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Social Cohesion: the Oxford Paradigm

Social Cohesion: The Oxford Paradigm

St Antonys College, Oxford July 7th, 2007

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2008 Oxford Asian Cultural Association / New Dawn Enterprises Published by New Dawn Enterprises in conjunction with Oxford Asian Cultural Association Designed and edited by Chad Frischmann, The Europaeum Printed by Alden Press Extracts from this publication may be reproduced for noncommercial educational or training purposes on condition that the source is acknowledged and the findings are not misrepresented. The publication is available in electronic form on The Europaeum website: www.europaeum.org If you require this publication in an alternative format, please contact: New Dawn Enterprises 49 Wilkins Road Cowley, Oxford OX4 2HZ United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 7710 561499

Front cover: Picture of Faiths in Friendship Walk 2007, Oxford, courtesy of Jawaid Malik

Social Cohesion: the Oxford Paradigm


Oxford Asian Cultural Association Department of Communities and Local Government New Dawn Enterprises The Europaeum

Conference Report

SOCIAL COHESION: THE OXFORD PARADIGM


ST ANTONY S COLLEGE, OXFORD JULY 7TH, 2007

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Mission Statement
The Social Cohesion: the Oxford Paradigm Programme began in 2006 as an idea amongst a small group of dedicated community cohesion advocates, with a mission to: to cultivate an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural, religious and ethnic expression in the City of Oxford; develop a shared sense of community; encourage collaboration between Oxfords communities through the medium of arts, interfaith activities, sports and cultural events; provide opportunities for conversation, discussion and debate through engaging the public, academics and community activists as a means to realising our vision of one community of many faiths and cultures; provide a specialised pool of talent to carry out projects inquiring into social problems and questions confronting Britain today and in the future; serve as a medium of exploring new ideas, developing fresh insight, and creating sustainable solutions for communities in the modern, global society; challenge the forces of extremism by promoting cultural and religious understanding and developing connectedness between all our communities as a force for lasting social cohesion; develop educational programmes for schools and other educational institutions aimed at deepening and enhancing understanding of and between faiths.
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Social Cohesion: the Oxford Paradigm

Contents
Mission Statement...................................................................................2 Foreword..................................................................................................5 Conference Programme.........................................................................6 Welcome.................................................................................................9 Tackling Extremism in a Globalised Society......................................13 The Role of Faith in Contemporary Britain.......................................21 Art as a Vehicle for Cultural Exchange..............................................33 Engaging the Youth..............................................................................50 Conclusions............................................................................................69 Outcomes...............................................................................................74 Future Initiatives...................................................................................76 List of Speakers......................................................................................78 List of Participants................................................................................84 Benefactors and Supporters.................................................................86 Notes.......................................................................................................87 Contact Details.......................................................................................89

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Social Cohesion: the Oxford Paradigm

Foreword
Oxford has a long legacy as a city at the forefront of multicultural initiatives. Dating from its inception, it has been a centre of cultural preservation and dialogue, with such institutions as the Ashmolean Museum, the Bodleian Library and the University of Oxford. As a city with such a legacy, people around the world come here each year to work, live, study and visit. In a country increasingly fearful of dangerous extremist beliefs, Oxford stands out as a place where people of diverse backgrounds come together in relative peace. In order to promote this idea, explore ways to improve and expand further initiatives, and develop Oxford as a model for social cohesion, we organised a one-day conference on 7th July, 2007, bringing together academics, policy-makers, community, religious, and cultural leaders, students, and young people in open dialogue about issues that effect everyone living in Britain. The goals of this Conference were to initiate a sense of action and drive amongst Oxfords diverse communities to work together in building a peaceful, cooperative, fruitful multicultural society; to explore different ideas for initiatives to engage our youth and young adults in order to provide alternatives to extremism; and to provide a vehicle for challenging cultural misconceptions and ignorance. Key to the success of this Conference has been the support of a number of organisations and individuals, including the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Oxford Asian Cultural Association, The Europaeum (an association of 10 European universities), the European Studies Centre (Oxford University), St Antonys College, and New Dawn Enterprises; with special thanks to Imam Monawar Hussain, Paul Flather, Chad Frischmann, Zohra Fatima, and Pat Thomas, for all their work organising this event.
by Jawaid Malik, Communikty Development Area Manager, Oxford City Council, Conference CoOrganiser

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Conference Programme
SOCIAL COHESION THE OXFORD PARADIGM
St Antonys College, University of Oxford 7 July 2007
09.30 09.35

WELCOME:
Cllr John Tanner, The Lord Mayor of Oxford

09.35 10.00 KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Dr Iftikhar Haider Malik, Professor of International Relations, Bath Spa University

MORNING SESSION
CHAIR: Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General, The Europaeum

PANEL I:

TACKLING EXTREMISM

IN A

GLOBALIZED SOCIETY

10.00 10.15 1. Supt Jim Trotman, Oxford LPA Commander TVP 10.15 10.30 2. Mia Flores-Brquez, Founder, Justicia 10.30 10.45 3. Imam Irfan Chishti, Director Citizenship, Sufi Muslim Council 10.45 11.15 Discussion

PANEL II:

THE ROLE OF FAITH

IN

CONTEMPORARY BRITAIN

11.30 11.45 1. Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza, Director, Imams and Mosques Council UK; and, Founder Trustee, British Muslim Forum 11.45 12.00 2. Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke, President, World Congress of Faiths; and, Co- Founder, Three Faiths Forum 12.00 12.15 3. Judith Kramer, Act for Change 12.15 12.45 Discussion

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Social Cohesion: the Oxford Paradigm

12.45 13.00 Concluding Remarks by the Chair of the Morning Session 13.00 14.00 Lunch

AFTERNOON SESSION
Chair: Imam

Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor, Eton College

PANEL III:

ARTS AS A V EHICLE FOR CULTURAL EXCHANGE

14.00 14.15 1. Dr Christopher Brown, Director, Ashmolean Museum 14.15 14.30 2. Dr Peggy Morgan, Honorary President, British Association for the Study of Religions; and Lecturer in World Religions, Mansfield College 14.30 14.45 3. Malcolm Atkins, local musician & Lecturer, Open University 14.45 15.15 Discussion

PANEL IV:

ENGAGING THE YOUTH: E DUCATION AND COMMUNITY PROGRAMMES

15.30 15.45 1. Nisha Prakash, Community Cohesion Officer, Oxford City Council 15.45 16.00 2. Dr M Hussain Mirza, Thames Valley University 16.00 16.15 3. Saddique Abbasi, Muslim Youth Worker 16.15 16.45 Discussion 16.45 17.00 Concluding Remarks by the Chair of the Afternoon Session 18.30 Dinner

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Cllr John Tanner, Lord Mayor of Oxford

Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire

The morning session began with a Welcome Address from Cllr John Tanner, the Lord Mayor of Oxford, as well as an impromptu message from Lord Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
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Welcome
The conference was formally opened by Cllr. John Tanner, the Lord Mayor of Oxford, who said a few words on community harmony in Oxford.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentleman, sisters and brothers, good morning and thank you for coming at this conference. I am absolutely thrilled to be opening this conference. I would like to congratulate the Asian Cultural Association, New Dawn Enterprises, and the Europaeum for organizing this event, and hope that it will produce even better things in Oxford than we have already. I would just like to say a few words about my own thoughts on what social cohesion means in Oxford. Firstly, I think we need to recognise that social cohesion is not about flowers, white doves, and singing kumbaya it will not come simply through wishful thinking; but it can be achieved through hard work, everyday. It is about working and getting along with those neighbours who have such seemingly foreign views about life. We can all get on with the people from relatively similar backgrounds thats easy, we all do that. But with people from different cultures, who outwardly appear so exotic to our senses, and heaven knows there are lots of them here in Oxford, we must endeavour to understand their cultures, their backgrounds, in order to live and work as true neighbours. Oxford has a strong tradition of tolerance, internationalism, and welcoming newcomers. I very much welcome Oxfords European communities, the Polish, the French, and so on; I applaud the contributions of the South and East Asian communities; and I value our longstanding engagement with the African and Caribbean communities. But we should not take this special tradition of acceptance for granted. Strong community relations require a positive, constructive
By Cllr John Tanner, Lord Mayor of Oxford

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commitment, without which a society can fracture. Once a society has broken apart, as weve seen in Iraq and Palestine, its a monumental task to put the pieces together again. So, we must all maintain that positive commitment to building strong community relations. Now, we hear so much about bombings, and so far Oxford has been lucky. It seems to me, however, that these hate-filled, murdering bombers can strike here as much as anywhere else. I do not use the word terrorist, anymore than I like to use the phrase war on terror, as I dont think its helpful. If someones dropping a bomb on you, it doesnt matter if its an American bomb, a British bomb, or a self-made bomb the pain and suffering and death are still as very real. So while Oxford is certainly a wonderful example of peace and harmony to the world, there remains many problems facing our city that could potentially leave it a victim like London two years ago. The wealth gap between rich Oxford and some of our deprived estates is one such problem. We need to remind ourselves that some of the estates in Oxford are part of

Social cohesion is not about flowers, white doves, and singing kumbaya it will not come simply through wishful thinking; but it can be achieved through hard work, everyday.

these new super-output areas, which are in the bottom 10% deprivation in this country however you measure it whether by income or education. Yet we have here some of the richest 10% of people living in Britain, because Oxford is such a lovely place to live in. We are told that these divisions are widening, and this will inevitably bring tensions in our society; the kind of tensions that can feed extremism, and has been shown to be a motivating factor in other cities here in Britain. This is just an example of one problem facing Oxford where divisions, cultural or economic (which unfortunately often go hand-in-hand), can

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threaten our ideal status. So in conclusion ladies and gentleman, we need to work hard everyday to bring all our Oxford communities together, to narrow divisions through dialogue and understanding. And I think this will be one of those days. Cllr. John Tanner, Lord Mayor of Oxford

