Eid Reception At British Parliament
Dr. Mozammel Haque
After a month-long fasting in the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world celebrated Eid Festival. In the United Kingdom, British Muslims were also celebrating Eid Festival by organising two events, one: Parliamentary Eid Reception at the British Parliament, organised by Islamic Relief and hosted by Lord Sheikh was held on Thursday, 26 June 2018. Rt. Hon. Penny Mordaunt, MP, Secretary of State for International Development (DFID) was the keynote speaker. Another one was Islam Channel Eid Gala Dinner organised by Islam Channel was held on Friday, 29th of June, 2018 at London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London.
Parliamentary Eid Reception at British Parliament
Parliamentary Eid Reception was held on 26 June 2018, at the River Room of the House of Lords. Rt. Hon. Penny Mordaunt, MP, Secretary of State for International Development (DFID) wishes ‘all a belated Eid Mubarak.’ She said, “I hope you were able to spend the day with your families and loved ones. And that you were able to reflect on the sacrifices you made and the good you have done during the month of Ramadan.”
Speaking about the works of the Islamic Relief, Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt mentioned, “Islamic Relief’s life-saving and life-changing work in over forty countries shows what can be achieved on a global level when faith can be harnessed and a community of believers mobilised. Just like the Red Cross or Christian Aid, Islamic Relief is a badge of hope for millions of the world’s poorest and most desperate people. In Yemen, you have provided emergency food assistance to 1.7 million people. In South Sudan, you have helped bring food and water to seventy thousand vulnerable people. In Syria, you have delivered two million food parcels and helped provide education for eighteen thousand children since the conflict began. And your Honour Her campaign to end all forms of gender based violence is having an effect both here in the UK and around the world.”
Speaking about the holy month of Ramadan, she said, “I know the holy month is a time of humility. Because Islamic Relief, and other faith organisations, are invaluable partners for my Department as we work together to help those most in need. And to achieve the Global Goals to end extreme poverty, hunger, disease, illness and promote education and equality for all.”
Speaking about DFID’s relationship with Islamic Relief, she mentioned, “I see DFID’s relationship with Islamic Relief as a Great Partnership. Each of us bringing something that makes us greater than the sum of our parts. That makes us more effective, and more able to respond to the challenging and difficult circumstances in which we operate. Like our Aid Match partnership. DFID has match-funded Islamic Relief to the sum of five million pounds to improve health, education, sanitation and livelihoods for over a hundred thousand conflict-affected people in the Blue Nile and North and South Sudan region. This is just the latest collaboration in a Great Partnership between DFID and Islamic Relief, which has spanned twenty years and fifteen countries and territories.”
She also mentioned about religious principles and Islamic values. She said, “You are a crucial partner for us because of your access, because of the trust people have in you, and because you honour the religious principles in which you believe. Compassion. Generosity. Helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Those are not just Islamic values. Those are British Values. As faith groups have always reminded us, our shared humanity compels us to act even when disaster or tragedy strike on the other side of the world.”
Lord Sheikh at Parliamentary Eid Reception
Speaking about Muslims in general, Lord Sheikh mentioned, “Most Muslims all over the world believe in helping people who are less fortunate than themselves. There are many Muslim charities which are based in the United Kingdom. UK Muslims gave 100 million pounds to charities during Ramadan last year. That’s £38 pounds a second.”
Talking about Ramadan, Zakat and Islamic duty, Lord Sheikh said, “It is compulsory for us to give Zakat. It is of course the third pillar of Islam. We also like to help others. Although Muslims donate to charities at all times, during the month of Ramadan, the contributions tend to be large and generous.”
Talking about Muslim charities, Lord Sheikh mentioned, “Muslim charities help deserving causes in the United Kingdom and provide support and assistance in overseas countries. Some of these countries have been affected by war, others are affected by famine and climate changes. These charities also do splendid work in providing water, shelter and food. I think it must be noticed that Muslim charities help and support and provide aid to non-Muslims as well as Muslims.”
Lord Sheikh then talked about Islamic Relief. He said, “Islamic Relief is an independent humanitarian and development organisation which has been saving the lives across the globe since 1984. Islamic Relief envisages a caring world where communities are empowered, social obligations are fulfilled and people respond as one to the suffering of others. Their work can be summarised under three headings which are (1) responding and (2) recovery and (3) resilience. I very much appreciate that Islamic Relief is performing remarkable work in different ways all over the world.”
This ensures that people who are vulnerable and need help are not abused in any way.
Judith Escribano, Head of Communication
Judith Escribano said, “Those of us working in the Muslim Sector know that British Muslims are incredibly generous. In the month of Ramadan alone, they donate £100 million to charity. That’s an astonishing amount of money when you take into account that there are only 2.7 million Muslims in Britain and one third of them are children. We delivered 200,000 food packages in 36 countries during Ramadan. That makes us very proud.”
She also said, “I am particularly impressed by my Muslim colleagues who worked every day throughout Ramadan – sometimes doing a whole day’s work, followed by an evening or weekend of volunteering. You are an inspiration to those of us who are not Muslims – and who hid away to eat and drink during Ramadan.”
Ms Judith also mentioned, “Five years ago, a group of volunteers created a fundraising campaign, called the Cake Campaign, to raise money for our work in Syria during Ramadan. I am delighted to say that this initiative has raised £1 million over 5 years for survivors of the crisis in Syria. Because of its commitment to reconstruction and long-term development Islamic Relief stays in communities following emergencies, long after the cameras have left.”
About her knowledge of Islam, Ms. Judith confessed, “I knew very little about Islam – apart from what I had been taught in school many months ago. And apart from the biased and inaccurate reporting of many newspapers whose sole mission seems to be to denigrate Muslims and Islam. And because of my ignorance and that misinformation, I was worried about practices that I had assumed were religious practices, such as FGM and early and forced marriage. And as a strong feminist, I wondered whether I would be the right fit for the organisation.”
“So I did some research. I went on a one-day Intro to Islam course at the Central London Mosque. I read the Qur’an. I read a feminist interpretation of the Qur’an. I read about revolutions in the Middle East. I discovered that many practices attributed to Islam as a faith were in fact cultural and patriarchal practices,” said Judith.
Judith also mentioned, “Islamic Relief was running a campaign against violence against women and girls, and I knew then that that I had made the right decision to come here. Islamic Relief calls out those who misuse Islamic faith to justify abuse. Violence against women and girls in any shape or form is not acceptable in Islam; is not acceptable in the UK Muslim community; and is not acceptable in wider society. And as an Islamic-inspired agency, we recognise the role of faith in tackling this important issue.”
Judith also mentioned, “This Ramadan, Islamic Relief has already raised £10 million so far. These donations will help us to continue to transform and save lives. So thank you to all those who make this possible”