Distinguished Guests, Friends and Colleagues,
In the name of God, the Beneficent and Most Merciful
Asalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
I am profoundly honoured and delighted to share my thoughts with you on this important occasion. The Muslim Council of Britain as a national umbrella body of the Muslim community has since its inception worked very closely with Muslim and non-Muslim humanitarian agencies. It is particularly pleasing to see our founder member and our affiliate Interpal hosting this event. Today we share your greatest hopes and aspirations.
This initiative for peace and development in Palestine which we are launching today is a ground-breaking initiative which could not have come at a better time.
By the sheer scale of its intent and purpose it is not one that can be achieved single-handedly. I therefore salute all the various institutions who have decided to work together as partners to realize the objectives of this initiative.
With the passing of each new day, the challenges for justice, peace and development in Palestine become ever more urgent. The world's major donor countries as well as inter-governmental agencies experience increasing difficulty in meeting targets and demands. As we meet today most of the funds disbursed to Palestine are diverted into relief operations. Economic and social development is effectively at a standstill. If things continue as they are Palestine would remain locked in a mode of stagnation, under-development and poverty.
I am sure there is no doubt in any of our minds that the failure to resolve the conflict in accord with international law has increasingly polarised and threatened our world with instability and mayhem. We have thus reached the stage where all are consumed and none are protected.
Friends, the Muslim Council of Britain commends all those who have been involved in preparing and developing this initiative. I am heartened with the positive comments made by speakers earlier, aware that many hours of research, thought, and discussion have informed and driven this effort through its various stages.
Notwithstanding past difficulties, the greater tests are yet to come. While you have done eminently well to get this far, the real challenges of implementation lie ahead.
How do we ensure that this initiative succeeds? By being faithful to its letter and spirit and recalling at all times the noble end for which we strive.
In the end, no effort and sacrifice should be spared to ensure to bring about meaningful change to the lives of millions of people haunted by this terrible conflict. We wish you every success in all your undertakings.