Citizens UK today launched its report shedding light on the barriers to British Muslim participation in public life. The report entitled ‘Missing Muslims – Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All‘ has come about after 18 months of consultation and testimony from Muslim and Non-Muslim communities across the UK, detailing their experiences and highlighting the action points needed to take this report forward.
The report has been chaired by former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve MP with advisory support from individuals from a cross section of sectors including business, academia and faith organisations. The key reason for commissioning the report has been to examine some of the potential barriers to more holistic Muslim participation in British public life and some suggestions as to how this can be improved.
The report looks specifically at six key areas of engagement, namely:
- Identity & Belonging
- Employment & Opportunity
- Muslim Leadership & Muslim Institutions
- Political Engagement
- Security, Policing & Hate
Some of the headline recommendations from the report include, an independent review into the Government’s anti-terrorism Prevent programme, advice for media reporting on issues relating to Islam, adopting a legal definition of anti-Muslim prejudice and encouraging universities to offer courses for imams to receive religious and educational qualifications.
With regards to the section specifically around Muslim Leadership & Muslim Institutions, the report looked at the important role being played by Mosques and Islamic Centres in Muslim communities and recommended that these institutions need to have leadership trained in aspects of governance and management that provide a holistic, outward facing strategy that works with and for the entire community. It also focussed on the need to invest in well-paid British born Imams that are able to deliver a contextually specific understanding of the faith to young Muslims and who are trained in educational and non-theological skills.
In light of these specific recommendations, Faith Associates would like to highlight the work it has been doing in advising and training faith institutional leadership in matter of governance and strategy that benefit the overall output and general running of Mosques and Islamic Centres.
Within the context of developing ‘fit for purpose’ institutional leadership, Faith Associates has published literature and developed programmes geared towards Mosque management and governance, with a specific focus on leadership training.
The report mentions the need for greater female participation in institutional leadership. Faith Associates has authored and compiled literature entitled ‘Muslim Women’s Guide to Mosque Governance, Management and Service Delivery‘ which serves as a resource for Muslim women to enable them to fully engage with and spiritually, emotionally and practically serve their communities within the sphere of the mosque.
There is also a recommendation for seminaries and universities to collaborate to provide prospective Imams an the opportunity to develop non-theological and educational skills. Faith Associates has facilitated a programme in collaboration with the University of East London to provide this service. The ‘Certified Introduction to Madrassah Teaching‘ course sets seminary graduates on the path towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) should they decide to broaden their teaching career options.
Overall, Faith Associates welcomes the recommendations in this report and sees it as an opportunity for different sections of society to work together in bringing about positive change and as a way of garnering greater Muslim confidence and participation in public life. Faith Associates is ready to collaborate with individuals and organisations that are looking to develop schemes of work and opportunities that help bring the recommendations in this report to light.