Muslim Charities Forum Annual Talk: Beyond Duty
Hope. Collective action on shared causes. The importance of ‘being around the table’. Better support for refugees. Standing up against Islamophobia and any form of discrimination.
These are some of the key themes discussed at the first Annual Talk of the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), hosted on 12 December at haysmacintyre in central London.
One of the key areas of MCF’s work is ‘to connect’: by developing and strengthening relationships between British Muslim charities and a broad range of stakeholders, MCF aims to mobilise the knowledge, experience and skills needed to work collectively towards a more just and sustainable world. The Annual Talk was a great opportunity to doing just that.
The event saw the participation of representatives from a wide variety of sectors: from CEOs of leading Muslim international NGOs, to the Interim CEO for Bond (the UK’s network of International Development NGOs); from the Charity Commission (the regulatory body for UK Charities), to the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (which provides independent evaluation and scrutiny of the impact and value for money of all UK Government overseas aid); from Muslim professional networks, to charity executive experts; from small-charities and interfaith networks, to chartered accountants and law firms.
In addition to networking, this diverse audience of almost 60 people came together to learn from and build on the experiences of two prominent guest speakers: Lord Alf Dubs and Neil Jameson CBE.
MCF’s choice of speakers was not accidental. Two of the key values that MCF works to strengthen in the Muslim charity sector are humanity and excellence. And its Annual Talk’s guest speakers have a long history of upholding these very values.
Arrived in Britain as one of 10,000 Jewish and other children rescued by the Kindertransport in the two years before the outbreak of WWII, Lord Dubbs is a life-long advocate for refugees and he is leading policymaking efforts to help a new generation of unaccompanied child refugees in the UK. After discussing his history and work, Lord Dubbs concluded his talk with a call for empathy: “I am grateful to Britain for the opportunities it has given me. I would like to feel other people and children coming now are given the same warm welcome and opportunities in local communities that I had.”
In his 30 years of service to broad based community organising, Neil Jameson has played a central part in establishing the nation’s largest, most diverse and most powerful civil society alliance- Citizens UK, which is widely known for its social justice work relating to issues such as housing, crime prevention, immigration, hate crime, unemployment, mental health and social care. In his contribution, Neil highlighted how “in a democracy, diversity is power”: organising communities across divides and working together on shared issues is key to bring equity and justice – and Muslim communities and institutions can play a key role in this.
To acknowledge their contributions, the MCF conferred Lord Dubbs and Mr Jameson with awards for their service to humanity and communities.