every month

Islamic Society of Britain


Sheffield Branch The last two years have been both challenging and rewarding. We have positioned the Islamic Society of Britain as a key community stakeholder and have been working with many others to build good relations and understanding of Islam, working equally hard for the good of humanity and across Sheffield’s local community. For many years, we have successfully worked to promote cohesion and celebrate diversity in a city of strategic importance (which is also a focal point for the divisive political activities of the far right). Accordingly our approach is that: ■■ The Islamic message should be made relevant to the particular society in which one is working, just as it was made relevant by all the prophets to their own people ■■ The Islamic message should he presented using a language and terminology that is understood by the people being addressed, in a logical, reasonable, convincing and friendly way. ■■ The Islamic message should not be forced on people; rather a dialogue and social interaction at a deeper level should he established. In light of this, we have used all available means that we can to connect with our community and society. These means include meeting with people on an individual basis, organising exhibitions, visiting schools and hospitals, running community and public meetings at local levels, and organising regular seminars and conferences for all sections of the community. We have connected and built relationships with local, regional and national organisations that have an interfaith dimension in their work. These include: One Sheffield Many Cultures, Sheffield Cohesion Advisory Board, Sheffield Interfaith, Faith Leaders Group, Sheffield Faith Forum, the local SACRE, College Chaplaincy services and NHS Engagement Committee. It is by contributing to and working consistently in these areas, and by supporting the individuals who also work in these areas, that the


ISB has become an important stakeholder in Sheffield. Our work has been at the heart of all faith celebrations, we have been and continue to gain invitations to Easter and Christmas celebrations in Sheffield’s largest churches. We have organised events that cater from 10 to 500 people, events from feeding the homeless to feeding the many dignitaries of Sheffield, the UK and often internationally. Our events have meant that people leave being inspired and amazed. Events such as Faith, Food and Friendship, where we invite all faith groups to experience different types of international cuisine and engage in table style discussion. Our popular Annual Peace Walk has meant that this year we will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary. All of which have been covered by the local media: local newspapers - Star and Telegraph, BBC Look North and BBC Radio Sheffield. We have recently held seminars against Grooming and Human Trafficking, that have attracted hundreds of attendees. With the recent headlines on Grooming aimed at Muslim men, we thought that something has to be done. Our engaging mosque visits has allowed the 70 odd schools throughout Sheffield to enhance their understanding of the Muslim community, and what a mosque means in the religion. The mosque open days, has meant that thousands of non-Muslims have an awareness of the mosque, our open Jummah prayers means that the directors, executives, managers, priests, vicars and head teachers can attend and go back with an understanding of Jummah, and why so many Muslims face Mecca! Local ISB members have also attended and made keynote presentations in over 45 schools. Because of this work, the schools now know who to contact in case of a difficulty. We are grateful for the opportunity and strength to accomplish what we have and pray that God blesses our supporters without whose help none of the activities reported would have been possible.

Islamic Society of Britain

Treasurer’s Report The Financial Statements presented are for 2 years from January 2011 to 31 December 2012. This report covers the central account used to run ISB at the National Level. The accounts show a small surplus for year ending December 2012. In fact this is the first surplus ISB has made in the last seven consecutive years. Straight after the Annual Members Meeting in 2011 the President led what was effectively a campaign to rescue ISB from running out of cash. Considerable amount of work has been done in the last two years to improve the Society’s financial position. One of the significant changes came into effect on 18 November 2011 when Islamic Society of Britain was registered as a limited company and a charity. It is for this reason that the accounts have been prepared as follows: ■■ The Column headed 1 January 2011 to 17 November 2011 – illustrates the figures for the period before ISB was a registered company. These figures only cover a period of 10 ½ months. ■■ The Column headed 18 November 2011 to 31 December 2012 – illustrates the figures from when ISB is a registered company. These figures cover a period of 13 ½ months. This period is longer so that we can change the accounting period for the registered company to end on 31 December annually. The incorporation and charity status allows ISB to claim Gift Aid on members’ fees. However, the full benefit of this change has not been realised as yet because only a small number of members have switched to payment by Direct Debit. This needs to be a key priority for the coming term. A number of key decisions were made to cut costs in 2011, for example: ■■ The contract for office administration services was reduced by

