Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Date: Saturday 29 June 2013
Time: 10.30am – 5.00pm
Venue: British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC)
College Road, Whalley Range
Manchester, M16 8BP
To register: http://mcb-agm2013observer.eventbrite.co.uk/
The sixteenth Annual General Meeting and Convention will bring together grassroots representatives of hundreds of community organisations as well as scholars, activists and social entrepreneurs to discuss community issues and explore options for change.
The day brings together the community to share thoughts and experiences on community development and to promote mutual support for a stronger Muslim Civil Society.
The programme will include a number of workshops on community practicalities including:
• The Future of the Mosque
• Female representation in the MCB
• Engaging with the Media
• The Muslim School – Are we hitting the target?
The day will end with a panel discussion with contributions from community leaders and thinkers on the theme of: “The Muslim Community in the spotlight: Our Responses to the new and ongoing challenges”.
We hope you can make it!
Workshop 1: Gender Mainstreaming and Representation in the MCB
The MCB is the largest and most representative umbrella organisation of Muslims in Britain. To be truly representative of the diversity of our communities and their needs, however, it must continuously strive to do two things: to more closely reflect the changing demographic and ethnic fabric of the evolving Muslim presence over time; and to more actively and robustly deepen and broaden the range of interests and voices from these communities who effectively participate at its decision making stage.
In other words, MCB Office Bearers and the National Council must speak for as encompassing a range of voices as possible, but do so with their voices also among the Office Bearers and National Council.
Women make up half of our communities, half of our pool of talent, half of our strength, of our potential and our resources to face the challenges before us, now and in the future. Women and girls in our communities pose, raise and face specific issues and concerns of their own, internal to the community and in wider society, which are best advocated, championed and acted on by women; but no more nor less than men, women have something to say and to contribute on all discussions of all issues affecting all Muslims and to their solution, and in the fulfilment of the MCB agenda of working for the common good.
Towards fast tracking the mainstreaming of women in the MCB’s representative bodies constitutional changes adopted last year will come into play at the 2014 AGM election of the national delegates to the MCB’s National Council. Ensuring that the constitutional quota of at least 20% female representation is achieved requires that the changes are proactively met and prepared for from the ground up in all affiliate organisations.
This Workshop will offer a platform for the discussion of the issues and objectives, the identification of difficulties and obstacles, and the exchange of good practice with a view to issuing clear guidelines and the delivery of mechanisms which may help ease and achieve the short term goal of the constitutional requirement, and the medium term goal of fuller parity and mainstreaming of gender in MCB’s representation, agendas and decision making.
Workshop 2: What is the future of the mosque in Britain?
The mosque in Britain is now a well-established part of the urban landscape, numbering some 1500 across the country. These mosques have been established through the strenuous efforts of individual Muslim communities over decades.
With the Muslim population almost doubling in the last ten years, these communities are changing, whether they are growing, diversifying or dispersing, the future will not necessarily be the same as the past.
How are mosques adapting to this change? What is their role as places of worship and social institutions? How are they funded and how will they earn their revenue? How will they be governed? What is their relationship to Muslim and wider communities?
This workshop will explore the future of the mosque in Britain through group discussion around these and similar topics. It is intended as an open brainstorming platform, where issues facing mosques now will be raised, and the future of the mosque in Britain will be imagined.
Workshop 3: Engaging with the Media
The role of media in public discourse and shaping our societies is undoubtedly a profound one. Whilst most would view the media itself as a medium for news to be disseminated, we have seen in the last decade how this largely self regulated industry creates, sets and campaigns on various issues it sees as worthy. Take examples such as the expenses scandal, various elections or the Ghurkha’s amongst many.
Muslims have not been forgotten in these campaigns – in fact one could argue that in the last 15 years Muslims have been consistently portrayed in the media in a particular way to build the narrative of the other – Muslims are often portrayed as angry, radical, extreme, violent, oppressive, anti democratic amongst many other descriptions.
During this time the participation from Muslims has been, at best, reactive and at worst counterproductive. Much of this was due to the community not having the necessary skills but another significant factor was that it was never seen as an important aspect of the work that many mainstream organisations carried out.
Even today, many Muslims shun any media interaction, often at their detriment and that of the wider Muslim population. However, not all is gloomy – a number of organisations and individuals have taken to this challenge and are engaging with the media.
MCB, is one of those organisations. But as often is the case, Muslims organisations are often found reacting with only a handful of examples of proactive engagement. Today we will look at how we can change this and get the MCB to play a more proactive role in engaging the media.