Bismillah arrahman arraheem. Assalaamun Alaikum.
Ramadan Kareem to all of you.
At the outset I would like to thank Cllr Khalid Noor for his kind invitation to attend this Iftar event virtually and for asking me to say a few words.
There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world of different sects but we all believe in the five pillars of Islam, one of which is fasting in the month of Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan however enables us to purify our minds and bodies as our body and mind are thinking of fasting.
We learn to develop self-control and be thankful to Allah for his divine mercy.
During the month of Ramadan, the words of the Holy Koran, commanded by Allah subhana wata’ala, were first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by Angel Jibreel.
The first word revealed by Angel Jibreel was the word “Iqra” which means read. It also means knowledge and education.
I would like to say that word “Iqra” is in fact my motto.
As a member of House of Lords, I have a right to have my own Court of Arms and the word “Iqra” appears on my Court of Arms.
Ramadan is also a month of forgiveness and giving of charity as it is compulsory for Muslims to give zakat, which is the third pillar of Islam.
UK Muslims gave £150 million to charity during Ramadan last year.
I made this point in one of my speeches in the House of Lords and the Minister.
I would like to commend Cllr Khalid Noor for establishing the Muslim Professional Forum.
There are over two and half millions Muslims and we have done well in every walk of life.
Part of my brief is to talk about current work dedicated to Muslims and the BAME community.
I was the first Muslim to be appointed a Peer by the Conservative Party. I established the Conservative Muslim Forum. I am now its President.
I organised for House of Lords to give us Muslims a separate prayer room and we have been holding Jumma prayers in the House of Lords.
I established the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance which is supported by numerous Parliamentarians and over 100 stakeholders.
I speak regularly on a number of subjects but importantly I have quoted the Holy Quran and the sayings of Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him.
Nothing like this had been done before.
During the pandemic I made the point in the House of Lords that the Muslims and Muslim Charities have paid an active role in helping all the communities in various ways.
At the outset of the pandemic it was stated that everyone who died from Covid-19 may be cremated. I argued against this in the Chamber and had discussions with the Ministers.
I obtained an undertaking that this will not be done and Muslims will be buried.
There are a number of issues I have raised but finally I would like to talk about the Charity we have now formed which is called the National Muslim War Memorial Trust.
The initiative is supported by government and head of the British Army.
The objectives are the erection and maintenance of a war memorial to commemorate the services of the Muslim personal to Britain Armed Forces.
The second objective is to undertake an educational role to promote contributions of the Muslims
The contributions of the Muslims are not appreciated and we should all make efforts to do so.
We are looking for support from everyone, we have published a leaflet and also a have a website.
I will be happy to provide details to everyone to promote the Charity. Thank you.