Islamic Society of Britain

50% saving over £5,500 per year. ■■ The old ISB office was closed saving over £6,500 per year in rent and other costs. ■■ Affiliation fees and other outgoing costs, such as web hosting etc., were reduced wherever possible. These changes alone saved ISB over £12,000 per year which represented nearly 17% of the Society’s income in 2011. To preserve cash a difficult decision was made in early-2011 to suspend payments to branches and take on some short-term loans from members. The situation was made worse with a few unknown debts emerging during this term. These were long standing debts that had not been reported and therefore were not accounted for. All praise is to Allah; financially ISB is now in a different place: ■■ With the exception of a loan to ISB Birmingham; all debts have been repaid. ■■ There are sufficient funds to commence payments to branches. ■■ There are sufficient funds to backdate payments to branches from January 2012. ■■ As mentioned earlier ISB made its first surplus in 7 years. With most debts being repaid 2013 should be a much better year. However, as of December 2012 ISB has very little reserves. Priority for 2013 and 2014 should be to preserve surpluses for any stormy weather in the future. During this term ISB took some important, though tentative, steps towards fundraising. To secure the financial viability of the charity, ISB will need to engage in much more aggressive fundraising activities.


Treasurer’s Report - Accounts RECEIPTS

18 Nov 2011 to 31 Dec 2012

01 Jan 2011 to 17 Nov 2011

Membership Contributions





























Branch Payments




Loan Repayments








Barclays Bank (ISB No. 1 Account)



Barclays Bank (ISB No. 2 Account)










Yorkshire Bank Account Loan Account TOTAL MEMBERS FUNDS


Islamic Society of Britain

ISB National - Balance Status At 31 December 2012 Assets Bank Balance Money Owed to ISB Total

£8,894.12 ££8,894.12


Money Owed by ISB

Money Owed by ISB

£7,500.00 Birmingham



£7,500.00 Total


Net Assests





Islamic Society of Britain




Islamic Society of Britain

The Presidential Term 2011 – 2013 President – Dilwar Hussain Vice President – Naved Siddiqi Vice President – Sajid Quayum Executive Director – Julie Siddiqi General Secretary – Somia Shafiq Treasurer – Shabir Hussain

The Shura Council Mahmud Al-Rashid (Chair) Sughra Ahmed Umamah Ahmed Ahtsham Ali Zahid Amin Khalid Anis Eman Badri Jeffery Beere Iskander Chaudhry Zahid Chohan Aman Durrani Abdool Kadir Gooljar Rabiha Hannan Mohamed Hanif Dilwar Hussain Shabir Hussain Obaid Khan Faraz Mir Sajid Quayum Masood Sadiq Naved Siddiqi Rizwan Syed Ibrahim Varsani

Islamic Society of Britain

Project and Department Leads Campaigns – Julie Siddiqi Campus – Umamah Ahmed Communications – Khalid Anis Connecting Communities – Sughra Ahmed Education and Training – Ahtsham Ali Islam Awareness Week – Mahmooda Qurashi Knowledgeseekers – Shakil Ahmed Legacy 2012 – Julie Siddiqi Living Islam 2011 – Jeffrey Beere Living Islam 2014 – Khalid Anis Office Manager – Shakil Ahmed Ramadan Festival – Julie Siddiqi Schools – Rabiha Hannan Women in Leadership Consultation – Rabiha Hannan Youth – Rabiha Hannan

Branch Presidents Birmingham – Mohamed Hanif Bradford – Shabir Hussain Glasgow – Aman Durrani Halifax – Eman Badri Leicester – Masood Sadiq London West – Obaid Khan Luton – Zahid Chohan Manchester – Iskander Chaudhry Sheffield – Abdool Kadir Gooljar


Standing (left to right): Sughra Ahmed, Umamah Ahmed, Iskander Chaudhry, Julie Siddiqi, Masood Sadiq, Faraz Mir, Jeffery Beere, Abdool Kadir Gooljar, Aman Durrani, Somia Shafiq, Shabir Hussain, Eman Badri, Ahtsham Ali, Rabiha Hannan. Sitting (left to right): Khalid Anis, Naved Siddiqi, Dilwar Hussain, Mahmud Al-Rashid

Photography credits: Aliway Photography; Azam Khan Photography Back cover illustration: Claudia Joarder, Key Stage 2 Winner, National Picture of Peace Competition 2012


Profile for Islamic Society of Britain

ISB Term Report 2011 - 2013  

Report of activities for the term 2011-2013

ISB Term Report 2011 - 2013  

Report of activities for the term 2011-2013

Profile for britislam