Following the Lord Mayors opening, the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Hugo Brunner, a participant in the audience, asked to make a few comments of his own before the first session began:
Well I begin by strongly endorsing everything that the Lord Mayor has said. I have no speech for you, and I suppose that I am here because I am the representative of the Queen in Oxfordshire. Sometimes my duties are seen as purely ceremonial, but I would say that Her Majesty expects me, more than anything else, to associate the Crown, the Head of State, with the community life of this area, Oxfordshire. I know not everyone here will be a monarchist I would describe myself as a constitutional monarchist but I see considerable virtue in having an independent Head of State, as a symbol for national unity; and, I do believe the Queen is just that. I experience that sense of national unity very regularly, along with my Deputy Lieutenants, during the citizenship ceremonies that are carried out virtually every week throughout the year in County Hall. It is a wonderful gathering of people whose roots are from all around the world; and they come to publicly become citizens, and associate themselves with the life of this country, to join our community. These
By Lord Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshie

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ceremonies are very good for the country, and for Oxfordshire, as a snapshot of our growing community. Finally, I would just like to congratulate all those who brought this conference about, a very timely conference and something that is very much needed. I would also like to congratulate those, and many are here today, who do spend a lot of time working on this area of social cohesion in this city and the wider county. You work incredibly hard and imaginatively, and sometimes, no doubt, frustratingly. But I hope, from this conference, you will take heart to continue with your excellent work. Thank you for inviting me to be present with you today. Lord Lieutenant Hugo Brunner

Lord Brunner with Dr Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum

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Session I: Panel I
Tackling Extremism in a Globalized World
Chair: Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of The Europaeum Speakers: Supt Jim Trotman, Oxford LPA Commander TVP Mia Flores-Brquez, Founder, Justicia Imam Irfan Chishti, Director Citizenship, Sufi Muslim Council
Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of The Europaeum, and Fellow of Mansield College, Oxford

The theme of the first panel was on Tackling Extremism in a Globalized World. The increasing use of the internet and other global communications media in distributing ideas and information from every corner of the world to every corner of the world, has fundamentally transformed society. The benefits of this freedom of thought are multifarious, but along with the positives come the negatives. Extremist groups, which represent only a very small minority of the population, are able, at an unprecedented level, to interact with and influence society. This is the globalized world, the globalized society, in which we live in. The panellists each sought to present different perspectives on identifying potential sources of extremism, and ways in which communities can counteract the negative influence of extremist groups. The panel began with Superintendent Jim Trotman, an Oxford LPA commander well-known throughout the Oxford community for his dedication to improving neighbourhood cohesion.

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Supt Trotman outlined the role of the police in not only tackling extremism where it arises, but in soothing tensions between different cultural or religious groups. He identified several key points which he saw as essential for not only the local policing force, but for the wider
Supt. Jim Trotman, Oxford LPA Commander Thames Valley Police

community. Of prime importance is to know your community, to learn about the diversity within the city directly from the source, and to increase the knowledge base of the police force. From this will come a more intimate understanding of the needs of the people that the police are serving, and how the needs of one segment of the population can differ substantially from others. He also highlighted the need to understand how local communities vulnerable to outside tensions, tensions not directly associated with the locality of Oxford, can dramatically affect local cohesion, and could lead to the proliferation of extremism even in Oxford. He said that knowing how to respond to tensions, how to communicate with members of the community in open dialogue, and when to consult others intimately working with the community, such as religious leaders, youth workers, and outreach officers, was key in tackling the influence of extremism from the source.

I have a duty as police commander to recognize that police actions may be criticized and respond to that criticism, and to show you that we learn and we change and that we can adapt. Its about building trust, its about partnership. Its about my role and your role as conduits of what people are feeling across the city, so that then we can go out and see how we can make things better
Supt Jim Trotman

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Following Supt. Trotman, Mia Flores-Brquez, founder of the human rights organization, Justicia, offered a different perspective as a forced migrant escaping the brutal Chilean regime 30 years ago, and as someone who had dedicated her life to teaching and helping other forced migrants. Ms Flores-Brquez talked about her experiences in Oxford as someone who had to adjust to a new culture and a new community; how when she arrived here there were few provisions for migrant populations, and many tensions arose between groups, who had no representation or advocates to intercede on their behalf. She described an environment where we simply had to duck [and] learn to live and cope and adapt. However, over the 30 years she remained in Oxford, the City progressively became a place where these disenfranchised could find acceptance, prosperity, and freedom of expression completely unavailable in their former country. Yet she still saw great tensions, particularly in Oxford, between the have and the have-nots, between those who have access to power and those who feel isolated and disenfranchised. Without the belief that one has representation, acceptance, and access to means of prosperity, one cannot feel part of the society in which they live; and this, according to Ms. Flores-Brquez, is how extremism finds ways into communities. She believes that society needs to address this first and foremost as a means of preventing extremists from gaining ground within these desperate groups. She called for more well-supported programmes and organisations designed to address these disparities, and provide underrepresented, isolated, and poor communities with not only the feeling, but the actual means to be an equal part of British society.
Mia FloresBrquez, Founder of Justicia, a human rights advocacy group

Without the belief that one has representation, acceptance, and access to means of prosperity, one cannot feel part of the society in which they live

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Imam Irfan Chishti, the Director of Citizenship at the Sufi Muslim Council, was the final speaker of this panel, and attempted the difficult task of identifying the true nature of Muslim extremism. He began with the premise that the only way to tackle the beast was to understand it,
Imam Irfan Chishti, Director Citizenship, Sufi Muslim Council, and Principle/ Imam of the Light of Islam Academy

recognise it, and show how it does not truly represent Islam. He explained how difficult it was not only for non-Muslims, but for Muslims themselves to know what Islam requires of its adherents, since the extremists claim to be justified under Islamic law. It is therefore imperative that Muslims and non-Muslims alike clearly understand the basis of the extremist ideology, and how it fundamentally differs from true Islam. Imam Chishti identified one source as fundamental to extremism, namely the Wahhabi sect which set itself on a divergent, conflicting path to traditional Islam, and resulted in the proliferation of new doctrines and sects, such as the Salafis, which together promote the concept of a global jihad first against the West, then internally against nonWahhabi-Salafi Muslims, to re-establish the Caliphate, and to instil their own radical interpretation of sharia law. According to Imam Chishti, this radical version of Islam represents only a tiny percentage of the overall Muslim population, yet has a powerful impact on young Muslims, most often in a desperate situation, as described by Ms. Flores-Brquez, through intensive recruitment strategies. The success of these small sects in Britain is in large part due, in the opinion of Imam Chishti, to the low level of religious education amongst British Muslims. He quoted a study, which surveyed 2500 young Muslims on a wide range of questions relating to Muslims in Britain. Imam Chishti noted that only 16% of those surveyed thought that they understood Islam; only 25% thought they knew enough about

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Islam; only 26% believed that mosques in Britain gave a complete Islamic education; and that 83% believed that there were no Muslim role models in the UK. He saw these numbers as clearly indicating that the vast majority of young Muslims were not being sufficiently educated about the true tenets of Islam, and had few if any positive figures with which to relate to. This scenario combined with the feeling of being disenfranchised from society, is ideal for the Wahhabi-Salafi sects recruitment strategy, and therefore must be of central importance to combat and defeat this extremist ideology. The Imam strongly felt that new initiatives need to be supported to teach Muslim youths the true nature of Islam, one in which the Wahhabi-Salafi version of jihad is strictly forbidden by the rules of just war, where Muslims are required to recognise the qualities of the host communityto adhere to open dialogue and positive engagement, and that requires Muslims to strive to be good citizens. Key to any drive to tackle extremism, therefore, will require significant reform in the standards of religious education.
Imam Irfan Chishti in discussion with Dr Martin Conway of the Anglo-Asian Association, Oxford

We are wasting a mass resource, we have kids up and down the land wherever you go having a mosque education, and it is a massive resource we are totally ignoring. We can do so much with trying to instil an understanding of what Islam does require of you as a citizen in a non-Muslim land.
Imam Irfan Chishti

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Discussion:
Dr Hojjat Ramzy, Director of Iqra Girls School: Comment to Jim Trotman: The solution to cohesion and integration lies in the jurisprudence of Islam. If you want to employ Muslims as a police force, you must look within the Islamic law for the right answer. Jim Trotman: My honest response is to say that what I would need to do is go and see you personally Dr Ramzy, and see what exactly you see as important. I wouldnt profess to be an expert on Sharia law, or the wider issues your comment raises, so to answer your question requires further dialogue. Nadir Cheema, Teacher at SOAS: Question to Imam Chishti: I see most of the recruitment of the Wahhabi sects coming from the Barelvi sect. What is the main issue of how they are so easily able to recruit from Barelvi children? Imam Irfan Chishti: This goes back to the question of imams. For the past 20-30 years, the education system in our mosques has been a little bit out of touch, and that is why we have a young generation being attracted to other sects. But there is still a huge potential for development within the mosques and amongst the imams; and it is a credit to the various institutions we do have now, like the Muslim College in London, which have Islamic theological teaching in English, and from good sources that are not only engaging these youths, but preparing for the challenges around them in a modern context. Riaz Ahmed, Secretary of Medina Mosque: Question to Panel: Are all the terrorist activities, the war, etc. not about the New World Order being enforced, and people responding to it?

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Mia Flores-Brquez: In the 1970s in Latin America, there were great conflicts happening all over. Bombings were happening all the time, what were the bombings all about? They were designed to disrupt, to stop, to slow down, but they have taken place throughout history; we have just not been part of it, affected or been aware of it, because the media kept us somehow isolated from it. I dont know whether anyone can answer your question, but in reference to the extent of the bombings happening now, I would argue that it has historically been taking place for quite some time in other parts of the world for different reasons; terrorism has always been carried out in the name of politics, religion, economics, and environment. Patrick Tolani, Director of Oxford Racial Equality Council: Question to Panel: I have not seen how you have addressed issues of economy. The role of economy is crucial, which is not necessarily related to religious issues. Dr Iftikhar Malik: The whole debate that maybe if the Muslim societies graduated into some kind of middle-class dispensation, there would be more stability, doesnt really explain the situation. I think if you look at the phenomena of neo-conservatism in America, ultra-right forces in Europe, or hindutwa in India, these are middle-class forces where religion refuses to accept a kind of marginalised role. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, or Palestine economic factors play a crucial role. If you were an Afghan, you would be in a cul-de-sac, you wouldnt see any light at the end of the tunnel. This is where the suicide-bombings, killings, supporting the Taliban the ideology of self-emulation comes from. Economy, politics, alienation, all play a role. The war against terror has alienated more people, and we are not only alienating ordinary people, but alienating middle-class, educated professionals.

