Iqbal has just returned from Istanbul where he attended the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting of Foreign Ministers from Muslim countries. `Turkey is a rapidly developing Muslim country and has a good blend of tradition and modernity. The people are very hospitable and generous, and eager to be part of the EU. However, my meetings with the various Ministers convinced me even more that the Muslims in Britain have a vital role to play in the future of international dialogue and development.' That's a rather heavy burden on this struggling community, I suggest to him. ` Maybe, but every cause needs it's foot-soldiers and the current situation requires Muslims to exert all their energies and talents into creating an environment that is conducive to peace and security, justice and stability.' Is that what the MCB's about? `Yes', he says,' and more. Every society needs to have these basics and every time I go abroad I am constantly made aware of the respect for the MCB and the expectation others have of us here oin Britain.'
|`In the MCB we believe in the common good that is the good of everyone in the UK, not just Muslims. Naturally, our first constituency is the Muslims. And we believe that promoting the interests of Muslims will make Britain a better society'
Perhaps it's this expectation, particularly from British Muslims, that drives Iqbal to devote endless hours to the MCB. No one can deny that his personal commitment has been pivotal to the organisation's success so far. We sit opposite each other on deep comfortable sofas, surrounded by Chinese furniture belonging to the Royal Collection, amidst images of past monarchs. This is not quite the MCB offices in London, but Clarence House, residence of Prince Charles, where Iqbal has come to meet Sir Tom Shebbeare, director of the Prince's charities, to discuss areas of co-operation between Muslim charities and the Prince's charities, particularly in the areas of youth work and the creation of employment opportunities. Iqbal had pressed Sir Tom on the need for well-run Muslim charities to be supported. The meeting reflects again the vital role the MCB has come to play in promoting Muslim interests.
`In the MCB we believe in the common good that is the good of everyone in the UK, not just Muslims. Naturally, our first constituency is the Muslims. And we believe that promoting the interests of Muslims will make Britain a better society'
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