LONDON – The forward-thinking law firm Norton Rose Fullbright hosted an event on Sunday bringing most of the professional British Muslim networks in London together for one night to discuss the path forward.
Much of the evening was subjected to Chatham House rules, where the information disclosed during the evening could be shared, but the source would remain anonymous. This was brought on board to allow participants to speak freely, on how we define where we are today, and where we are going. For the purposes of this article, a handful was happy to be quoted.
There is a general understanding that as British Muslims continue to make inroads as positive members of society, we must bridge the divide between how we interact in our professional lives, and how we translate those learned skills into lifting up our communities.
The UK is our home. Our neighbors are from different faiths and cultures. We are already part of our communities. How can we address and overcome negative stereotypes? What can we do personally, as well as professionally, to improve circumstances; not just for us as British Muslims, but for all British faith communities. Can we become leaders in breaking down barriers and delivering positive change?
“This conversation is long overdue. We have this opportunity now, let’s use it. For me, it’s about you guys. What we really want to do is open up and say, this is what’s happening. It’s not the kind of thing I can simply put on Facebook. It’s not the kind of thing to put in a broad newsletter. And when we send out e-mails, we often do not get feedback till we see you personally. To have you all here is an efficient way of getting feedback, rather than meeting you all on a one to one basis.”
“Most of the work that we are doing is really for the benefit of our networks, our staff, the firms that employ us, as well as the wider community, mankind as a whole. Not just Muslims.”
Syed Rahim, CUBE Network
“10 years on, 15 years on, what did we do to facilitate our future? Were we the bystanders, letting somebody else run the show? Or did we take the responsibility and say to ourselves, No, I am going to be that person who is going to be part of that change. We’re going to be those bridge builders, we’re going to be those change makers. The fact that all of us are here, it is probably the first step to recognize that yes, I do want that change, and I do want to shape that future.
“We as Muslims, we have nowhere to go. This is our home. We want to be active participants (in society) to shape (all of) our futures, not just Muslims, but wider society.”
Hamza Saghir, CUBE Network
“We have so many resources at our disposal. We have skills, we have talents, we have networks. My question now is, where is this all going? What do things look like in 10, 20, 30, 40 50, years down the line? Allah, swt, asks us in the Quran, Where are you going? – So where are you going? The words of the Almighty are the most powerful, and they really get us to think deeply about the direction we are going in.”
Iqbal Nasim, National Zakat Foundation