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Open letter to all Scottish political party leaders

Open letter to all Scottish political party leaders

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday June 23 2020

We, the undersigned, urge all of Scotland’s political parties to commit to taking tangible actions to address some of the issues raised by the recent findings of the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on tackling Islamophobia.

The CPG found some serious issues, namely that 83% of Muslims had experienced Islamophobia in Scotland, and 79% of Muslims feel Islamophobia is getting worse in Scotland. Additionally, a ComRes poll commissioned by MEND in 2018 found that nearly half of all Scottish people felt that there was more negative discrimination against Muslims than people of other faiths.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by academics from Newcastle University and the University of St Andrews found that young Muslims in Scotland identified active engagement with Scottish electoral politics as a core form of political participation, but that everyday experiences of Islamophobia and racism were a barrier to further engagement, with Islamophobia detrimentally impacting their confidence to play a more visible role in society.

It is thus sadly unsurprising, and concerning, that there are only two MSPs from Muslim backgrounds. 

We believe this needs to change with your help and support.

We believe that taking up the cause of increasing the representation of those from Muslim backgrounds in the Scottish Parliament would be a fundamental first step in sending a message that Muslim communities are an integral and valued part of Scottish society.

We thus call upon all political parties in Scotland to: 

  • Publicly acknowledge the manifestations of Islamophobia that result in the underrepresentation of Muslims within the political sphere, 
  •  Declares their commitment to tackling Islamophobia in all its forms, 
  • Clearly outline their proposed strategy to take appropriate action in improving Muslim representation during the upcoming election, including through placing more Muslim candidates in winnable seats.

Signed:

● Jawad Khursheed, Scotland Chair, MEND Scotland Muslim Engagement and Development 

● Dr Muhammad Rafiq Habib, Chair, Muslim Council Scotland 

● Mohamed Hashim, Assistant Director, Edinburgh Central Mosque 

● Shahid Hamid, Chairperson, Central Scotland Islamic Centre 

● Mohammad Ibrahim, Imam, Perth Mosque 

● Zubair Moqsud, Education Officer, Falkirk Mosque 

● Saleem Aslam, Chairman, Madrasa Taleem ul Islam 

● Azhar Ghafoor, Chairman, Blackhall Mosque 

● Azzam Mohammed Ahl Al Bait Society Scotland 

● Maaruf Razzak, Chair, Aberdeen Central Mosque 

● Sohail Ashraf, Committee Member, Lanarkshire Mosque 

● Mohammed Zoheeb Iqbal, Director, Al Falaah

● Masood M Qazi, Secretary, Islamic Centre Scotstoun 

● Mahmoud Nabawi, Branch Manager, Muslim Welfare House 

● Haq Ghani, Secretary General, Al Furqan Mosque 

● Professor A. Hussain, General Secretary, Woodfarm Education Centre 

● Imam Mohammed Mushtaq, Fife Muslim Educational and Cultural Centre 

● Raghad Altikriti, President, Muslim Association of Britain 

● Mohammed Razaq, Executive Director, West of Scotland Regional Equality Council 

● Colourful Heritage*

● Zahid Ali, Director, Scottish Muslim Media 

● Enam Ahmod, President, FOSIS UK & Ireland 

● Naariah Aftab, Chair, FOSIS Scotland 

● Monisah Hussain, President, Caledonian Islamic Society Association 

● Adeel Ahmed, Sports Coordinator, Robert Gordon University Islamic Society

● Esraa Abushaala, Chairwoman, Strathclyde University Islamic Society 

● Linta Binte Nasim, President, University of Edinburgh Islamic Society 

● Fahim Baqir, Chair, Well Foundation 

● Shazia Malik, Manager, ANSAR 

● Sarah Azkan, Charity Administrator, Asbaab Foundation 

● Mahmood Ullah, Chairperson, Amanah Trust 

● Tariq Iqbal, Executive Board Member, Scottish Communities Initiative 

● Stop the War Coalition Edinburgh Branch 

● Zahid Ali, Group Scout Leader, 8th Braid Salaam Scout Group 

● Chair, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities

*An earlier version of the article stated that Omar Shaikh had signed the article as the CEO of Colourful Heritage. That is incorrect, Colourful Heritage does not have a CEO, and the open letter was signed by the organisation rather than one individual.

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