Introduction and Thanks
• Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, delighted to join with you all this afternoon for the official launch of the Scottish Islamic Foundation.
• Congratulations to everyone who’s worked hard over the past year to get to this point.
• As the Chief Executive Officer and the driving force behind the Foundation’s establishment, congratulations to Osama Saeed in particular.
• Congratulations also to the many other committed and talented individuals who have been involved – Bashir Maan, Imam Mustaqeem Shah, Ken Imrie, Humza Yousaf, Noman Tahir and many others.
Contribution of the Muslim Community to Scotland
• Over the time that I have known many of you, I’ve seen at first hand your commitment not just to your faith, but to the success of this nation.
• Individually, and together, you have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and understanding of Islam – and highlighted the contribution that Scotland’s Muslims make across the full spectrum of our national life.
• Your efforts are helping to forge bonds of understanding, and breaking down barriers, between Scotland’s diverse faith communities.
• And reinforcing the fact that Scotland’s Muslim communities are very much part of our nation, and the threads which make up the vibrant, colourful tartan of our society.
• Scotland’s Muslim community takes pride in its Scottish heritage. And as First Minister, I certainly take pride in the contribution that you make.
The Scottish Islamic Foundation
• Of course, while the Foundation is being formally launched today, it has more than made its mark over the past 12 months.
• You were at the heart of the rally organised last July in protest against the Glasgow Airport terror attack – the first of its kind in the world.
• And during the past year of development, you have had an impact in many other ways:
• the Weaving the Tartan conference, bringing faith and non faith communities together from across Scotland;
• the Leadership training courses you’ve run to help young Muslims to enhance both their faith and their contribution to this nation;
• the distribution of food parcels to Glasgow’s homeless people and refugee community during the celebration of Eid-Ul-Adha [pronunciation Eed-uhl- Adda];
• and through raising your voice on critical issues of importance to all Scots – from forced marriage and counter terrorism to human rights, civil liberties and nuclear weapons.
• I know that the Foundation have ambitious plans to build on that roll-call of achievement.
• To harness your combined drive, commitment, and talent in a programme of engagement and action that will strengthen both the faith of young Muslims, and the contribution that they make to Scotland’s future success.
• Certainly, the five over-arching themes that will guide this Foundation in the years ahead have strong roots not just within the Islamic tradition, – but also within Scotland’s core values. [Freedom, protection of life and respect for people, education, strong families and communities and justice]
• So I very much welcome and support the creation of this Foundation – and I wish you all the very best for your future success.
• The Foundation will strengthen Scotland’s Muslim community, and our nation as a whole.
• And it will reinforce our reputation around the world as a role model of diversity and understanding between communities.