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Session I: Panel II
The Role of Faith in Contemporary Britain
Chair: Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of The Europaeum Speakers: Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza, Director, Imams and Mosques Council UK; Trustee, British Muslim Forum Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke, President, World Congress of Faiths; and, Co- Founder, Three Faiths Forum Judith Kramer, Act for Change
The second panel tried to explore the role of faith groups in the primarily secular society of contemporary Britain. Extremist groups use inaccurate interpretations of religious arguments as the basis of their agenda, as a means of recruiting followers who feel disenfranchised in the society in which they live. As such, religious communities, now more than ever, need to explore their own identity in this modern, secular society, and how to coexist alongside other faiths and other ways of thinking, without falling into the trap of inaccurate extremist dogma. The three speakers sought to address a) the position of Muslims in Britain, b) the role of the inter-faith dialogue movement in promoting social cohesion, and c) how personal commitment and dedication on an individual basis can lead to improved social cohesion among religious and cultural communities within Britain. The panel began with Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza, a prominent leader of the Muslim community in Britain, and an outspoken advocate of interfaith and cultural dialogue.
Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of The Europaeum, and Fellow of Mansield College, Oxford

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Sheikh Raza began by reiterating the central role religion plays for those who have a faith; a role which is a crucial part of the social, political, and personal lives of people of all faiths. In a secular, modern society, to profess to have a faith becomes a strong statement of ones identity, and
Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza, Director, Imams and Mosques Council UK; Founding Trustee, British Muslim Forum

is integral to ones behaviour, attitudes, and world-view. However, for people of faiths living in such a secular, multicultural, industrial society, there are often significant pressures to abandon such religious identity, which, according to Sheikh Raza, would be disastrous. He identified several roles of faith, such as through education, trustbuilding, and self-examination, which are crucial to further integration within the wider British society. The Sheikh first noted that Muslims within Britain generally lacked a proper Islamic education, which has led to confusions and problems for the Muslim community. He believed that by educating themselves about their own faith, Muslims would inevitably be able to better understand others, be able to interact intelligently and compassionately within society, and be more secure within their own communities. Education would thus also lead to internal integration within the Muslim community, which the Sheikh saw as essential for wider societal integration. He noted that in non-Muslim countries, the various denominational paths within Islam Sunni, Shia, Wahhabi/Salafis, Sufi, etc.

In order to establish our identity, we do not need to demonize others, we can establish and maintain our identity in a multicultural society, while respecting, accepting and tolerating all other human beings.

were simply not important; and that a minority Muslim population needed to be as one, not composed of a collection of smaller, divergent minorities. Of primary importance to achieving this level of internal and ultimately general integration, is the active participation of mosques and imams

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throughout Britain to be educators and unifiers, who can deliver the true message of Islam. This will require imams with ability, charisma, and authority; who not only speak English, but are ideologically and emotionally tied to Britain. These imams would thus be in the best situation to be training the community, particularly the youth, in shared ethical and moral values, such as universal human rights, tolerance, and peace. Qualified imams educating an internally integrated Muslim community will, according to the Sheikh, deepen the level of trust held between different Muslim groups, between young and old generations, between different faith groups, and between Muslims and society as a whole. Trust thus becomes the key component in becoming truly integrated, and building lasting social cohesion. Finally, one of the most important roles of Islam is the promotion of individual self-examination, which comes with education and trust. As a result of this self-examination, Muslims can move from barriers to bridges, to open and constructive dialogue; which should be, according to Sheikh Raza, the role of faith in contemporary Britain.

Language is important, but not everything. If we can speak the language of Oxford and Cambridge, but the ideologies and emotions are coming from other countries, the language is not going to help us at all. So we need to live here geographically as well as ideologically and emotionally. That is the most important and challenging role for the Muslim community to take.
- Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza

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The Reverend Dr Marcus Braybrooke spoke on the role of interfaith dialogue in promoting social cohesion. Faith being only one factor in a complex situation, it is important to remember that religion is as much a matter of identity, as about a belief in God it can be about what people
Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke, President, World Congress of Faiths; and, Co- Founder, Three Faiths Forum

wear, what food people eat, etc. and society needs to affirm peoples right to practise and believe what they want, so long as they do not hurt anyone else. On the other hand, those of different faiths need to affirm the values that are shared between them; and the aim of interfaith dialogue, and indeed any social cohesion initiative in Britain, is to build, as the Chief Rabbi has described it, a Community of communities. To this end, interfaith work is essential at all levels local, national and international and since 2000 such initiatives have nearly doubled; yet there remains much work to be done. Central to any interfaith work, is addressing the most difficult challenges to social cohesion: bitterness and prejudice. Bitterness relating to memories of past and current conflicts, results in continued mistrust and scepticism. Dr Braybrook believed that most communities needed to repent for past behaviours and seek mutual forgiveness through explicitly acknowledging past wrongs and injustices. Prejudices arise from inherited factors, from false images relating to past misconceptions. People are still ignorant of those who belong to other religions. Again, the role of education was raised as means of dispelling these false images. Rev. Dr Braybrooke called on Christians to stand with other faiths, particularly Muslims at this time, to affirm shared values, make vital contributions to mutual understanding, to seek reconciliation rather than revenge, and share the riches of our different cultures.

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Judith Kramer followed with a personal talk about her own background as a Jewish woman dedicated to helping others, building bridges between communities, and expanding her own learning about other cultures, as an example of how her faith has contributed to her life, and thus as a model for how faith acts as a vehicle for who we are. She believed that in many ways we chose the strand of our faith because of who we are as individuals; and one of the great benefits of a contemporary Western society such as Britain, is that many more choices that are available, which offer a variety of acceptable paths for individuals to take according to who they are. The only real requirement is to be open and accepting of other peoples choices, and to actively attempt to learn about who people are to learn with the assumption that I know that I do not know. She went on to recount a story attributed to Rabbi Hillel, who taught in Jerusalem around the time of Jesus, where a Roman soldier came to the Rabbi and asked to be taught the Torah. Hillel simply said: Do not unto others what is hateful for you. The soldier asked: Does that mean the Torah says all men are brothers, heathen and Jew, and that we have to be kind to one another as if we are brothers? Hillel replied: Yes, the rest is all commentary. Ms Kramer described this as a central tenet of her own life within a family of many different religious and political beliefs, and which reflected a traditional Jewish perspective. Ms Kramer felt that at heart all people are good; that the doer of an action sees themselves as doing something good, even if we cannot understand why or how they can act so. We need to be learners and teachers to understand and share our different backgrounds and perspectives in order to work towards social cohesion.
Judith Kramer, Company Secretary, Act for Change

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Discussion:
Sauban Rafi, Treasurer of Oxford Asian Cultural Association: Question to Panel: How do you promote religious harmony among mainstream religions, when the second largest religion in the world, Islam, is associated with terrorism? Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke: I dont myself equate Islam with terrorism, and I am sad if that is what Muslims are now feeling; because I accept there is a lot of misrepresentation, and we have to tackle with that, but if we allow ourselves to feel alienated and become victims, it actually undermines what we can do. So I think it is a matter of those

...a lot of our language about outside the Muslim community affirming and trying to encourage terrorism is a fairer representation; and a lot of the work in interfaith actually blinding organisations is challenging such misrepresentation. What I us to the issues welcome recently is the amount of initiatives the Muslim that have to be community are now making to encourage others to get to know tackled.
them. We all have to get away from this labelling. What I am concerned about, relating to your [Judith Kramer] remarks about everyone being good at heart, is our language in denouncing those who throw bombs. The political reaction is that these are evil, worse than animals; but how do we distinguish genuine rejection of certain behaviour without rejecting the person? There is also the concern that the American government has used the blanket word terrorist to almost anyone with whom they disagree, and I think this is relates particularly to the situation in Palestine. I can remember as a child the French resistance movement against the Nazis were held up to me as heroes; where do you move from legitimate freedom fighters, to those committing terrorism? I follow a Christian path, and therefore do not advocate violence in any situation, but I accept, for example, that

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Nelson Mandela felt at one stage that violence was the only way in which change can happen. So it seems to me that a lot of our language about terrorism is actually blinding us to the issues that have to be tackled. Sauban Rafi, Treasurer of Oxford Asian Cultural Association: Question to Panel: Is what is happening to the Muslims similar to what happened with Jews during the Holocaust? Judith Kramer: It is different. Jews did not have a home; there was no Jewish country, perhaps not since 1492. My ancestors have been on the run, occasionally finding a safe place for a few generations before having to move on. And in the 1930s, Hitlers gradual process of dispossession continued this, and ultimately ending in a policy of mass extermination. First there isnt really a process of dispossession going on today, certainly not in the same way. Second, there isnt really a parallel with the Holocaust going on there is no one trying to wipe Muslims off the face of the Earth; and if there was, they would be very hard put to do it. However, there is some commonality of experience, and it would be really valuable to be able share how we as Muslims and Jews can encourage ourselves when we are discriminated against; how do we deal with that in a positive way that will give us good results; there are internal educational aspects that we can help each other with. Patrick Tolani, Director of Oxford Racial Equality Council: Question to Panel: Many members of different cultural communities do not have access to an infrastructure or support systems, and often rely on their religious institutions. To what extent to do you as religious leaders feel competent to be able to signpost them to organisations that can help them?

