Scotland Week focuses on North America currently, and we believe that cultural and business events held elsewhere in the world can also bring benefit to our country. Allied to this is the opportunity to engage in the global tensions that exist between the West and the Muslim world, adding a distinctive Scottish voice. There are a number of good reasons that we have a responsibility to do this.
Unfortunately, the Sunday Herald chose to take comment on this from an MSP who sought to engage in party political knockabout with it. We’re not sure what locus he actually has on any of the proposals either. Party politics can often appear tribal, childish and nasty to people on the outside. Thankfully then, it is worth repeating that the SIF has no view, and can have no view, on the various parties. The activities of our staff and members away from SIF business is their own private affair. Many not-for-profits and charities have senior personnel that engage in party political activity in their spare time.
We are surprised therefore that this is being aired by Mr McAveety, especially as it is he who is attempting to inject party politics into this, not us. We are a year into life as an organisation, and our track record speaks for itself. We work with all from across the political spectrum. Mr McAveety should know this as indeed our chief executive personally asked him to speak at a recent event we co-hosted, an invitation Mr McAveety was good enough to accept. He does, with perhaps one or two other individuals, appear to maintain public positions contrary to this based on little except unsupported theories. Scotland Week was actually an initiative of the previous Labour administration, and we are sure that members of that party will be embracing of this idea.
As for the comments of Omar Shaikh from the Islamic Finance Council, a group Frank McAveety recently hosted an event for in the Scottish Parliament, we would simply note we are not advocating an Islamic finance event, so again are not sure what their interest in this matter is.
It is disappointing for the board, staff, members and volunteers of the SIF to see such behaviour. We are by and large a young group of people simply trying to do our bit and produce some good work. We are confident that most people can see past these misdirected comments though, and that we have the support of people that do not carry baggage and who share our ambitious vision and plans.
Asif Ahmed, chairman, Scottish-Islamic Foundation
Posted by Asif Ahmed