Local Time

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Press Release from T H E M U S L I M C O U N C I L O F B R I T A I N

11 September 2006

Press Release

TUC General Council statement jointly with the Muslim Council of Britain

The TUC and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have today (Monday)
published a joint statement pledging to work together to encourage more
Muslims to join trade unions, encourage better community relations and
combat Islamophobia, both within workplaces and in society at large.

Commenting on the statement and on his speech to the 138th TUC Congress in
Brighton, Secretary General of the MCB, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said:

"The MCB and the TUC have a shared belief in justice, equality and
opposition to prejudice. We seek to work in partnership with the TUC and
through its networks to enhance an awareness of Islam and counter widespread
misunderstandings of how the religion relates to modern society. We will
also be using our own networks to raise awareness within the Muslim
community of the values of union membership and the very important role
which unions have in seeking justice and fair treatment in the workplace and
in wider society."

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

"The TUC looks forward to working with the MCB to encourage more Muslim
employees to become union members. Belonging to a union is the best
protection an individual can have against prejudice and exploitation at
work. We will also be looking at ways of promoting a greater understanding
of Islam and to do all we can to combat the hatred currently being stirred
up by extremists who are seeking to drive a wedge between the UK's many

The full text of the joint statement appears below:

The TUC and the Muslim Council of Britain will work together in support of
workplace justice and against Islamophobia.

The TUC and the Muslim Council of Britain make this joint commitment to work
together on issues of common concern in the belief that by combining
together we will be able to achieve more towards those objectives we share
in common than we can do by acting alone.

Our two organisations may have different origins but we share many important
common goals and beliefs.

The Muslim Council of Britain is an umbrella organisation which brings
together hundreds of faith organisations across Britain, all representing
members of one of the world's great religions. The Council's aims are to
benefit members of the Muslim community and promote a greater understanding
of that community within society as a whole whilst working towards the
common good of all. It seeks the eradication of disadvantage and
discrimination and the betterment of community relations.

The TUC is a non-religious organisation, bringing together unions whose
members include people of different religions and none. It speaks on behalf
of people at work and campaigns for workplace justice. It is committed to
the promotion of equality for all and the elimination of all forms of
harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination.

Our two organisations respect our differences and recognise everyone's right
to hold their own beliefs but we share the view that they must do so in a
way that respects others' rights and does not impose their beliefs or
lifestyle on others.

The shared belief of the MCB and TUC in justice, equality and opposition to
prejudice is matched by our belief that these objectives can be better
achieved in the workplace by a framework of legislation that provides for
workplace justice and by workers joining together in independent trade
unions. We believe it is in the interests of workers to join the appropriate
trade union at their workplace and that employers should recognise such

We do not underestimate the scale of the challenge facing us today.

The TUC report Poverty, Exclusion and British People of Pakistani and
Bangladeshi Origin published in 2005 demonstrated that many people from
substantial parts of the Muslim community suffer massive disadvantage and
discrimination: 69 per cent classified as poor compared with 22 per cent of
the country as a whole. Overall British Muslims are three times more likely
to be unemployed than the population as a whole.

Islamophobia is a real and present threat, fuelled by misunderstandings,
prejudice and the characterisation of whole communities because of a small
number of dangerous extremists and a loud but tiny fringe made larger than
life by some sensation mongering and self-fulfilling reporting in some parts
of the media. Such groups threaten their own communities just as they
threaten society at large.

Whilst much reporting, especially in the immediate aftermath of the 7 July
2005 bomb attacks, has been sensitive and emphasised the strength of society
achieved through diversity, there have been too many examples of
stereotyping, prejudice and even incitement in the media's handling of
community relations.

The rise of the far right and electoral successes of the BNP, sometimes
through the exploitation of heightened feelings of deprivation and
discontent amongst certain white groups, are alarming features of recent
years and we commit ourselves to work together to address both the problems
faced by these groups as well as counter the political exploitation of this

In order to develop our joint working we will continue with a regular
dialogue between our two organisations and look to go beyond this framework
through more detailed contacts and jointly organised events for members of
our two organisations.

The TUC will use its networks to counter widespread misunderstanding of
Islam and the way the religion relates to modern society, whilst the MCB
will use its networks to raise awareness within the Muslim community of the
values of union membership and the important role which unions have in
seeking justice and fair treatment in the workplace and in wider society.


Notes to Editors:

The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's representative Muslim umbrella
body with over 400 affiliated national, regional and local organisations,
mosques, charities and schools.

For further information please contact: The Muslim Council of Britain,
Boardman House, 64 Broadway, Stratford, London E15 1NT.
Tel: 07956 353 738 or 020 8432 0585/6, Fax: 0208 432 0587,


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