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Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza: In regard to infrastructure, yes there are mosques who have already started facilities for extra tuition in secular subjects. That service needs to be extended. Mosques offer students lessons in Maths, English, and Computer Science; and mosques are places to go to seek advice. But this is a service that should be extended, and not only extended to Muslims, but to all so that it can help in the process of cohesion and integration. We should also be providing facilities for advice for women, youth, community initiatives, sports, etc. and for that we need resources. But it is also important to remember that Muslims are a comparatively young community in this country; so as a young community we should be allowed some time so that we can achieve a gradual, organic growth in this country. In principle, though, I would very much like to see all mosques extending facilities with secular dimensions, and there is potential for capacity building in this respect. Rev. Dr David Partridge, Interfaith worker: Comment to Sheikh Raza: I got disturbed when you talked about intrafaith, as well as interfaith dialogue. As a parish priest for 40 years, I became distrustful of the signs of cleaning your own house first, in order to be ready for the world. I dont think it works that way. I believe I understand what drives a lot of Islam, and I have infinite sympathy, but I wonder whether part of the future is outreaching Islam, which can be really prophetic in UK 2007, and God knows we need it. Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza: Muslims have a responsibility towards outreaching the wider community, in presenting the core values of Islam, which are of great value to anybody in a wide variety of contexts, and for that we need integration. Yet, for integration, we need an environment. There is precedence in this country that previous migrant communities were

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provided an environment which was free from intimidation, harassment, and insecurity; and these groups have well integrated into the society. Perhaps Muslims also deserve the same environment. However, as long as a community is being intimidated and harassed, they are forced to look somewhere else, and that is the greatest barrier to integration. Altaf Hussain, Chairman of Central Oxford Mosque: Question to Sheikh Raza: A recent study of imams in Britain stated that a vast majority of imams in this country cannot speak English properly. Do you believe only 6% of Imams actually do speak English? Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza: That survey has been done only for 300 mosques, it is not a national survey, it primarily represents the Yorkshire and Lancashire area, and perhaps it is a reality that in those areas, the imams cannot speak good English. But I think more generally, all the mosques have realised the need to employ at least one imam who speaks good English, and we are in the process of fulfilling that requirement. But it takes time; as I said, we are a young community, we have so many on our shoulders, but there is a general consensus that our pattern of communication must change, and I am hopeful that another survey in a couple of years will show an entirely different result. Fatimah Ramzy, student in Oxford: Question to Panel: How do you propose to further the efforts to promote understanding between faiths in terms of education among the younger generation, particularly with the diminishing status of religious education from personal experience in local schools?

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Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke: I think perhaps even more important than learning about religion, is learning about spiritual values. A movement I have a link with in America is about spiritual parenthood, trying to encourage people, even as children, not to necessarily adopt religion, but to be aware of spiritual values, to appreciate the beauty of nature, and so on. We also need more role models to promote understand. I have written a little book called 365 Meditations, where I tried to take all sorts of inspiring stories from different cultures and different religions; but it is not about religion, it about trying to allow a culture to be impregnated by the variety of good role models and examples. I think this is another way to promote better understanding, particularly for the young generation. Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor, Eton College: Question to Panel: In many ways, this conference is about a vision for the future; what is your vision for Great Britain in the 21st century? Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke: My real longing is that we gain the status among the international community when we are clearly on the side of international law and human rights. There was a period about 20 years ago that I could take a certain pride in the British role in peace keeping operations in different parts of the world I thought we were really on the side of trying to struggle for a better world. This is why I feel the last few years undermined the stages we had got to in the United Nations, the whole dignity of human rights, so I would like to see us regain an international role worthy of respect of people outside Britain and the people within Britain itself. And I would like to see a society that we can really value

It is not about religion, it about trying to allow a culture to be impregnated by the variety of good role models and examples.

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and see the differences and varieties as an enrichment we can learn from each other. Judith Kramer: We need, as communities, to know each other as best as we possibly can. With Act for Change, we brought a Holocaust survivor to a school where Muslims consisted of 65% student body, and primarily from the same part of Pakistan. They had never seen a Jew before. In the small workshops we conducted, they talked very openly about their need for more knowledge, more interaction. I believe as communities, we actually need to make this happen together, knowing each other better, and not having preconceptions. There needs to be much more knowledge both ways. Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke: And just to follow-up on what Judith said, I wish we can do more meeting in each others homes, rather than in so many conference centres, because that is where real friendships develop, and it seems to me an initiative we can all take.

Britain has historically been the most tolerant Western society. I would love to see in the future that that face of tolerant Britain remains intact.

Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza: My vision is of having a properly structured, integrated society, where, as a Muslim, I would like my children to see a British Islam flourish in this country. When I say British Islam, I mean a local Islam, its fundamental beliefs and practises rooted here. I have travelled a lot, and I have seen and experienced that Britain has historically been the most tolerant Western society. I would love to see in the future that that face of tolerant Britain remains intact.

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Session II: Panel I


Art as a Vehicle for Cultural Exchange
Chair: Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor, Eton College; Chair, New Dawn Enterprises Speakers: Dr Christopher Brown, Director, Ashmolean Museum Dr Peggy Morgan, Honorary President, British Association for the Study of Religions; and Lecturer in World Religions, Mansfield College Malcolm Atkins, local musician & Lecturer in Music, Open University
The third panel explored the role of the arts in contributing to greater cultural awareness and understanding. One of the primary and most pleasing outputs of different cultures can be found in their art and music. These outputs act as mediums of communication in ways inaccessible to just words or writings, and can be powerful, expressive tools in building social cohesion. Britain has come to represent a place where freedom of artistic expression from across the globe is welcomed and encouraged, and therefore has one of the most diverse and rich artistic communities in the world. The three panellists presented different means of reaching out to people of many cultures and faiths through a) practical museum policies and programmes designed to facilitate greater exposure to art, b) education programmes to show the strong historical connections and influences across cultures, and c) community outreach initiatives which focus on stimulating and supporting local artists and workshops.
by Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor of Eton College; and Chair and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises

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Dr. Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, was the first panellist to discuss the arts as a vehicle for cultural exchange. He described how the Ashmolean currently contributes to the community, and the ways in which the museum is trying to bring its cultural resources to communities that are underrepresented in the Ashmoleans
Dr Christopher Brown, Director, Ashmolean Museum

usual patronage. The Ashmolean houses collections from almost all of the worlds cultures, and always has since the opening of the Museum in 1683. The Museum boasts a great width of curatorial expertise, offering experience and knowledge to visitors through exhibitions, seminars, and symposia. Such cultural representation has the ability to help people understand each others traditions, celebrate the value of those communities, and, in this way, create a degree of desirable cohesion within the community. Museums are a particularly good resource for cultural exchange because they are neutral spaces; they are non-denominational and, in some way, safe spaces for people to engage in cultural dialogue. Museums are meant to collect, interpret, and conserve objects from a very wide variety of cultures and traditions in an entirely nonjudgemental and unbiased way. The Ashmolean is very consciously identifying, working with, and drawing out communities who have not previously used the Museum. The Museum coordinates activities targeted at particular communities, and also shapes their programmes very specifically based on careful consultation from these communities. This entails going into schools and community halls throughout Oxford, and actually talking to and encouraging people to utilize the resources of the Museum. The Ashmolean takes some of its collections out as well as encouraging people to come in, and has made partnerships with community groups.

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According to Dr Brown, getting people to enter and spend time in the Museum is the key to its mission of engaging with the community and contributing to social cohesion. By drawing communities in to look at their own cultural traditions, or to certain areas they might already be interested in, they become introduced to the cultural traditions of others, traditions they have never encountered or understood before, by simple virtue of having a neutral, unbiased institution hosting objects and information from across the world. So one of the primary aims of the Museum is to integrate and embed these cultural traditions within the Museum, and open the doors to the public to view and learn from them. The Ashmolean is at its core, a cultural commitment by the University, the City, and its patrons, freely provided to the community, and an extraordinary cultural resource which we all should use.

We have here, in Oxford, in this small midlands town, the most important museum of art and archaeology in this country outside London. Such a museum is not in Birmingham, its not in Manchester, its not in the great metropolitan centres of this country, but its in Oxford. Its an extraordinary cultural resource which is on your doorstep and we must all use it.
- Dr Christopher Brown

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Dr Peggy Morgans talk was more personal, which she titled Turquoise, Tiles and Tulips. She started with 1976, the year of the World of Islam festival. It was also the year that she happened to move house within Oxford and found that she had a sitting room carpet which was the
Dr Peggy Morgan, Honorary President, British Association for the Study of Religions; and Lecturer in World Religions, Mansfield College

colour of sand, and furniture of blue and green, which seemingly did not fit together. After discovering a book that had come out of the World of Islam festival, she realized that she had the ideal colour scheme of traditional Islamic Art. Dr Morgan felt that in all parts of life one can actually find reminders of such influences. For example, the paradise of life designs, so prevalent in Islamic art, can be found in many of the objects we take for granted here in the West. The inspiration for many gardens, with fountains and rivulets of water and paving into compartments, is actually inspired by the great Islamic garden art meant to represent the gardens of paradise. One of the extracted floral designs that is so often found in tiles used across the world is the tulip, which in Islamic art contains a special preciousness as a representation as a reminder of God and the Five Pillars of Wisdom. The influence of these motifs can be found throughout England. Kelmscott Manor, the beloved summer retreat of William Morris who was one of the key figures in the arts and crafts movement and much of whose work is here in Oxford, contains not only many original fabrics, but also tiles, designed by William de Morgan, which are inspired by Islamic art, all preserved in Oxford. We see such artistic blending even now with the design of the new Islamic Centre in Oxford, which shows just how very well a classic Islamic architectural design fits within a city of many domes, towers, and dreaming spires.

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Malcolm Atkins, a local musician and lecturer at the Open University, challenged the idea of music as a single universal language. He highlighted the reasons that all artistic cultures in all communities should be evaluated on their own terms, rather than using a very Western, high art viewpoint which can sometimes take away from the value of other cultural music. He described music as a set of agreed methods of communication by a particular community, rather than necessarily some universally understood standards defined by a dominant culture. As members of a wider community such as Oxford, therefore, we should aim to understand, appreciate, and support the range of cultural expression found within the diversity of our community for a number of reasons. Firstly, arts express so much that is personal to a culture, that to understand the cultures around us, we need to understand their art forms. By understanding cultures films, music, and visual arts, we inevitably gain an understanding of the multiplicity of values within that culture, and the way our common humanity is expressed and signified. Music, in particular, is crucial to the identity of a culture, especially to youth culture. To understand the music that portrays the identity of a group, one is halfway to understanding the values of that group, which would be enormously beneficial in engaging with young people. Further, if we deny or discourage opportunities to learn about different forms of expression, than we are limiting our own life choices and ability to communicate. There is a wealth of beauty and knowledge to be found through the wide variety of music and art from the constituent communities of this country, which represent the whole world. Mr Atkins likened ones breadth of understanding of the arts to ones vocabulary: just as we would be ashamed if the vocabulary of our youth
Malcolm Atkins, local musician & Lecturer in Music, Open University

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was limited through poor education, similarly we should be ashamed if the understanding of the arts is as limited. Finally, artistic movements are fluid and require constant renewal. One of the most common forms of renewal is the integration of new cultural elements, frequently gained from the approaches of different communities and the assimilation of new techniques. Understanding the various artistic expressions within ones community enriches and prevents stagnation. To facilitate greater understanding of the artistic expression of various communities, we thus need to welcome and actively support these new approaches and techniques of incorporation, adaptation and renewal. We need to set up a forum for the expression of all communities as equals to encourage local talent to share and diversify the artistic scene within Oxford. Oxford can and should be the greatest city of culture outside of London; but, according to Mr Atkins, the way things are now, it is not surprising that we have not received that distinction yet. One of the problems with the commercially-oriented musical culture within the UK, as well as with the arts world, is that many cultures get marketed as exotic, and serve to perpetuate the myths and the misconceptions more at home in the nineteenth century. The different cultural groups in Oxford have been marginalized within this commercial world, which in Oxford is dominated by the Classical musical tradition, which corresponds with the Romantic vision of Oxford, and the indy-pop scene, which has apparent commercial appeal to the university student populations. There have been some attempts to widen this scope, but again he sees these as perpetuating the exotic. According to Mr Atkins, we need more platforms for understanding cultures, more venues and arts centres that are dedicated to supporting local artists from the diverse communities in Oxford.

