It has been less than a month on from our official launch and the knives are already out. This weekend a couple of newspapers, fed by members of our own community, have been pushing a story that the only reason we received funding from the Scottish Government is because some of our members are also members of the SNP.
SIF took months of hard work and planning, formulating the idea of IslamFest, entailing countless meetings with officials, civil servants, Ministers and Muslim organisations. SIF exists due to the lack of what already exists to effectively tackle growing Islamophobia, misconceptions and disillusioned Muslim youth. The funding was awarded on the basis of SIF’s application and ability to inject hope and initiative in our community. Instead the Government is being accused of biased and favouritism towards SIF.
This organisation takes pride in the hard work every one of its volunteers and staff exerts. We reject decisively accusations of cronyism. It is not our job to work for any government but we aim to lobby and advise on policy of these institutions. The separate hats that our members wear are kept separate. As any productive and useful organisation would, we speak to whoever necessary within any political party or institution to most effectively get our positive message across, that includes inviting First Minister Alex Salmond MSP to our launch or having Pauline McNeil, MSP speaking at our events.
Our organisation is supported by members of all the main political parties and we were delighted when all chose to attend our launch and speak in support of our work and aims and objectives.
Let there be no doubt about it – The Scottish-Islamic Foundation is open to members of every political party and none. We have members of the main political parties and a multitude of other organisations involved equally.
One example of the inaccuracies of describing SIF as ‘cronies’ of the Scottish Government is one of our first press releases highlighting our concern at the SNP-led administration for their decision to increase terror funding in Scotland.
This organisation will continue to criticise and praise governments, organisations and individuals where appropriate in the interest of the Muslim community locally, nationally and internationally.
In addition, we will continue to encourage competent Muslims to become politically active and engage with political parties across the spectrum.
Those who truly know the Scottish-Islamic Foundation will, as the majority of people have, dismiss these allegations. It is why we were pleased that ex-Labour councillor Bashir Maan said:
“I welcome all organisations supporting the Muslim community and particularly those which aim to involve our young people in the public and economic life of Scotland.
“They should be supported by the Scottish Government and it is excellent news when they are.
“It is factually incorrect to suggest that I have an application for funding support refused. The application is pending awaiting resubmission with further details.
“I have no problem with that due and proper process.”
I think I speak for us all at the Scottish-Islamic Foundation when I say that what hurts most is when accusations of wrongdoing come from friends and organisations we respect and would like to work closely with.
I can only hope and pray that we remember the message behind the following verse of the Holy Quran and live our life accordingly inshAllah:
“You shall hold fast to the rope of God, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall God’s blessings upon you – you used to be enemies and He reconciled your hearts. By His grace, you became brethren…” Quran (3:103)
Posted by Humza Yousaf