History of MCB

The Muslim Council of Britain was founded in 1997

Following the crises in the Balkans and the first Gulf War in the 1990s, there was a growing sense of apprehension amongst Muslims in Britain that Muslim communities lacked unity and coordination.

About fifty community bodies and networks convened in Birmingham on 30th April 1994 and formed the NICMU (National Interim Committee for Muslim Unity). This body was mandated to conduct a consultation exercise within the community to establish the need for an umbrella body and seek views on its priorities and structure.

NICMU met at regular intervals and in various UK cities, including Markfield (11th May 1994), Birmingham (27th June 1994) and Leicester (19th November 1994). A working group was established to carry out a process of countrywide consultations, and a postal questionnaire was prepared and circulated to Muslim organizations, Mosques, Islamic centres and institutions. Translations were also done in community languages such as Urdu and Bengali to ensure a more comprehensive reach.

In addition to the questionnaire, members of the working party held meetings with the major Muslim organizations in the country, the Union of Muslim Organisations, Muslim Parliament, The Muslim College and influential activists. The findings of the consultations were presented to NICMU on 15th July 1995. These indicated that a large majority of British Muslims were very concerned with the lack of unity, coordination and representation and supported the establishment of an umbrella body. NICMU then formed a sub-group to prepare a draft Constitution, which reported back its recommendations at a meeting in Birmingham held on 13th January 1996.

The final meeting of NICMU took place on 25th May 1996 in Bradford, at which the name ‘The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)’ was chosen (from seven proposals).

An MCB preparatory committee was then formed to publicise and invite affiliation to the MCB and prepare for an inaugural Meeting to formally launch the organisation and its membership.

The preparatory committee met on 15th June 1996 (London), 7th September 1996 (Manchester), 3rd November 1996 (London), 15th March 1997 (Blackburn), 24th May 1997 (Leicester), 26th July 1997 (London), 20th September 1997 (London) and 1st November 1997 (London).

Its work included a review of the Constitution and Standing Orders by the legal department of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the renting of office premises for the work of the newly found organisation, the placement of advertisements in the Muslim press inviting participation from Muslim organizations and the production of an information pack. The work culminated in the inauguration of the Muslim Council of Britain at Brent Town Hall in London on 23rd November 1997.

The first General Assembly meeting was held on 1st March 1998 at which the MCB elected a Central Working Committee and office-bearers for the first time.