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Discussion:
Cllr. Niaz Abbasi, Oxford City Council:
Question to Dr Brown: Last year you had the Pilgrimage exhibition, and I think that was a very successful programme, and was a good step forward to bring communities together. Do you have another project in mind? Dr Christopher Brown: We created a body called the Ashmolean Interfaith Exhibition Service, and the Pilgrimage exhibition was the first of a series of exhibitions. But I am afraid there has to be a lapse in time, because most of the Museum has been knocked down, and we dont have the space to do temporary exhibitions at the moment. When we reopen, however, there will be more than 600 sq/m of space, which is very much larger than, frankly, most London museums have. So we will be able to put on very ambitious temporary exhibitions, and we certainly intend to have other exhibitions of a similar character. We consider it to have been a huge success, and very pleased with the response to it. Hiroki Yamasi, Visiting Academic, St Antonys College, Oxford: Question to Panel: Where do we stand on the creative side, as opposed to just the appreciation side? What initiatives are going on in Oxford using artistic channels? Dr Christopher Brown: I cannot comment on that too much, as it is not something that a museum of the character of the Ashmolean produces, but we can certainly provide a venue. One of the key things about the new building is that can be used in the evening by community groups, for all sorts of community arts activities. There is also a whole education centre

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planned as part of this scheme, which will provide education programmes for the young. So there will be spaces that can be used for community arts groups. Rev. Dr David Partridge, Interfaith Worker: Question of Malcolm Atkins: You mentioned a lack of an appropriate venue; but what about the Pegasus Theatre, which is always full of inter-faith things? Malcolm Atkins: Yes, I think the Pegasus Theatre is a good example of the type of place that could be turned into a community venue. Another good example was the Old Firestation Arts Centre. I think having a subsidised arts centre for the city this size supporting all the arts is essential. It was a disaster when the Old Firestation was given over to private concern, because what you want isnt a pub-orientated place, you want a place that encourages people to perform and different groups to meet who may not want to be in a pub situation. Although the Pegasus is a good example, in my experience it tends to have a very high quality output, which means it doesnt always have a strong community involvement. You need more grassroots development of the arts, and a subsidised centre that really supports community artists, and the Old Firestation did that. It had subsidised practice rooms, it would put events on, and it was open to everybody to be involved. And I think the examples of the venues of the Cowley Road tend to be geared to certain forms of music, and I would say again, you need active encouragement of the different groups in Oxford to play music. Most of the Indian musicians I know go to London to perform, because there simply arent available venues; everything is so geared towards indierock music or the classical/baroque tradition, which is so marketed in

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the centre of Oxford, that other forms of music have no outlets. And the same can be said of black musicians, there are no outlets for that form of music, despite the fact that there were plenty of practitioners. I have always thought it ironic how many good acts come into Oxford, yet how little support there is for local musicians there are loads of local talent in Oxford which is just unrecognised and undeveloped. Dr Christopher Brown: I thought Malcolm was a little bit hard on our city of culture bid, which I was in some way involved in; the idea that we didnt get it because we werent a city of culture is rather tough. It was always, like all these things, eventually a political decision. So I think to get into the last six, we did extremely well and I was rather encouraged by that. It was an interesting process, and I think it is a process that in the evolving city campaign has left a real legacy. I do think though that the lack of a satisfactory music venue is an extraordinary lacuna in Oxford. There was talk some years ago of a major concert hall on the Castle side of town, and it was a great missed opportunity that that didnt happen. It is a remarkable lack in a city this side with as much musical activity that there is no satisfactory venue on a large scale. Dr Taj Hargy, Director, Muslim Educational Centre (MECO), Oxford: Comment to the Panel: I am rather curious that this is the only panel of the four that we do not have a Muslim representative speaking about arts and culture. I think that is really indicative of the lack of Muslim involvement in this field. We at MECO are the only group in Oxford that have an annual Muslim music festival, which brings musicians together from all over the Muslim world, including the UK. This is a festival of sacred music, liturgical music, devotional music, and the reason why we

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have not been successful in the past, is because the mosques here in Oxford say that music is haram, that music is totally prohibited. In the last two years when we hand out our leaflets outside the mosque, our people were attacked. They were attacked by Muslims coming out of the mosque on a Friday. But the point I am trying to make, is that it is right and well to talk about social cohesion, tolerance, pluralism, and so on, but within the Muslim community here in Oxford, there is a great deal of intolerance, and that is the issue we are not really dealing with here. For example, I do not see any representatives of the Bangladeshi Mosque, which is one of the three mosques here in Oxford, I only see representatives of the other two mosques. On the issue of arts and culture, we have a very legitimate effort by a Muslim group to present music, and to show through music you come together, you celebrate what unites you. And what we need to do really is to see how and why these things happen. I think the whole idea of social cohesion without looking at the difficulties within the Muslim community needs to be addressed. Imam Monawar Hussain: Just four weeks ago we welcomed over 600 people at the Central Oxford Mosque from a diversity of faiths and cultures, it was a really wonderful event and the children from the mosque sang a moving song to welcome everyone. There is a representative present from the Stanley Road Mosque, and we are all working extremely hard to create a real sense of understanding and community; there has been a lot of work going on for the last twenty years. As to the point about attacks on people distributing leaflets about music, I am somewhat surprised as I cannot recall seeing or hearing about this. You will understand that the

...there is a strong drive in Oxford to work together and deal with real cohesion-building, in making connections and synergies, not simply further exoticising groups...

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Central Oxford Mosque is the largest mosque here in Oxford and most people, I would say the vast majority, listen to Sufi qawwali music; if you go to their homes, you will notice they have satellite television and often listen to music. Music is not such a big issue among most Muslims here; but like any group, there are a few members that have different opinions, which do not necessarily represent the majority, but we have to respect that. Chad Frischmann: I would also just like to point out that representatives from all the mosques here in Oxford were invited to join us, as were representatives of non-faith based groups but many simply had other obligations today and regretfully declined. All, however, have expressed their support of this initiative, and their desire to be included in future events. This also includes the Pegasus Theatre, and a dozen other such institutions in Oxford, which would like to support this work. Similarly, we have a number of Muslim artists and musicians involved with this project. So I think there is a strong drive in Oxford to work together and deal with real cohesion-building, in making connections and synergies, not simply further exoticising groups within the community. Dr Martin Conway, Anglo-Asian Association, Oxford: Comment to Panel: It is difficult to bring together the elite end of things, and the very popular, fresh, young side of things. I think that would be a difficulty in Britain in any city, but bigger places with more freedom, and more audiences would find it a bit easier than a relative small place, where you have a very good audience for the elite end of things, and then you turn out to have not such good audiences on the other end of the spectrum. I think that is something Oxford needs to work on harder, and I cant help thinking that Magdalen Road with both

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the Bingo Hall and the Pegasus Theatre, is probably a better place for what Malcolm is after than the things in the middle of town, which are very much the upper bracket; you are a good deal freer if youre on Magdalen Road to just be yourself. Dr Peggy Morgan: I am a bit worried about definitions what is elite and what is not. I think original music can be very elitist, rather than just reproducing yet more performances of Beethoven. Malcolm Atkins: I would look for a broader range of things. I feel the problem in Oxford in terms of venue, is the narrowness around the traditional idea of the European music elite and basically white-student focused indie-rock music. I think those are the two dominant forms of music being supported here: the Zodiac, the Bullingdon Arms, etc., all those venues cater to

...the problem in Oxford is the narrowness around the traditional idea of the European music elite and basically whitestudent focused indie-rock music.

white-rock; and then the Sheldonian, Jacqueline du Pr Room, Holywell Music Room, etc. are more for Baroque and Classical forms of music. So I think there are gaps, but whether you describe traditional forms of music from other cultures as elite or not, I dont know. Imam Monawar Hussain: Well one of the events we are organising as part of this project, is a music event. We are trying to create a fusion of music from diverse cultures and in many ways it will be an experiment to see how successful it can be as a medium for bringing our communities together and cultivating cohesiveness.

