The Muslim Council of Britain is calling on political parties and prospective candidates to commit to a set of pledges that would concern Muslim voters ahead of the General Election.
The MCB said the commitments – which include pledges on Islamophobia and an ethical foreign policy – were developed following extensive surveying its affiliates and amongst Muslim communities.
The pledges represent a consensus view, according to the MCB, of the key challenges facing British Muslim communities.
“While many British Muslims will be voting on a range of subjects including Brexit, health and the economy, the pledges prepared by the Muslim Council of Britain highlight issues facing British Muslims as a faith community. These include Islamophobia, religious liberty and keeping our places of worship safe,” the MCB said in a statement.
“As British Muslims prepare to vote, the Muslim Council of Britain will be running one of the country’s largest Muslim voter participation campaigns. It will be encouraging its affiliate network of mosques and associations to promote voter registration and ensure communities engage deeply with the election debate.”
MCB Secretary General, Harun Khan, added: “It is essential that British Muslims, alongside their fellow Britons, play a role in this generationally important election. The ongoing Islamophobia scandal in our country’s governing party, as well as cases of racism and discrimination across political divides, underscore this even more.
“Far from being a monolith, British Muslim communities have a range of concerns and priorities, and these election pledges will help them see who aligns with them – whichever party they belong to.”
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The pledges are:
1. Tackle Racism and Islamophobia
Adopt the APPG on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia across the UK, defining Islamophobia as being rooted in racism and as a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.
2. Religious Liberty
Defend the right of Muslims – and people of all faiths – to express their faith, be that in religious clothing, food and reasonable accommodation of religious observance.
3. Engagement with Muslim Communities
Commit to proactively engage with a broad and representative spectrum of British Muslim communities to ensure a plurality of views are being considered.
4. Safety at Places of Worship
Safeguard visitors at places of worship, by providing support and funding for any Muslim institutions to implement safety measures, in line with other faith groups.
5. Effective Health and Elderly Care Services
Focus policymaking on ensuring equity for all sections of society, recognising the gap in health and wellbeing standards, particularly between older and elderly Muslims and the general population.
Encourage the resettlement of refugees across the UK, working with communities to address and tackle issues faced by refugees resettling in Britain.
7. Full Economic, Social and Public Participation in British Life
Enhance democracy by enabling increased participation of minorities and women in politics and public life, addressing the underlying socio-economic challenges in place.
8. Criminal Justice
Address the disparity of treatment and outcomes for BAME people within the criminal justice system. Rebuild trust with Muslim communities by ensuring all counter-terror legislation is evidence-led, non-discriminatory, and open to evaluation.
9. Equality in Education
Ensure a fair approach to educational provision for all children, with a syllabus that reflects the diversity of communities, with appropriate parent involvement.
10. Ethical Foreign Policy
Support a binding recognition of Palestine as an independent and sovereign state, and address human rights abuses abroad, including in Kashmir, Xinjiang and Myanmar.