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My vision for the MCB


Thursday 25 March 2010 09.00 GMT

On 20 June 2010, the MCB's current secretary-general will step down and a new successor must be chosen. Today I am putting my name forward as a candidate.

Britain's Muslims come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including a growing number of converts, and from many different Islamic traditions. Accordingly there is no single religious or political leader, and neither can there be. The founding aim of the MCB was to provide a platform for Muslim organisations to better engage and support each other, and collectively express common concerns to wider society and government. It has worked hard to fulfil this role for over a decade with support from over 500 affiliated organisations and hundreds of volunteers. Its strap line has always been "Working for the common good" of both Muslims and non-Muslims. It has never claimed to be the only voice of British Muslims and will continue to respect and engage with those who disagree with it.

That is not say we have not made mistakes, we would not be human had we had not. Should I become secretary-general, I want to lead an MCB that better articulates the concerns of Muslim communities and builds bridges with all sections of wider society. With my corporate experience, I have a track record of creating teams to deliver high quality results. With my interfaith experience, I understand how important it is to relate to other communities from a perspective of mutual understanding.

But others too have made mistakes. After the MCB criticised its foreign policy, the government spent years promoting alternative Muslim groups, before recognising that no other organisation could compare with the MCB's grassroots links. If elected, I will ensure that the MCB maintains robust relations with government; telling it what it needs to hear, not what it wants to hear.

However, ultimately I want us to be judged on how we help and inspire grassroots Muslims to achieve their full potential. The following areas would be my focus:

Every citizen needs to do what he or she can to make our country a better place. That is why I have decided to offer myself for election as aecretary-general of the MCB. My manifesto is available on my website

The above piece attracted a large number of comments, many of which I responded to. Those comments and my responses can be read by visiting the original posting on the Guardian website.


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