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Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of the Europaeum: Comment to the Panel: I wanted to make a suggestion. I was involved with an amazing project in London, which involved a hundred schools, some 10,000 students, but also leading artists, costume makers, musicians, and theatre people. That was a project to stage the Ramayana, which is an Indian epic. We got all these schools to participate in different aspects of the story as the epic, some school were going to perform, some were going to sing, some to make puppets, etc. and in the end 100 schools and 10,000 children came together in Basi Park to perform a fantastic staging of the epic, which was absolutely more interesting actually than many of the performance you get on the Indian Subcontinent, because it was infused with fresh perspectives. I am suggesting this because it seems to me that this is the kind of project that might be very manageable in Oxford. It would be very important that state and private schools were involved to bridge one gap, it would be important to have the Ashmolean and the Pegasus Theatre involved, the use some of the skilled musicians around, and so. Obviously you need a packet of money, but not a huge amount. So I offer that as a kind of more ambitious visionary project, which could link huge numbers of institutions and individuals in something that would be quite exciting. Chad Frischmann, The Europaeum: Question to Panel: I just recently attended an event in London at a Synagogue, which brought together a Jewish, Christian, and Muslim speaker to talk about the future of religious leadership training. I noticed quickly that I was perhaps the youngest person at that event by at least 20 years, and that raises a point. There are a lot of outreach programmes at the Ashmolean, the Natural History Museum and so on, but they cater almost always to the youngest generation. But how do we engage with that middle of the line? Not just the teenager, but the young adult those in their twenties, my own generation. When we talk about

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community programmes, and involving communities, there seems to be a dichotomy here, there is one end of the spectrum and the other. I take the point of Dr Morgan very much that there is a lot of influence from the Islamic tradition with, for example, gardening; but how many young people are engaged in gardening where they can appreciate that influence? So how do we bridge this, and how can we have programmes that bring together not just the oldest and the youngest generations, which are is extremely important, but also provide alternatives to my generation? Dr Christopher Brown: I think that is an extremely important point, and a very, very difficult one for museums. Of course, children come in because they come in with school groups, which is, on the whole, how one attracts children to museums; and we can very easily provide activities at the weekends for parents and children and teenagers fall into this category to some extent as well. You can also get undergraduates in by offering them a drink, which has worked. But to attract people in their twenties and thirties, when they are often busy with their careers and families, is extremely difficult. If you look at the demographic of this, this is exactly the pattern you see, that people use museums as children and in their teens, then there is a falling off, and they come back to use them later on. And I absolutely take that point, to create events that will attract those age groups effectively is very hard, and no doubt part of it is getting these age groups engaged with this debate. Chad Frischmann: The importance of this question, when talking about social cohesion, relates as well to the first Panel on tackling extremism. What age group are we finding these fundamentalist terrorists who are blowing themselves up? They are not the youngest generation, they are not

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teenagers, or the elderly; they are, for the most part, my generation in their twenties and thirties. So when we talk about social cohesion and tackling extremism by providing alternatives through art and music, for example I think that is one of the most important age groups to be targeting, and the one that gets the least attention. Dr Peggy Morgan: From my knowledge of my own family, my children were brought up doing all sorts things and they remain interested. But now they are young professionals and their work commitments are such that they do not have flexible time. I think young professionals now are 150-200% taken up by what they have to do for their jobs properly, which seems to be across the board. Dr Christopher Brown: But the issue also, as far as museums are concerned, can be as simple as opening hours. The idea that you are open between 10am-5pm, which the Ashmolean does, is simply not a time when people who are working can use museums. Clearly we need to think more intelligently about when we open up museums and other cultural institutions, so that we can offer some alternatives to working adults. The Pompidou Centre in Paris, for example, is open until 8-10pm, and if you want people to use the museum, that is actually the time to have them open. Nisha Prakash: I think this is such an important point about engagement, and we really need to provide more for young adults. One such event delivered by the City Council recently, in partnership with Oxford Brookes University, called the Oxford Mela, and lots of local community groups came together for this festival. This was an event where we successfully engaged young people in various forms, some were volunteering, some

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performing, some were doing dance, and others offering drums workshops for young people, so bridges were built. And although it can look like a one-day event, there are other things going on all the time. Individually it is difficult, but through partnerships these types of the projects can be successful, so I think partnership is the way forward. Chad Frischmann: I agree with Dr Morgan completely, but how many of the terrorists were young doctors and engineers who found the time here in Britain to plan bombings? Part of the problem is that so many of us spend 200% of our time focused on work, and forget that there are other things in the world that are important in a balanced life; and those other things are the alternatives we need to encourage. Yes we need to work with our youngsters and with parents, but I strongly believe that we also need to develop strategies to engage with young professionals in, as Dr Brown and Malcolm pointed out, neutral spaces; places where people of all faiths and cultures can freely and comfortably go, without feeling marginalised. It seems to me that the arts and music are excellent mediums to promote engagement, particularly for my generation; but it will require a strong commitment of support from the community and government (both local and national), venues other than pubs and clubs that are open in the evening and late at night, and programmes designed to get people interested in these initiatives. And the added benefit of this approach is that it will inevitably have a spill over effect on the younger generation by showing them that there are alternatives; and let us not forget that these young professionals will soon be the future parents of a new generation of youngsters.

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Session II: Panel II


Engaging the Youth: Education and Community Programmes
Chair: Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor, Eton College; Chair and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises Speakers: Nisha Prakash, Community Cohesion Officer, Oxford City Council Dr M Hussain Mirza, Thames Valley University Sidiq Abbasi, Muslim Youth Worker
The final panel focused on how education and community initiatives directed at engaging the youth are essential in building social cohesion. With extremist groups targeting youths who feel disenfranchised, hopeless, and isolated from the rest of society, it is imperative that programmes designed to engage these youths be offered as attractive alternatives that provide such youths a means of being a constructive part of society. Each panellist is actively engaged in community service, either on an official or voluntary basis, and described their motivations and frustrations in their work. Many suggestions were made on how to improve a) the funding and commitment of local government to these programmes, b) participation among the youth and young adults in community initiatives, c) the commitment of volunteers to run these programmes, and d) several specific programmes, such as town sports leagues, festivals, music and art workshops, inter-school field trips, etc.

by Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor of Eton College; and Chair and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises

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Nisha Prakash spoke on behalf of the Oxford City Council about the challenges of engaging youth in Oxford, the opportunities for improving cohesion among the citys youth. Oxfords needs are sometimes diluted among the needs of the County, as many of the government sponsored youth and educational services are housed with the County Council. For example, the black population in 2001 was 12.89%, if one dilutes that to Oxfordshire County, that comes to about 4.5%, and this is where the difference about how the money is being invested, and how the strategies are being written and delivered. The City Council is in unfortunate situation where they deal with the day-to-day life of the city, but do not necessarily have the resources or the infrastructure to make a huge difference. There is also a need for engaging youth at the grassroots level; although there are policies and services designed around youth, there is very little engagement with them to explain the services or to get feedback. Youth leadership and mentoring programs are needed, again at the grassroots level, to show people firsthand the successes of their peers. Issues of identity need to be explored. The City Council needs to work with key stakeholders in Oxford to collaborate with the private and corporate sectors to get them actively supporting such initiatives. The City Council has had a number of successes which they are trying to build on. There is the Youth Council, a council of students from local area schools who provide feedback on services and policies. There is KEEN, an organization that encourages youth to volunteer, and MOTOR, which helps children use their hands and develop skills by recycling used mechanical parts. There are also specific areas for

Nisha Prakash, Community Cohesion Officer, Oxford City Council

It is the City Councils role to enable and support people to interact with each other and move from a multicultural city to an intercultural city.

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programs which are facing multiple deprivation, such as in Blackbird Leys. There is a new project with funding from Sport England which is working with young people, especially black and ethnic minority people, because research shows that there are very few are engaging in leisure activities or using sports facilities; this is an example where the City Council is specially targeting key youth groups to outreach. The City Council also organises various multi-cultural events, such as the Oxford Mela. But Ms Prakash stressed that it is not about putting on a one day event to see that people are enjoying diversity. The Council worked for over 9 months to get people together. It is about partnerships, and working closely with those partners. For example, Oxford Brookes University was working with local primary schools directly to make young people understand the importance of volunteering, and local musicians were working with local communities with whom they have not had an opportunity to interact. All the work that goes on in the preparatory stages to put on events like the Mela cannot be underestimated, and has huge impact on people actually talking and having those relationships. Oxford has many opportunities to engage youth in cultural cohesion. There is a healthy voluntary sector, which is funded by Oxford City Council as well as other regional and national grants. It is the City Councils role to enable and support people to interact with each other and move from a multicultural city to an inter-cultural city, but we need to work together with the community to make these things happen.

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Dr Hussain Mirza, from Thames Valley University, highlighted how the education process is not just for youth, but begins at a very young age. It is a continuous process that needs to be developed and reinforced throughout life, starting at a young age, in the home from parents, and continuing after compulsory education. One of the reasons so many young people find themselves feeling disenfranchised and sometimes so hopeless that they turn to extremism, whether that is fundamental religion or radical political ideas, is because they are completing their secondary education, and expecting to carry on with a professional career, but finding that they simply cannot get work. This is because in our modern society, good jobs increasingly require a higher education, and unfortunately youngsters from migrant families think that university or post-secondary school training are somehow inaccessible to them. They start to feel marginalised and angry, and become susceptible to extremist groups. Youth need to be encouraged to carry on in education and training after they leave compulsory education. We must have campaigns that are actively instilling the notion that higher education and training in advanced skills are accessible to our first or second generation migrant youths, and this needs to be done throughout their young lives. One of the ways to do this is to work with primary and secondary schools directly; and another way is through community institutions, such as mosques, youth centres, etc. Sometimes this involves modifying teaching styles to provide experience-based methods of education. In 1994, the UK Education and Advisory Council stated that the most successful nations in the future will be those which develop a highly skilled and motivated work force, and those that make the most of the talents of their young people, and this remains true today.
Dr Hussain Mirza, Thames Valley University

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Siddique Abbasi noted that the challenge of engaging youth in cultural cohesion is not just for the Muslim community, but for the integration of all of the world communities that live in this country, and that East Oxford was a perfect representation of that diversity found across the UK. He went on to describe the difficulties this posed to social cohesion,
Siddique Abbasi, Muslim Youth Worker

focusing on the Muslim community from his extensive experience as a Muslim Youth Worker in the East Oxford area. He identified several key points for the community as a whole to consider and work towards: Parenting: we need to realize that we are building a community for our children of tomorrow, and as a community, have raised young men and young women who have no direction or aims in life. Muslim parents focus should be looking towards the long-term, rather than remaining mired in short-term thinking, dominated by their memory of life in another country. Education: very few people who were born in Oxford have graduated from Oxford University. Why are the Oxford youth underachieving? Part of the answer is related again to parents own lack of education, as well as not providing enough encouragement and motivation for their children. Identity crisis: Mr Abbasi noted that in his estimation, 98% of Pakistani British citizens would cite Pakistan as their home even those who have never resided there. Muslim youth inevitably identify with their parents, and they certainly do not call themselves British, let alone English. He recalled often meeting young adults in their 20s or 30s who still referred to their home as a village 5,000 miles away. Non-English youth need a sense of belonging and purpose in this country. Facilities: the sports and recreational facilities in East Oxford are very poor and this is a vital tool for engaging youngsters. The University of Oxford owns some of the best sports facilities in England; but

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unfortunately these come at a high cost, and the use of the grounds swallows up the bulk of the grant money received for the whole programme. There needs to be a community campaign for our own fields and grounds, as well as more youth centres open to all cultures, because this is how we as a community can provide alternatives for our youth. Empowering our youth: we need to nurture and train a proactive youth who will participate in society. Of crucial importance is identifying key individuals in our communities and getting them together with key youngsters, or the so-called cool guys of the pack. Once these people are seen to follow suit, the entourage usually follows. Engaging with the police: there is some engagement with the police in Oxford, yet more joint activities with youth need to be provided before youngsters encounter institutions or getting arrested. Prisons: for those youngsters who unfortunately do fall down, we need something to help them once they return from these institutions. Young inmates, especially Asians, feel very vulnerable once they return from prison, usually with no education and a criminal record. Abbasi strongly felt that as a community, we need volunteers to go in and work in the prisons, helping these youths to rehabilitate. Unfortunately prisons are not as helpful as they should be to accommodate volunteers.

