Lord Sheikh signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in the House of Lords.
He said that we should all get together to combat anti-Semitism which is creeping into the country. He made the point that we should never forget the inhumane and terrible treatment of the people who suffered during the Holocaust and we should never let this happen again against any community.
There will be an inaugural meeting for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance held on Tuesday 4th February in the Grimond Room in Portcullis House at 4pm.
At the meeting, the office bearers will be elected and a brief plan for the Group’s activities in the coming year will be put forward.
The purpose of the APPGIF is to give the Islamic finance industry a voice in Parliament; to address issues as they arise such as Sukuk issuances, inclusivity, regulation and taxation whilst positioning the UK as the European hub of Islamic financial services, and also to play a wider role in promoting ethical finance. The Group is a robust body and has enjoyed cross-party support and in addition there are over 90 stakeholders.
Please note this meeting is to reconstitute the Group after the formation of the new Parliament and is for Parliamentarians only.
Lord Sheikh hosted the Third China UK International Music Festival press conference for the Chinese Information and Advice Centre in the House of Lords.
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 festival aims to share Chinese culture as well as encourage the musicians to improve their skills and be recognised.
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 2020.
Lord Sheikh thoroughly enjoys listening to Chinese music and said he was sure that the festival will be a great success and produce some excellent winners.
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.
Lord Sheikh had the pleasure of receiving the Outstanding Friend to the British Sri Lankan Community Award from the British Sri Lankan Association on 19th October 2019.
The British Sri Lankan Association is a non-profit organisation which aims to empower the British and Sri Lankan communities and facilitate a society that is cohesive, fair and prosperous. The Association seeks to build partnerships and ties between the UK and Sri Lanka in the areas of economics, education, environment and health.
Lord Sheikh is a friend of Sri Lanka and has visited the country three times. He works hard to promote relations between the UK and Sri Lanka.
Lord Sheikh made a speech at the event which highlighted his connection with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London, Her Excellency Ms Manisha Gunasekera, and the good work she undertakes in her role as High Commissioner.
Lord Sheikh once again paid tribute to the victims of the devastating attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka earlier this year and denounced the actions as not in our name. He acknowledged the presence of Father Fernandes at the event. Lord Sheikh also spoke on the importance of interfaith dialogue and the need to promote peace and harmony amongst various racial and religious groups. He stressed that everyone should recognise the similarities and we share and focus on what unites us.
Lord Sheikh referred to Sri Lanka’s remarkable economic progress and the Sri Lankan trade conference held on Wednesday 9th October in the London Stock Exchange. He noted the unique relationship between the UK and Sri Lanka and how there are many opportunities to strengthen trade linkages between the countries.
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.
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
Dr Syed Mohiud-din MBE, British Hajj Delegation
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari MBE DL, Muslim Council of Britain
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.
Lord Sheikh attended and spoke at the British Caterers Association Awards Dinner 2019. Lord Sheikh was pleased to present the award and congratulate the winner.
Lord Sheikh hosted the British Community Honours Awards 2019 on Friday 18th October 2019 in the House of Lords. He was also the Guest of Honour.
The British Community Honours Awards are presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the welfare and integration of the British minority communities within the wider British society and those who have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen.
The British Community Honours Awards is an organisation founded by Yasmin Sheikh CBE in 2001 as a means to highlight the success of the British Muslims who had received awards from Her Majesty the Queen. Lord Sheikh himself was a recipient of the award when he was appointed a member of the House of Lords by the Conservative Party.
2010, Yasmin Sheikh renamed the organisation as the British Community Honours Award to reflect the importance of community in the wider British society. The community awards therefore recognise individuals who have worked to improve the welfare and inclusion of all minority groups within British society.
Lord Sheikh congratulated the recipients of the Queen’s Honours and the winners of the British Community Honours Awards for their marvellous undertakings in the community.
Lord Sheikh then spoke of the importance of integration and social cohesion and the need for there to be better understanding between all the communities in the United Kingdom and in fact everywhere in the world. He stressed that there are more similarities than differences between people and the spirit of togetherness must be cherished and protected. Lord Sheikh is a Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community and a patron of several charities that promote interfaith dialogue. He spoke of his work in interfaith dialogue and promote peace and harmony amongst various racial and religious groups and that more needs to be done to tackle discrimination and improve dialogue between all communities.
Lord Sheikh attended and spoke at the Second Afghanistan-UK Business Conference held in London on Monday 14th October 2019.
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the United Kingdom organised the conference in cooperation with International Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan and International Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom. The conference was a unique platform for networking and to strengthen the trade links between Afghanistan and the UK, especially British investment in Afghanistan.
The conference was very well attended.
Lord Sheikh spoke on the subjects of banking and insurance. He referred to the bilateral trade relationships between the UK and Afghanistan and spoke on the development and establishment of Islamic Finance and Insurance activities in Afghanistan.
Lord Sheikh spoke of his background in the financial services and noted the good relationship the UK has with Afghanistan. He encouraged attendees to support Afghan trade, especially in light of Brexit. He appreciated that more needs to be done to encourage a strong business environment in Afghanistan and improve issues relating to security.
Lord Sheikh advised that he co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance in the British Parliament which is a robust Group with a lot of support. He also stated that London has the largest Islamic finance market outside the Muslim world and has assets of Islamic finance which exceed $20 billion. Therefore, the UK can play a vital role in the establishment and expansion of these activities in Afghanistan in a number of ways.
Lord Sheikh concluded by stating that he hopes that the conference will be productive and that the UK and Afghanistan can work together to promote more business activities in all walks of life and attract investments into Afghanistan.