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A delegation of prominent British Muslims is to visit Surat, Vadodara, New Delhi, Deoband and Aligarh 9-15 December 2013.
The delegation will meet key representatives from the social, educational and political fields in a bid to understand key concerns of Muslims in India. At the same time the visit would help project a realistic picture of Islam in Britain. This will enable cross-fertilisation of ideas between British and Indian Muslims and activists working on interfaith, integration and community issues.
In Surat and Vadodara the delegation will visit and interact with students, young people and Muslim community members at various educational institutes. In New Delhi the delegates will meet representatives of the National Commission for Women and National Foundation for Communal Harmony and also visit Darul Uloom, Deoband besides meeting with students and young people at an interactive session at AMU, Aligarh.
Before leaving for India, one of the delegates Yusuf Ebrahim Akudi said:
I’m honoured and excited to be visiting a country as dynamic as India. I aim to gain a more nuanced perspective of the lives and aspirations of Muslims in India. I hope that the visit will facilitate mutual understanding of Indo-British cultures and enable us to appreciate one another in a positive light.
- The delegation will visit Surat & Vadodara, Gujarat on 9-11 December. For details of the programme and media enquiries please contact Asad Mirza on mobile phone 9810113775.
- The delegation will visit New Delhi on 12 Decemeber, Deoband and Aligarh on 13-15 December. For details of the programme and media enquiries please contact Upendra Singh on mobile phone 9871423233 / Deepti Soni and Asad Mirza on mobile phone 9810113775.
Brief biographies of the delegates:
- Yusuf Ebrahim Akudi is from the first generation of Muslim Imams born and educated in the UK. He graduated in 1997 and since then he has been involved in various projects and initiatives both locally and nationally. Yusuf is married and has three children.
For the past ten years Yusuf has been presiding as a Mufti as well as a board member of the Islamic Tribunal (Shariah Council) providing advice, and discussing Islamic law with the Panel. He has also been teaching in the local Madrassa (Islamic School) managing the syllabus, regulations, welfare of the children and health and safety, also frequently preparing reports, liaise with parents groups, committees and inspecting other Madrassas.
The past four years Yusuf has been employed as a Muslim Imam, as part of a multi faith chaplaincy team, sharing in the requirements, rehabilitation of the prisoners and supporting the team in tackling extremist and radicalized behaviour. Identifying key potential threats of inmates who possess extreme elements and views on multiculturalism and the prison system as well as identifying prisoners that could be a potential threat to security. Duties of leading prayers, delivering sermons, and teaching basic courses on understanding Islam, the Quran and Arabic Language also providing Islamic advice and guidance to governors and officers on Islamic affairs.
Yusuf has written a number of articles on Islam and is a regular speaker on Islam and Muslims at various seminars and conferences. Also a board member of the Yorkshire and Humber Faiths Forum for the past five years and actively engaging with faith communities locally, supporting several voluntary community sector organisations locally for many years. He is keen in developing a better understanding between faith communities and none. He regularly liaises with his good colleagues locally the Bishops of Wakefield & Pontefract; to jointly arrange Muslim and Christian seminars on awareness of each other’s faiths and build good working relations within the Muslim and Christian community. Additionally he supports and helps the local churches on issues affecting them through the diverse community that we live in today.
He has studied Arabic Language, Quran Exegesis, Islamic Economics, Sociology, Law and Islamic Ethics, fluently spoken in three South Asian languages (Gujarati, Hindi, and Urdu), as well as possessing conversational skills in Punjabi. Furthermore he is fluent both in written and verbal in Arabic, Urdu and English.
- Dr Abdul Bashid Shaikh by profession is a Lecturer in Comparative religion and Islamic Studies at the University of Leeds. He currently teaches undergraduate students an introductory module in Arab and Islamic Civilisation. Dr Shaikh is also heavily involved in teaching Islamic Studies modules on the Qur’an and Hadith, Islamic Law, Abrahamic Faiths on behalf of the Lifelong Learning Centre at the University. Abdul Bashid is active in delivering these courses within community settings in Leeds and Bradford with the aim of encouraging mature students and those from underprivileged backgrounds, especially from the local Muslim community to enter mainstream higher education.
Abdul Bashid was born in Batley, West Yorkshire in 1978 which incidentally is a town that has a large Indian Muslim population. He was born to parents of Indian Muslim origin that emigrated to the UK from the state of Gujarat in Western India.
Dr Shaikh obtained his BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Leeds in 2001. Abdul Bashid underwent intensive Arabic language tuition in the Republic of Yemen and the Kingdom of Morocco between 1998 and 1999. Studying and living abroad gave a valuable insight into the heritage, culture and religious fabric of the Middle East and North Africa. During the year abroad, Abdul Bashid gained a valuable insight into Islamic religious thought from some of the leading Muslim scholars in San’aa Yemen as well as the prestigious Qarawiyin Islamic university in the city of Fez, Morocco.
After graduation, he went onto pursue a MA in Qur’anic Studies by research which involved looking at the ‘Concept of Creation in the Qur’an’ at the same university in 2004. Abdul Bashid graduated with a PhD in 2011 from the University of Leeds focussing on comparative religions with special reference to the Abrahamic Faiths.
Abdul Bashid is heavily involved in inter-faith work in the Kirklees area on behalf of North Kirklees Inter-Faith Council and Kirklees Faith Forums as well as the University of Leeds. He regularly meets Imams and priests in order to discuss the pressing challenges that face both faiths in West Yorkshire. He recently delivered a talk to an audience of Jews, Christian and Muslims titled ‘Dialogue, Tolerance and Mutual Understanding in Judeo-Christian and Muslim Traditions at the Indian Muslim Welfare Society Al-Hikmah Centre Batley.
On a community level, Dr Shaikh sits on the editorial committee of the Indian Muslim Welfare Society monthly publication ‘Paigaam’. The publication aims to provide discussion on issues affecting Muslims in the North Kirklees area. Abdul Bashid has been for many years involved in raising money for charities on a local, national and indeed international level with the aim of assisting and empowering the less fortunate in society.
- Dr Mohamed Mukadam, is Principal, Madani High School, Leicester. He has been an inspirational leader with nearly 30 years of educational experience including 13 years as a highly successful head-teacher of government and independent British Schools. The schools have been highly praised by many prominent people including former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Over the years he has been able to provide the vision and leadership that has secured the delivery of high quality education leading to pupil progress and high levels of attainment. He has a proven track record of effectively managing resources and staff to improve educational services, and provide the best possible opportunities for pupils and teachers to achieve their full potential.
He is an enthusiastic person and possess the vision, strategic ability, motivation, drive and adaptability necessary to help schools/communities/businesses effectively develop high quality educational provision and local expertise in a sustainable way.
Dr Mukadam has been involved in many educational related conferences and debates and was a co-chair of a government commissioned review on the training of scholars and faith leaders in the UK. He also was a member of a team situated at Cambridge University and tasked by the British Government to provide advice on various aspects of Muslim life in the context of Britain.
He has chaired the Association of Muslim Schools UK and Eire (AMSUK) for 11 consecutive years. During this period the AMSUK has seen an unprecedented success both in terms of helping member schools to develop and improve and also being recognised by the British Government as a representative body and voice of Muslim education.
Dr Mukadam enjoys travelling; and has travelled extensively to visit most Western European countries, almost all the states in North America, the UAE, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, Israel, and Jordan.His travels have enabled him to broaden his horizons and also allowed him many opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. Having an interest in community affairs he takes part in fundraising events for various charity organisations. Among his achievements are raising four children, three boys and one girl, who have all either completed or are in final years of university education.