These are just some of the issues we face and it certainly would be a testing and challenging time ahead but by working together we can work to defeat the rogue elements among us no matter what their background, faith or belief, to build a better country. Our country - and a country we can all call home.
- Siddique Abbasi

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Discussion:
Mike Smyth, Deputy Chief Fire Officer: Comment to Panel: I am involved with the County Council, and they have a huge commitment to education; and within Fire and Safety, we have community safety advocates who work with the elderly, ethnic minorities, and with children; and again the focus for us is on education. We work with junior citizens, which teach the safer-citizen concept to young people. All of this is a direct read-across to what you are trying to do here. What I would like to do is make a commitment that we will engage with you, we want to engage with you. As a member of the Fire and Rescue Service, our ability to recruit black and ethnic minorities is extremely poor, and I want to know why. The door is open, but I do not why people are not coming through the threshold. So please come in, we need to have that link with the community. And we need to have these discussions with key leaders within the communities who can help. And I would also like to have a link with children, because education is critical to this; and making those links are essential to our service, because we are committed to the community, so let us in. Judith Kramer, Act for Change: Question to Panel: In Act for Change, we work briefly with young people in schools; and, because of how we work, we hear their frustrations, things they dont say to their teachers. Much of what we do is listening, and what we hear is how bored kids are with education. That includes my grandchildren as much as it does children whose parents first language isnt English. This suggests that there is something wrong with the way we are teaching. What the kids say is that they need to be listened to. Now there are places like this in Oxfordshire, where it is very clear the kids get listened to. There must be a way of taking the learning of schools that can do this to those that

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apparently cannot. Any suggestions you have, anyway that people with experience could help, anything that people can offer, all would be beneficial. My main question, then, is how we get the wider community help, because we all need to be in this together. Siddique Abbasi: Dialogue is the key, such as seminars like this. Workshops, conferences, seminars, initiatives, this is what we need. But it is really important that what we discuss and work out at these events, gets carried on in practise. So often after these sorts of events, it seems like people leave feeling the job done. Well no, the answer is the job isnt done just by these seminars. We are all youth and community workers by virtue of having families and being situated in communities we are inevitably part of the community. So we need dialogue, and we need to take this further, to set targets, and work towards them together; and by doing so, you will gain the respect of the youth, because they will see you working for them. Imam Irfan Chishti, Director Citizenship, Sufi Muslim Council: Comment to Panel: I just wanted to reiterate this resounding question that seems to keep coming back: how do we engage the youth? For quite awhile I have been engaging in various programmes directed towards the youth, and one of the things that really frustrates me is that we seem to be trying to do it on a grand scale now, on a sort of corporate and official level. But it doesnt seem to be reflected on a grassroots level with youngsters in schools, in mosques, in synagogues, in communities. There will be many youth organisations here locally, and I think sometimes we need to push them to get a little bit more, and perhaps they would be more productive than we can ever be. So we need to ensure that this kind of dialogue we have had today is translated at a youth level.

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Altaf Hussain, Chairman, Central Oxford Mosque: Question to Nisha Prakash: What exactly is the City Council doing to engage the youth? How are they reaching out to the community? Nisha Prakash: In regard to what the City Council is doing to engage the community, there simply isnt enough time to go through all the many capacitybuilding projects, but generally you can check about everything that is going on in the city on our website which is always kept up-to-date with all the events going on inside and outside the City. Different wards are divided into six different area committees, which is one forum how people can be informed and get involved. There is also a peoples panel called Talk Back Survey, which is made up on different communities here in Oxford, and we talk to them very regularly on different issues. Perhaps most importantly, we have officers that work with communities directly at the grassroots level, including community development teams, as well as street wardens. So these are some of the different ways we engage with communities. Zohra Fahtima, Hon. Secretary, Oxford Asian Cultural Association: Question to Panel: We have a different culture at home than what our children are exposed to in school. How do we marry two different cultures together? Quite often I have had fruitful discussions with young people, but there is a dichotomy in our lives. How do we overcome this? Dr Hussain Mirza: I think this has been expressed many times before, but how do we do this? Things have changed dramatically in the past 20 years, and we

...we need to take this further, to set targets, and work towards them together; and by doing so, you will gain the respect of the youth, because they will see you working for them.

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have a new generation of British Muslims growing up in a very different environment. We need to think differently, the older generation have to be trained to be good parents and change their expectations of their youngsters. We live in a vastly different country than Pakistan, and while parents should certainly maintain connections with their culture, they need to change their ways to correspond to the country they live in. There can be voluntary ways to teach parents how to communicate with their children. The focus, therefore, needs to be directed to a large degree towards the parents, in order to bring home the message that times have moved on, and they have to think differently. Dr Martin Conway, Anglo-Asian Association, Oxford: Comment to Panel: There are two slightly different questions we are discussing here. One is what we do with young people themselves; and the other is the very strong point made by the speakers about what we can do with the parents to help them open dialogue with their own children. And I think that can begin much earlier with their goals and objectives in life. I think this business of feeling of belonging to Pakistan is really overhearing the parents forever saying their real home is in Pakistan. I speak as on outsider, but I would have thought the really key meeting to take place would be between parents and teachers. Most schools have a parents-teachers association, and from my experience in primary schools in East Oxford, Muslim parents seem particularly bad at turning up to meetings with teachers. Yet I think the teachers who are dealing day-to-day with their children are precisely the people to work with. The majority of them will be of British origin, and they could actually work with groups of parents and talk over how we get children thinking about their goals and objectives as British citizens, both at home and in the classroom.

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Riaz Ahmed, Secretary, Madina Mosque: Comment to Panel: It seems to me that we are talking about a group of people who operate their lives within vicious cycles. We are talking about parents who do not have an education; they may have achieved economically, but in the home environment there arent any educated stalwarts for the children to look at. Because the parents themselves never went through the educational system, they never realised the potential riches, usefulness of the community. Therefore they can only direct their children in a similar manner. I am wondering then whether our approach needs to be a little bit more draconian and more drastic, maybe reward and punishment based for parents and children. For example, those children who unfortunately end up in our institutions, when they are taken out, they should be forced to learn a skill, and then released into the society. This should form part of their punishment, to spend 2 years after their release at a training college for meaningful skills. And then they will be earning money, realising the value of a skill, and then may be able to pass it on to their children. I am probably the first graduate of my generation in Oxfordshire, and I became a graduate accidentally; but the result of that is my entire extended family are producing graduates at a very high rate. They are influenced by seeing me carrying my briefcase, flying off to New York or Saudi Arabia for one thing or another; they visibly see the wealth, and perhaps that is how we need to be thinking. Imam Monawar Hussain: Isnt that a fantastic example that things are not so bad? We seem to focus so much on negative things, but you know within fifty years we have achieved so much, and I think it is about building on that foundation.

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Mumtaz Fareed, Local Area Policing Board: Comment to Panel: Just to follow on what Martin Conway said, when it come to parents meetings even in the mosques not a lot turn up; and when I go to parents meetings at the school, I find myself not only looking after my kid, but about four or five others because their parents just cant turn up. And perhaps in the mosques, the management can encourage the parents to go along to these meetings in the schools. I would also just like to say how I appreciate all the work Sidiq has done for the community for the past twenty years, and what we really need are a lot more people like Sidiq who are willing to volunteer their time

There needs to be a campaign to promote volunteering in our community through the Council, mosques, churches, schools, etc. and this should be directed towards parents.

and energy to helping their communities. I do not know how to encourage people to dedicate so much to others, but perhaps the Panel can offer some suggestions. Dr Hussain Mirza: I had the experience of being a governor of a girls school, which consisted primarily of Asians. From what I remember in my time as governor, only one family would come to our parent-teacher meetings; no other parents came. So we tried

to understand what the reasons were: was it communication? Was it language problems? Travel expenses? Or a lack or interest, or even embarrassment? Was it anything that we could list, and try to address? The school was prepared to pay to have special classes, outreach programmes to bring people but the parents simply wouldnt come. So it is difficult to tackle this problem, and as yet I do not know how to convince parents to come; perhaps you are right that we need to have the mosque elders, and other community leaders encourage people directly.

