|MCB affiliate Islamic Society of Britain, Berkshire organises Slough Hustings
The Islamic Society of Britain made a small bit of history when it hosted a hustings under the MCB's Electing To Deliver initiative. The Berkshire hustings - a first from a Muslim voters perspective - marked a decisive moment in British Muslim settlement.
We had 6 panellists at a professional venue, and it was well attended. Kept to word of mouth only to avoid disturbances (we were prepared, and so were the police - but nothing happened), we received very positive feedback. Everyone was a winner for attending and went home feeling proud. The panellists genuinely found the discussions lively, mature and intelligent, especially compared to the rather boring ones they were attending that were organised by the local newspapers (one of these local newspapers came over and told me ours was simply brilliant compared to theirs!).
The panellists were
Fiona Mactaggart MP (Lab)
Sheila Gunn (Con)
Tom McCann (LD)
David Ward (Green)
Jazz Khan (Respect)
Paul Janik (Ind)
The key questions were adapted from the MCB Voter Card 2005:
1. Will you actively support legislative measures that tackle religious discrimination and incitement?
2. Will you oppose all measures that compromise the Rule of Law? How will you ensure no individual loses their liberty or dignity without the proper process of law?
3. What positive action measures would you and your party take to address causes of Muslim marginalisation and social exclusion?
4. How will your party ensure that religious and moral contributions to discussions on issues such as abortion, sex education and euthanasia are fully taken on-board?
5. How will your party ensure that the tone of the immigration debate does not fuel Islamophobia or a racist agenda?
6. Will you promote a foreign policy that is based on justice and fairness? Is Iraq an example of this?
We began with a very short reminder that God blesses gatherings to remember him and angels sit in blessed gatherings, and that calling leaders and officials to account and speaking for truth was also to remember God. And how the prophet warned against the causing of division and making the mistakes of earlier religious communities in a famous teaching, saying the saved ones were the 'al-jamaah' - not an angry fringe but those who work together for good. In light of this it was ironic that the disturbances were caused by half a dozen youth under the 'Saved Sect'. The example of a woman attendee in a mosque calling Omar to account during his Friday sermon was also given.
Questions were taken from the floor once panellists had put their views across. We managed to get valuable points to and a range of responses from the panellists, who were challenged quite hard at times by yours sincerely as the chair.