30 young secondary school students from Denmark visited the MCB on 1st October 2009 as part of a fact finding and learning visit to the UK. The pupils led by Johanne Larsen, Teacher of English and History of Religion at Rysensteen Gymnasium School in Copenhagen, are on a weeklong trip focusing on Muslims in the UK.
The project is part of a study the students are undertaking looking at multiculturalism in Denmark against the backdrop of growing `isolation' of Muslims in the country. They further interviewed Muslims from the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre and also visited Brick Lane in East London.
Hosting the meeting, Youth Committee Vice-Chair Kawsar Zaman, gave a presentation on the work of the MCB and Muslim life in the UK, followed by a lively and open Q&A session with the students.
Kawsar said: `it's very important we speak to young people to bring across the fact that Muslims are normal people who have contributed a lot to this country and many countries around the world. The increasing presence of the far-right in the UK such as 'Stop the Islamification of Europe' which has its origins in Denmark is an indication of the fact that we need to do more and be more pro-active in our efforts. It is contact and dialogue with others which breaks down barriers'.
Of the visit, Mrs Larsen said `it's the first organisation during our visit that we've managed to have a constructive discussion about Muslims. It's been a very educational experience for both students and teachers'.
Writing about his visit, Frederik, one of the students, said:
"Our class was very pleasantly surprised with the presentation, which widely broadened our view of the Muslim community in Britain and overall. No questions were avoided, and we felt comfortable pursuing knowledge about the organization, its purposes, and its opinion. As Danish students it was especially interesting to us to get an understanding of the Muslim community, which is much better represented in Britain than in Denmark. We were of course very affected by the cartoon-crisis, and even though we might have different opinion, it was nice to be able to get an understanding of the view of the Muslim community, well represented by the Muslim Council of Britain.
For more information:
The Muslim Council of Britain,
PO Box 57330,
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079