November 16, 2000

A delegation of the Muslim Council of Britain led by the Secretary General, Mr Yousuf Bhailok, met with the Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, Leader of the Conservative Party, at the House of Commons on Tuesday 7th November 2000. .

Mr Bhailok welcomed recent Conservative party initiatives aimed at consulting faith groups and policy proposals on ending discrimination faced by faith-based voluntary organisations when applying for public funds. A wide range of issues concerning the Muslim community were raised including religious discrimination, faith schools, asylum and immigration, media, representation, health and Palestine.

Mr Hague praised the contribution made by British Muslims across a broad spectrum of British society. He expressed broad support over a number of issues and emphasised the shared values between Muslims and Conservatives. Preliminary discussions about policy matters were initiated by the MCB as part of its programme of consultation with all the major parties. Welcoming such an initiative, Mr Hague agreed that the Conservative party should pursue these over the coming weeks with the MCB in greater detail.

The meeting, first of its kind between the Conservative party leader and the Muslim Council of Britain, was described by Mr Bhailok as positive and constructive. He added that the meeting “provides the MCB with a good basis on which we can hold more detailed discussions on matters of concern to the Muslim community in the near future.”

The MCB delegation was led by Mr Yousuf Bhailok and consisted of Dr Hany El-Bana, Mr Aslam Ejaz, Cllr. Afzal Khan, Dr Abdul Raheem Khan, Mr Ibrahim Master, Mr Mohibur Rahman, Mr Iqbal Sacranie, Dr Jamil Sherif, and Mr Tanzeem Wasti. Also present at the meeting were Mr David Lidington MP, Home Affairs Spokesman; Mr Gary Streeter MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development; and Mr George Osborne, Political Secretary to William Hague.