Category: Communities

CIAC Women Volunteer of the Year Awards

On behalf of the Chinese Information and Advice Centre, Lord Sheikh hosted the Women Volunteer of the Year Awards in the House of Lords.

Their work benefits disadvantaged Chinese people in the United Kingdom. Since its formation 37 years ago, the Centre has indeed supported and led on local social, legal and welfare issues.The Centre has also provided invaluable help to people who deserve to be helped and guided.

The Chinese Information and Advice Centre does excellent work in the community and provides a vital service to people. The Centre was the recipient of the 2018 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.

Lord Sheikh paid tribute to all the outstanding women who have relentlessly dedicated their valuable time to help the Chinese community.

 

FIRE AID and International Development Conference 2019

The FIRE AID and International Development Conference was held at the London Fire Brigade HQ on 1st November 2019.

The conference was opened by Jim Fitzpatrick MP who is the Chair of FIRE AID. The conference had discussions on the importance of supporting Fire and Rescue Charities, the importance of data and research in post-crash response and working in partnership to improve post-crash response.

FIRE AID is a charity which provides ethical and sustainable donations of fire and rescue equipment and training to over 50 countries across the world.

Lord Sheikh was invited to speak on his experience in Tajikistan when he visited the Republican Fire Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan alongside His Excellency Mr Matthew Lawson, the British Ambassador to Tajikistan to close the latest FIRE AID project.

 

Memorial for the Late Lord Adam Patel of Blackburn

Lord Sheikh, alongside Baroness Uddin, arranged a remembrance meeting to celebrate the life, achievements and legacy of the late Lord Adam Patel of Blackburn.

The meeting was held on Wednesday 30th October 2019 in the River Room in the House of Lords.

Lord Sheikh and Baroness Uddin were joined by members of Lord Adam Patel’s family, fellow Parliamentarians and others who knew him.

 

There were a number of heartfelt speeches given by the following:

Baroness Smith of Basildon, Shadow Leader of the House of Lords

Kate Hollern MP for Blackburn

Dr Al-Dubayan, Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre and London Central Mosque

Lord Dholakia

Baroness Warsi

Dr Syed Mohiud-din MBE, British Hajj Delegation

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari MBE DL, Muslim Council of Britain

Baroness Uddin

 

Members of the Late Lord Adam Patel’s family also participated in the proceedings: his grandsons, Mr Faris Seth and Mr Umar Patel recited from the Holy Qu’ran and his son, Hon Ilyas Patel spoke. The Master of Ceremony was Mr Ahmed Azam.

During his speech, Lord Sheikh spoke of how he would remember the Late Lord Adam Patel. He included anecdotes and reflected on the Late Lord Adam Patel’s achievements and his dedication to Islam and social cohesion in British society. Lord Sheikh stressed that Late Lord Adam Patel was indeed a pioneer and a true role model.

 

Overseas Aid: Charities and Faith-based Organisations

My Lords, I am pleased to speak briefly in the gap. I begin by saying that I, with my close family and friends, have our own charity, which is entirely funded by us. In addition, I am a patron of two charities. Muslims all over the world believe in helping people who are less fortunate than ourselves. Muslims also believe that we have a moral duty to support charitable organisations through giving our time and resources wherever possible. I am sure everyone agrees there is a great deal of pleasure in giving, as both the donor and the recipient gain satisfaction.

There are many Muslim charities that are based in the United Kingdom. UK Muslims gave over £100 million to charity during the month of Ramadan last year. That is £38 a second. Muslim charities help deserving causes in the United Kingdom and provide support and assistance in overseas countries. Some of these countries have been affected by war; others are affected by famine, climate change or natural disasters. These charities perform splendid work in providing water, shelter and food. They are also involved in helping people to earn a living. I feel that charities should get involved in the education of young people and the training of people generally in order to make them self-sufficient.

I would like to emphasise that Muslim charities help to support and provide aid to non-Muslims as well as Muslims. They support people of all races, colours and religions all over the world. This fact needs to be appreciated, as it sets out the philosophy of the Muslim charities. I have connections to several Muslim charities and know the trustees and senior executives. There are charities that have been doing remarkable work, going back to the early 1980s. It is the faith of the Muslims, and we believe that faith is the fourth emergency service. Individuals have shown a willingness to volunteer time, professionalism and extend friendship. While the giving of charity is part of the Islamic faith, most Muslims will give charity with humility. Muslims believe in discretion, and we feel that the left hand should not know what the right hand gives.

I would also like to state that Muslim charities are the bedrock of their local communities and help whenever there are problems in the UK. For example, after the Grenfell tragedy, Muslim charities played a vital role in helping the people who were affected. I would like to add that at the charities with which I am connected there is proper governance, accountability and transparency in every aspect of their work. These charities have controlled their expenses and put into practice proper safeguards, which are implemented at all times. I was very pleased that a recent event organised with Islamic Relief that I hosted in the House of Lords was attended by the Secretary of State from the Department for International Development and the Minister. DfID has provided support to Islamic Relief under the UK aid match programme. I would like to ask the Minister: is DfID willing to accept applications from suitable Muslim charities for similar support? 

Lord Bates The Minister of State, Department for International Development:

The noble Lord, Lord Sheikh, talked about the generosity of Muslim charities. I attended the wonderful event in the River Room. In one of those amazing juxtapositions, in the space of one week I went from announcing an aid match for the Lent appeal for Christian Aid to doing to the same for CAFOD. I then went to the launch of Islamic Relief, involving zakat. We were UK aid-matching them all. The first time I heard that £100 million had been given in one month by the Muslim community of Britain, I had to double-check it. I thought, “Surely there’s an extra nought on the end”, but the figure is absolutely correct. I do not know why we do not hear more in the media about our British Muslim community. It is the most generous of the faith communities in the United Kingdom and we are incredibly proud of the contribution that it makes to this great country.

