Category: House of Lords

‘Belt and Road Initiative’ Launch

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.

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.

 

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.

 

British Community Honours Awards 2019

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.

 

 

The Gatehouse Bank Islamic Finance Consumer Report 2019

Lord Sheikh hosted the launch of Gatehouse Bank’s Islamic Finance Consumer Report 2019 in the House of Lords’ Archbishop’s Room. The report looks at Muslim awareness, usage and perceptions in Islamic Finance in the UK.

The event was very well attended with a number of All-Party Parliamentary Group members and stakeholders, as well as Islamic finance industry representatives and members of the Muslim community.

Conservative Muslim Forum – Cousin Marriages

On behalf of the Conservative Muslim Forum, Lord Sheikh hosted an event in the House of Lords on the subject of cousin marriages. The various speakers talked about the issues relating to these marriages and it was made clear that it was not the Conservative Muslim Forum’s intention to discourage people entering into these marriages but to educate.

Meeting on Uganda in the House of Lords

Lord Sheikh hosted a meeting on behalf of the Conservative Foreign and Commonwealth Council to talk on the Pearl of Africa (Uganda).

The meeting was very well attended. Parliamentarians including Pauline Latham MP, Lord Popat and various members of the community attended. His Excellency Mr Julius Peter Moto, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda, was Chief Guest at the meeting and spoke at the event.

The meeting sought to talk about and promote the good stories of Uganda.

Lord Sheikh spoke on his own personal relationship with Uganda, the present environment in Uganda, the UK’s historical and current relationship with Uganda as well as trade between the UK and Uganda.

The below pictures show Lord Sheikh presenting His Excellency Mr Julius Peter Moto, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda, on behalf of the Council.

 

Parliamentary Eid Reception

Lord Sheikh hosted Islamic Relief’s Eid Reception in the House of Lords. The reception was held on 26th June 2018 in the River Room of the House of Lords and was very well attended.

Lord Sheikh  mentioned, “Most Muslims all over the world believe in helping people who are less fortunate than themselves. There are many Muslim charities which are based in the United Kingdom. UK Muslims gave 100 million pounds to charities during Ramadan last year. That’s £38 pounds a second.”

Talking about Ramadan, Zakat and Islamic duty, Lord Sheikh also said, “It is compulsory for us to give Zakat. It is of course the third pillar of Islam. We also like to help others. Although Muslims donate to charities at all times, during the month of Ramadan, the contributions tend to be large and generous.”

Penny Mordaunt, MP, Secretary of State for International Development (DFID) was the keynote speaker and wished ‘all a belated Eid Mubarak.’ She said, “I hope you were able to spend the day with your families and loved ones. And that you were able to reflect on the sacrifices you made and the good you have done during the month of Ramadan.”

 

 

Contributions of the Ethnic Minorities

My Lords, I recently spoke in your Lordships’ House on issues currently facing British Muslim communities following Her Majesty’s most gracious Speech. I briefly touched on the positive contributions made by Muslims in the United Kingdom. I shall expand on this. I am chairman of four companies. I am also the president of the Conservative Muslim Forum and have been involved extensively in both community and charitable work. My thoughts reflect my own experiences and findings.

My glorious religion has been hijacked by a tiny minority who are totally distorting the image of Islam and understanding of Islam. Unfortunately, as a result the entire Muslim community is in some circles tarred with the same brush. There are over 3 million Muslims in the United Kingdom and they have contributed significantly in all walks of life. We are currently commemorating the centenary of the First World War. Over 400,000 Muslims fought in the war. The first Victoria Cross awarded to a non-white person went to a Muslim named Khudadad Khan. I invited his grandson to an event that I hosted recently. Muslims also took part in the Second World War. This includes members of my own family. Muslims have therefore been actively involved in loyally serving the King and the Empire.

I am the joint treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces and very close to the Armed Forces Muslim Association. Muslims are represented in all three services of our Armed Forces. They have held and continue to hold senior positions, and include one rear-admiral, two group captains and a lieutenant-colonel.

I am co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance and Diversity in Financial Markets and a patron of the Islamic Finance Council UK. The United Kingdom has the biggest centre for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world. The UK’s Sharia-compliant assets exceed £20 billion. The Islamic finance industry therefore generates considerable revenue for the country and provides employment. It also gives us a high standing in the enormous and growing market for Islamic finance across the world.

I am co-president of the British Curry Catering Industry All-Party Parliamentary Group and a vice-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh. There are over 12,000 British Bangladeshi restaurants and takeaway places in the United Kingdom. This curry industry, owned mainly by Muslims, employs over 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of nearly £5 billion.

There have been great Muslim dynasties, notably the Umayyad and the Abbasid. Muslims at that time led the world in various fields, including mathematics, science, astronomy and medical knowledge. These attributes are in the DNA of Muslims. There are now a significant number of Muslim doctors who work in the United Kingdom and make a valuable contribution to the health and well-being of the country. Also, many Muslims are successful bankers and accountants. My own brother qualified as a chartered accountant and was very successful in his field. Muslims have also done well on the sports field. There are a number who have excelled, including Mo Farah in athletics, Moeen Ali in cricket and Amir Khan in boxing. We also have successful Muslim media figures, such as Mishal Husain, Asad Ahmad and Mehdi Hasan.

When I became a Member of your Lordships’ House, I took the title of Baron Sheikh, of Cornhill in the City of London, because of my strong connections with the City. I have met many Muslim entrepreneurs who have created thriving businesses. They have generated income for the country, provided employment and furthered our trade. There is also wider Muslim representation in both your Lordships’ House and in the other place. There has recently been a fresh intake following the general election.

Some 33% of Muslims are aged 15 years or under. This youthful population is a strategic asset at a time of an ageing population and will be economically active in the future labour market. Encouragingly, 73% of Muslims here state that their only national identity is British. I hope and believe that the Muslim community will continue to play a significant part in our country’s future.

The speech made by the noble Baroness, Lady Flather, was in some parts unfair and irrelevant, and will not help community cohesion in this country.