RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION
AGM 2009 Report
Sponsoring academic research - ReDoc has been raising funds every year as part-payment of the academic fees and expenses for a PhD student at Kings College, London on a topic of strategic importance to Muslims in Britain 'The teaching of History in the National Curriculum and the impact on the self-esteem of Muslim boys' conducted by Matthew Tariq Wilkinson. ReDoc has also facilitated access to Muslim faith schools for the researcher. The funding has been proceeding for three years and the research is due for completion in 2010 inshaAllah. There is scope for continuing the work to a post-doctoral level, subject to funding availability.
Seminars - ReDoc organised two seminars in the year. In July 2009 Dr Jibril Oyekan provided a briefing on Muslims in Nigeria, and in December 2010 Dr Fiona Littleton presented her research on references to the Crusades in history textbooks.
MCB On-line library - ReDoc has established a section on the MCB website that lists recent books, reports and studies relating to Muslims in Britain, including an Internet link where available and a short summary. Its purpose is to create a sign-posting service and resource centre for use by students, researchers and journalists. It includes on-going research as well as recently completed studies. The link for this section is http://www.mcb.org.uk/library/studies.php
Representation on Census issues - ReDoc has served as the main point of contact for the MCB in dealings with the Office for National Statistics with reference to the decennial Census. Following the previous Government's decision to suspend relationships with the MCB in early 2009, the ReDoc representative Dr (Jamil Sherif) was 'disinvited' by the ONS to attend the quarterly Census Consultation meetings, though he was welcomed in an individual capacity. This kind offer was not taken up by ReDoc. The MCB will resume participation on receipt of a letter of invitation from the ONS.
Liaison with Trade Unions - ReDoc serves as the main point of contact with the office of the TUC's General Secretary. There are meetings approximately once a quarter to exchange information and review joint activities. The MCB and TUC engage with each other on the basis of shared values of solidarity and social justice. During Ramadan 2009, interviews with Brendan Barber and Dr Abdul Bari were broadcast on six Radio Ramadan stations. ReDoc has also encouraged the 'Developing Brighter Futures' (DBF) project in Luton. DBF has organised and delivered a series of seminars to promote trade union awareness and general civil society engagement within the Muslim community and there is scope for its adoption in other parts of the UK.
Facilitating civil society networks -ReDoc facilitated the establishment of a network of young lawyers who were interested in examining and documenting anti-terrorism arrests and the implications on civil liberties. The network had access to the MCB board room for their meetings. Their report is expected in 2010.
Protocols for handling researchers' enquiries - The MCB receives very many requests for interviews from academic researchers. To ensure adequate audit trails in this area, ReDoc has formalised the process by which MCB responds to academic researchers' queries. These include obtaining formal requests from the student's head of department, the signing of an ethical statement and a commitment to share the completed research findings.