Link to full debate on Hansard

Life, Times and Writings of Baba Bulleh Shah

Lord Sheikh hosted an event to celebrate the life, times and writings of Baba Bulleh Shah at the Nehru Centre. Lord Sheikh does follow the philosophy of Baba Bulleh Shah who said that there should be no discrimination of race, colour, cast or creed.

There were recitals of his poems and also singing of his work. There was playing of harmonium and tabna and also speeches on the Baba. Participation at the event was by people who are Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.

Baba Bulleh Shah is also called ‘King of Sufi poetry’. He was a humanist, Sufi poet, philosopher and teacher and he is truly a legend. Bulleh Shah lived during the same period as of Sindhi Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. His lifetime also extended with the Punjabi poet Waris Shah of Heer Ranjha fame, and the Sindhi Sufi poet Sachal Sarmast. His poetry has been admirably sung by every genre of singer like street- singers, to legends like Abida Parveen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sain Zahoor, and Waddali Brothers, UK based Asian artists, and Pakistani rock band Junoon, has sung Bulleh Shah’s Kafi in a beautiful manner. Some of Bulleh Shah’s verses, including “Tere Ishq Nachaya”, have been adapted and used in Bollywood film songs including “Chaiyya Chaiyya” and “Thayya Thayya”.

Lord Sheikh spoke about his reason for hosting the meeting: more people should celebrate the Baba’s writings as there are more similarities between people than differences and we need to emphasise the similarities. Lord Sheikh has always been fascinated by Baba Bulleh shah and noted that his writings still speak to many different people and they are appreciated by all religions, including: Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Christians. Indeed, even people of no religious denomination have an affinity to the Baba. Lord Sheikh stated that he believes that everyone can take something from Baba Bulleh Shah’s writings and that his poetry can be used as guidance, as well as refuge in the world we live in today.

 

 

 

 

Interfaith Meeting to condemn the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka

Lord Sheikh, in conjunction with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Manisha Gunasekera, hosted an interfaith meeting in the River Room in the House of Lords to condemn the atrocities of the East Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka and show solidarity with all the communities.

The meeting allowed the members and leaders of various communities to unite and join hands to face evil and establish solidarity against bigotry, extremism and terrorism of any sort wherever it may occur.

Attendees of the meeting all stood together to condemn the actions of the perpetrators as ‘not in our name’. Guests and speakers alike expressed the view that what they have done should not result in any division or animosity within the communities in the UK, Sri Lanka and in fact, throughout the world.

Lord Sheikh spoke of the support lent to Sri Lanka by the UK government by the dispatch of a Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command specialist team and Family Liaison Officers. Lord Sheikh also emphasised that the actions of the perpetrators were go against the teachings in the Holy Quran and are un-Islamic.

Her Excellency, Manisha Gunasekera, High Commissioner Sri Lanka also spoke at the meeting. The High Commissioner stressed that Sri Lanka is fundamentally multi-faith and commended the Sri Lankan community for standing in solidarity in the aftermath of the attacks.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Faith and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales also spoke and emphasised that all faiths and communities across the world should unite against such attacks.

Other speakers at the meeting included:

Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, former Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Joint with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Afzal Khan MP, Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration). Catherine West MP Seema Malhotra MP Virender Sharma MP The Lord Dholokia, Co-Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Peers The Rt Hon. the Lord Paul Bishop of Westminster, Bishop John Wilson Reverend Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker House of Commons Venerable Seelawimala Bogoda Rabbi David Mason, on behalf of the Chief Rabbi Reverend Father Sudham Perera Dr Richard Sudworth, Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury Krishan Kant Attri Hindu Chaplain (Army) Dr Al Dubayan, Director General of the London Central Mosque Trust and The Islamic Cultural Centre Imam Qasim, founder and chairman of Al-Khair, Foundation.

 

#No2H8 Crime awards 2018

Lord Sheikh was pleased to speak at this event and present the Sheikh Abdullah Award for Intercultural Dialogue.

The Sheikh Abdullah Award for Intercultural Dialogue work is supported by Lord Sheikh in honour of his father, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah of Mbale, Uganda. This award reflects Sheikh Abdullah’s ability to be successful in spite of adversity and multiple barriers in starting life in a new country.

The Sheikh Abdullah Award for Intercultural Dialogue 2018 was presented to: Ravinder Singh, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust Charity and Fernando Sulichin.

China UK International Music Festival Press Conference

Lord Sheikh hosted the China UK International Music Festival press conference for the Chinese Information and Advice Centre.

The China UK international Music Festival involves music competitions, concerts and music workshops to encourage cultural cooperation and communication between the United Kingdom and China. The juries and guests are all of high international reputations and the festival will be one of the highlights of the Sino-British international cultural exchange in 2019.

Lord Sheikh said he was sure that the festival would be a great success and produce some excellent winners.

FMO Youth & Community Awards Leicester

Lord Sheikh travelled up to Leicester to attend the Federation of Muslim Organisations Youth & Community Awards. The awards highlighted and acknowledged the considerable achievements of young Muslims and those working in the community in various fields of endeavour across the country.

Lord Sheikh was asked to present several awards to the winners. There were over 1000 persons in attendance.