Local Time

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Muslims Celebrate the Best of Britain

Islam Awareness Week (Monday 17 November Sunday 23 November 2008)
Press Release
Sunday 16 November 2008

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) is a national initiative aimed at removing misconceptions and building links between communities. The week brings together the collective efforts of individuals and organisations from across the United Kingdom to enhance understanding of one another.

It is often said that we dont realise how good something is until it is gone. The grass always seems greener on the other side but is it really? Britain today is one of the best countries in the world to live in; but if you were to read our national newspapers every day, it might not seem that way. Said Tahmina Saleem, National Coordinator, Islam Awareness Week.

So, for Islam Awareness Week this year we are asking people to come and join us in celebrating whats great about Britain. It can be our institutions, traditions, places, habits, literature or even countryside. The IAW Best of Britain Online Survey revealed today that the most popular response by British Muslims on what they liked best about Britain was Freedom followed by Diversity, Legal and Political Rights, Education, and the Environment.

Several resources on the theme have been produced including an exhibition and leaflet. Also the IAW Barnardos Open Eyes Schools Competition is running for a second year.

Dawud Wharnsby the Canadian singer-songwriter and his American colleague Idris Philips are undertaking a tour as part of Islam Awareness Week for the third year running. They will take an inspirational message of shared value to thousands of young people and their communities, visiting London, Birmingham, Leicester, Sheffield and Bradford with presentations in over 60 school and community performances.

The official launch of Islam Awareness Week, will take place at the Jubilee Room, Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament on Monday 17 November 2008. A specially commissioned film for IAW on the Best of Britain and Shared Values will be viewed. The film allows us to hear the voices of three ordinary British Muslims with their perspective on life in Britain. The event will also see us launching a new and unique interactive experience on Islam for schools.

Islam Awareness Week is all about dialogue and developing links within communities, I am thrilled that uptake has increased once more - this is particularly evident amongst local authorities such as Camden, Birmingham, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Bradford, Waltham Forest and Redbridge who are taking a lead in engaging effectively with all their communities around the theme of shared values. Said Zahoor Qurashi, President, the Islamic Society of Britain.

Commenting on the Islam Awareness Week Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the Secretary General of Muslim Council of Britain, said, Since 1994 this week has been a wonderful opportunity for Muslims to build bridges among communities and reinforce the commitment to work for the common good of all.

[ENDS]

Note for Editors:

1. Program for Mon 17 Nov launch at the Houses of Parliament: 10.00 - Arrival /registration; 10.15- Dr Zahoor Qurashi - Launch of webpage for schools; 10.30 IAW 2008; 10.45 Film / Shared Values; 10.55- Shahid Malik, Minister for Justice: Celebrating the Best of Britain, promoting shared values; 11.10 Dr Hany El Banna, Islamic Relief; 11.15 Q &A; 11.35 networking.

2. The IAW film on Shared Values stars three ordinary young Muslims Errum, Furdosa and Muhbeen, with a refreshing insight into the lives of ordinary Muslims. The film is strictly for IAW use only. There is no permission for further dissemination of this product or for using the material for any other purpose for instance in offering it for exhibition on domestic or overseas media channels.

3. View the new interactive IAW Webpage for Schools at: www.iaw-schools.org.uk

4. To reserve a place at the Mon 17 Nov press conference or for further information please contact Kareem Sabbour on 0845 087 8766 / 020 7247 8088.

5. The IAW Best of British Survey top six results: Freedom (12.8%), Diversity (8.9%), Legal and Political Rights (8.3%), Education (7.4%), Environment (6.1%), Order (6.1%)

6. As part of the Open Eyes sponsorship competition children have to find key objects listed or complete fact finding exercises in order to help raise money for Barnardos and a locally selected childrens charity (65% of funds raised for Barnardos and 35% for the local charity).The school that raises the most money will win over 400 worth of RE resources for their school (sponsored by the Muslim Council of Britain).

7. In 2006 Dawud Wharnsby & Idris Phillips began touring regularly as a duo. Their first album together entitled 'Out Seeing The Fields' was released in 2007 - with more collaborative and solo work in production www.wharnsby.com

8. Islam Awareness Week was initiated in 1994 as a national project of the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB). With activities in over 30 local towns across the UK, the week aims to help remove misconceptions about Islam and to increase understanding amongst local communities. www.iaw.org.uk

9. The Islamic Society of Britain is a democratic, national, voluntary organisation committed to a strong Britain through the promotion of Islamic teachings. www.isb.org.uk

10. ISB is an affiliate of The Muslim Council of Britain. www.mcb.org.uk

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