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Muslim Council of Britain

In my lifetime, British Muslims have increased from a very small number to 2.4 million people from many different national backgrounds representing around 4% of our country’s population. From a handful of mosques, we now have approaching two thousand. There are Muslims in the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and at the highest levels of business, professional and academic life.  

At the same time Muslims remain on average the poorest, the least well educated, and by many measures the unhealthiest religious group in the UK. Today we see the English Defence League campaigning to stop mosque building while the British National Party regularly denounces Islam. The cemetery where my parents are buried has been desecrated three times by anti-Muslim hooligans, and almost every day the media carries negative stories about Muslims.  

I have lived in the UK almost all my life, and insha’Allah this is the country in which my children will live out their lives. Accordingly I want to do everything in my power to make this country a better place for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That is also the official position of the MCB: "Working for the common good."

On 20 June 2010 the MCB was required to elect a new Secretary General as well as electing the other office bearers. Accordingly, on 25 March 2010, I announced that I was offering myself for that role, by writing a piece on the Guardian "Comment is free" website.

After I published my manifesto, I realised that the examples of voluntary service given on pages 10 and 11 of the manifesto did not give sufficient details of my past activities supporting the Muslim community. Accordingly, I was pleased that the first two endorsements from Ali Akbar Mohammed and Nasar Mahmood brought that point out.

The election took place on 20 June 2010. Due to block voting, I was not elected onto the Central Working Committee, which precluded my standing for Secretary General later that afternoon.

On 21 June I sent an email of resignation from my remaining roles at the MCB to the new Secretary General Farooq Murad. My reason was that removal as an elected member of the CWC had given me the opportunity to reflect on how I want to spend my time and effort. I had concluded that in the current circumstances I could achieve more for the Muslim community in other ways, and that it would be best to make a clean break from the MCB so that my freedom to write and speak was not constrained.

I remain on good terms with the MCB. For example in January 2011 I made a submission to the committee reviewing its constitution.

Supplemental materials

Announcement of candidacy on Guardian "Comment is Free" website
Apart from my reasons for running, this is worth reading for the range of reader comments, some of which I felt needed a response.
My full 14 page election manifesto
I set out my vision for the MCB, some of the steps I thought it should take, along with a detailed personal background for the benefit of voters who did not know me already.
Endorsement from Ali Akbar Mohammed
Ali Akbar Mohammed (no relation!) has known me for 30 years.
Endorsement from Nasar Mahmood
Nasar Mahmood has known me for 40 years.
Endorsement from Bernardo Vizcaino
Bernardo Vizcaino knows me through both of us being involved with Islamic Finance.
Endorsement from Yassar Iqbal
Yassar Iqbal is someone I got to know a few years ago when he approached me out of the blue for guidance.
Interview on "The Samosa" website
On 1 June 2010 the Samosa news website published a wide ranging interview about my vision for the MCB and how I would handle some difficult questions.
Madeleine Bunting article in "The Guardian"
Madeleine Bunting wrote an article in the Guardian on 18 June 2010 "The MCB's Wonderland Election" correctly predicting the election results. It attracted 141 comments including some from me if you scroll a long way down the readers' comment. You will spot mine because they have my photo against them.
Inayat Bunglawala's blog "Mohammed Amin resigns from the MCB"
Inayat's blog attracted a number of readers comments, including one reader who was using three different pseudonyms!
The Muslim Council of Britain’s Need for Constitutional Reform
In early 2011 the MCB announced that it was reviewing its constitution. I made a written submission to the review committee which readers unfamiliar with the MCB may find informative.
The Government should talk to the Muslim Council of Britain
The John Major Government encouraged the formation of the MCB. Apart from some fallings out, the Labour Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown generally engaged with it. The Conservative led coalition Government and the current Conservative Government have boycotted the MCB. In my view, although the MCB has many faults, the boycott is counter-productive for the Government. Talking to an organisation is not a reward, it is a means towards achieving the Government's goals.


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