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Archive for February, 2009

I write to you having just arrived in the Indonesian capital Jakarta for the 5th World Islamic Economic Forum.

We’re here at the premier gathering of the Islamic business world as part of the Muslim Council of Britain’s delegation led by Sir Iqbal Sacranie.

Our main mission is to listen and learn, and also make contacts for the Scottish-Islamic Investment Expo we’re organising this October. That event will be seeking to increase trade links between Scotland and the Muslim world, and explore the possibilities Islamic finance could bring to our country.

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dsc00288I had the honour of attending and speaking at the opening of Minhaj-ul-Quran International’s new centre in Rutherglen yesterday.

It’s just behind the shopping centre, so there’s no excuse for being out shopping there and missing prayers again.

It’s an existing building which has been very impressively redone from the inside. At the centre of the prayer hall is a magnificently inserted dome structure which is made up of modern and traditional Islamic art and calligraphy (pictured).
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The attendance at yesterday’s Stop the War Coalition conference was unbelievably large. Old supporters have been reenergised after the Gaza bombings, and a whole tranche of new people have joined, seen notably with the recent university occupations.

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glasgow_mosque1a1Imagine if a Scottish Muslim pleaded guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Cathedral and behead one Christian a week until all British troops were pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

There would be outrage, right? It would be splashed over the front page of every newspaper in the land. It would be the top of all news bulletins.

There would be volumes written on what motivated him, his family background and his beliefs. There would be a rich stream of analysis from a variety of positions. Government would be asked what it was doing to avoid such a thing from happening.

So when news came into the Scottish-Islamic Foundation office this week of one Neil MacGregor pleading guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead one Muslim a week until all Scottish mosques were shut down, we thought it couldn’t possibly be true.

There had been no build up to such a trial, no coverage during it and none on the verdict. We Googled it, and nothing came up. Not a sausage, nada, zilch.

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muslimleaderdevelopement1The weekend past saw Muslim youth workers from across Scotland coming together in Auchengillan for our ‘Muslim Leadership Development Programme’.  There were a number of interesting discussions on developing an effective national strategy, confidence building activities and a whole load of yummy food (cooked by males throughout the weekend).

Responding to the call and taking part were representatives of FOSIS, Young Muslims, Scotland-wide ISocs, Active Life Club, YYI, CEPA, Islamic Relief, MAB Youth and MCB Youth (sorry if I missed anyone out). The event was unique because it brought together individuals, organisations and scholars from across Scotland that are engaged on grass roots level with Muslim young people. It was interesting to share thoughts and exchange ideas with a wide range of people. I met some really amazing people and hope to do a lot of work with them in the future.

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