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The thrill you get out of volunteering and contributing whatever gift you have to others is the reward for your service. But parents feel they do not have enough time to give, nor do they even seem to have the interest. This is because they do not know what the reward is, the buzz you get out of helping others in this way. I think there needs to be a campaign to promote volunteering in our community through the Council, mosques, churches, schools, etc. And this should be directed towards parents, to show them they can have the time and interest to give to their children and neighbours. Rev. Dr David Partridge, Inter-faith worker: Comment to Panel: One of the things we identified way back at the start of our inter-faith dialogue initiative in Oxford was the lack of vision for kids after school for football, cricket, basketball, whatever; but at some point it was dropped out of our agenda. I wonder whether the answer may party lie, not in the provision of more fields, but the missing link seems to be volunteers from the community, from the mosques, from the churches, and so on, to work with the kids on the field. Nisha Prakash: I share the sentiment here. We are available, and happy to volunteer on a variety of projects. We are also available just to talk, dialogue is the key. So many times when people stop talking, they develop these myths and assumptions about different cultures or communities, which get broken up so nicely when you just start talking, because half of the things you are thinking are virtually not there at all. Imam Monawar Hussain: Volunteering seems to have come up a lot in these discussions. I am a Commissioner on the Commission for the Future of Volunteering, and we are going to publish a report sometime later this year. We have been

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looking at universities, colleges, and other institutions, as well as individual volunteering; and it is about creating a culture of volunteering. Training seems to be very important. For example, one of the ideas I am very passionate about is creating recognised qualifications that enable young people, who have either no formal qualifications or have a criminal record, to volunteer and through volunteer training, they are equipped with the requisite qualifications or skills that empower them to find employment. Other programmes like this can be offered in schools, universities, and even to employers, to get children and young adults involved with their communities. Chad Frischmann, The Europaeum: Question to Panel: We have talked a lot about East Oxford, and the problems with the communities there; but what about community programmes that are wider in scope, bringing youths from all over Oxford together. For example, I am thinking of sports programmes. In the USA, I was a volunteer football coach for nine years at the one community-wide youth football association in town, which consisted of youths randomly assigned to teams, coached by volunteers. Teams thus consisted of children from a wide range of backgrounds and neighbourhoods, all working and playing together. And when I coached, I made sure to hold practices where both the children and their parents would participate, and it was really an amazing thing to see how many parents eventually realised they actually did have 2 hours per week to kick a football around with their children and neighbours. So here is an example of a perfectly achievable initiative that can span Oxford, bring parents and children together, provide a positive alternative to extremism, cross the rich-poor divide, break misconceptions, and generally be a lot of fun. Are there any programmes like this in Oxford? If not, what is preventing the community from establishing them?

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Siddique Abbasi: Unfortunately we do have a lot of problems in East Oxford, and in that one can class Blackbird Leys, Greater Leys, Littlemore, Rose Hill, etc., however I am specifically concentrating on the Cowley area. You have lack of education, health care problems, housing problems, it is very difficult, and we always seem to be left out as far as facilities. We really have nothing. East Oxford Youth Centre has shrunk and shrunk over the years. We have an outdoor football pitch, but it is a death trap, that is why we are using the University sports facilities on Iffley Road. We found sports to be the best way of engaging youth, a vital and necessary tool to engage these children. It was working; we had 150 children coming on a Sunday afternoon to play at the University Sports Centre, all nationalities, all faith-groups, because at the end of the day the word got out on the streets that something was happening down the Iffley Road. We would love to travel to different areas, but England is not America, we are Oxford, England, and our problems are different. We took a group of children to Rose Hill two and half years ago, and were chased out because they were so-called Blackies or Pakis. I know work is being done to improve these problems, but at the end of the day I do voluntary Muslim youth work and can only really speak for East Oxford. But what I have learned is that the only other way you are going to engage children, if they are not interested in education, is through sports and training. And then you can direct them, because we have volunteers who are lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, who talk to the kids after the games, who talk to them about problems at school and home so this is what we really have to use.

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Nisha Prakash: I think it is a very good suggestion. Though Oxford Mela, for example, is in East Oxford because that happens to be the most diverse place in Oxford. But Oxford is diverse in many more ways than just what we see in East Oxford. The City has changed drastically over the past four years because of Eastern European migrants, and there are a lot of minority groups which have come up in Oxford. There is also a large rich-poor divide in this City, there are seventeen super-output and multiple deprivation areas, so this all makes Oxford a unique place, and very different than America. Chad Frischmann: I understand and very much support targeted community initiatives in, for example, East Oxford, and I take your point that that is where the most diversity is concentrated. I didnt mean to do away with these targeted programmes, but only to also think about projects with a larger scope, such as a city-wide youth football league, which could take that diversity of East Oxford, and co-mingle it with the apparent homogeneity of the rest of Oxford. And other projects as well, like a publicly-funded youth arts or music centre, where we are actively encouraging youths from all over Oxford to come, learn about art to provide a place where that white kid from North Oxford can come with his guitar and jam with that Pakistani kid from East Oxford playing his tabla. I think these big projects need to be considered alongside the more specific, targeted initiatives, because when we talk about social cohesion, we should be thinking about how to integrate that diversity into a wider spectrum, rather than keeping diversity marginalised to a certain part of town.

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Bushan Rafique, Pakistani Community Association, London: Comment to Panel: Talking of children and of getting parents involved, from my own experience this needs to come in the schools. I remember dropping my children off at their school, and feeling like an outsider in my sari amongst the English mothers, who wouldnt talk to me because I was different. I decided to tackle this by going to school meetings, and volunteering at my childrens school. And every time we had a new mother after that, I brought her in, invited her for coffee, and we had the most amazing relationships from then on. So I think the work needs to be done at the school level, where the children are, the mosques cannot do it. This is where Asian parents are missing out; Asian women are very shy, they wont come out, they wont speak, they stay in the background, but they are amazing women, and if they had the opportunity and encouragement to volunteer, I am sure they would be a better help to the community, to the schools, and to their children. Dr Hussain Mirza: I think we have to address the husbands somehow to assure them that they are not going to lose their wives if they go out volunteering in the community. Siddique Abbasi: After the 7/7 bombings, we setup a stall about Islam in central Oxford; and it was amazing the amount of women who I tried to convince that Islam gave women many rights. After awhile I gave up, I used to spend my entire Sunday afternoon arguing with them that Islam did give them rights, even though there was a brother standing next to me whose beard was twice as long as mine! So I decided to discuss this with a panel, asking them to make life easy for ourselves by putting women on these stalls. But one of the scholars, who thankfully is not connected to

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any of the three mosques, though is very active in Oxford, said, I guess it was meant to be a fatwa, that women are not allowed to go to the City Centre. I thought this must be wrong here, and so I checked with one of my teachers, who is a visiting researcher in Oxford, and he made it very simple to me: spreading information about Islam is one of the most noble things a Muslim can do, man or woman, and there are no such restrictions about women going to the city. So this is what we are dealing with, we still have people like this scholar with these misguided mentalities about women in society. Bushan Rafique: I would just like to say a word about women and Islam. I feel that the religion of Islam gave woman many rights: to property, to business, to work, it gave women the right to divorce. It was a woman who found the Zamzam, it was BB Hadija who was the first person to convert to Islam, and so on. Islam is a religion that gives women many rights, and we need to help women realise this. Imam Monawar Hussain: Zohra is a Muslim woman who introduced this event, Mia is a Muslim woman who so articulated her experiences as a human rights activist, and of course we have Muslim women volunteers without whose help the smooth operation of this conference would not have been possible. In another couple of generations the kind of questions we are seeking to tackle here today will no longer be relevant. We will have Muslim women who will have grown up in this country, and the traditional obstacles, such as language, will no longer be an issue, because the vast majority will be third, fourth or even fifth generation Muslims. But I am afraid this issue is big enough for a conference in its own right, and we must now conclude this conference, and leave this very interesting discussion for the future.

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Conclusions
I wanted to sum up a few points from this mornings debate. First, is the idea of otherness. Sheikh Raza put this in beautiful language: we dont demonize others, but we must accept, respect and tolerate people. We are representing many, many different faiths and communities, and by coming together in this room, we are learning about each other. Another otherness, which we are, in a way, tackling in this room, is the old town and gown otherness. We have the best intellectual resources in Europe to throw at issues like this here in Oxford, and this conference is a good start towards bringing together the University and the town. But we need to strengthen and develop this kind of interaction further. A second point is that today we have been inevitably focusing on the relationship with Muslims; but when we speak about these issues of cohesion and communication, it is important to remember that we are talking about the wider social community, composite of all faiths and ethnicities. Let us not leave here targeting one group, but understand how all groups are part of the wider community in which we live. Thirdly, what I have learned is that we all have personal roles in this. The imams, vicars, the community leaders, educators, councillors, police they have their roles to play, but we all have our own roles to play as well, as parents, neighbours, friends, citizens. What we can take from this conference is that we all are part of the process. The final point, and what seems to have come out as the most important point, is education. The point was made that we are not utilising our local institutions to the fullest the mosques, churches, community centres, schools, etc. Are we getting the most out of these institutions? These are places where we can educate our youth, and we need to think more about ways in which we can use them in the process of cohesion. - Dr Paul Flather
by Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of The Europaeum, and Fellow of Mansield College, Oxford

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For many years now, a number of us have regularly met to share a meal, where we discuss the challenges confronting contemporary society. What is immensely enriching for me is that we come from diverse religious, ethnic and social backgrounds, but what unites us is our concern for the plight of humanity, and the desire to make a real
Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor of Eton College; and Chair and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises

difference. This conference is the fruit of those meetings. I would like to note my gratitude and thanks to my colleagues - Chad Frischmann, for his extraordinary organisational skills, his persistence and energy, intellectual acumen, and much more; to Pat Thomas, for his creative ideas, innovative music, and dedication to bringing to fruition an event symbolising fusion of world music; and, of course, to Jawaid Malik, a wonderful colleague and great manager, who worked tirelessly to make this event a great success. Ladies and gentleman, without these three people, this event would not have seen the light of day. The whole purpose of this intiative was to ask ourselves: How can we make a real difference? Broadly speaking, I see two major challenges facing us. On the one hand, how do we deepen understanding between all our faiths and cultures, as we discussed during the morning session; and secondly how we instil a sense of belonging, of inclusiveness in our society, which was discussed during the second session. There are many ways of cultivating understanding other than formal conferences such as this. We cannot underestimate the importance of sustained engagement at the grassroots level, whether that is the sharing of meals, interfaith activities or school governorships. So much can be achieved by just opening our hearts and homes to sharing and being with others, and I think this is so important in everything we do. This is how we can really build a community of many faiths and cultures. All that we have been working for over the last twenty years,

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whether Sufi music events, interfaith meetings, mosque visits, school visits or the recent faiths in friendship walk, all contribute to this capital of understanding and trust. Strong local leadership is also absolutely necessary to implement realistic social cohesion; and Altaf Hussain, for example, has been absolutely instrumental in bringing about the opening of the Mosque through the open day programme, which has brought people of many faiths to the Mosque. If we are to realise our vision, each and every mosque in the UK should seek to open their doors to the wider community, so that our mosques are no longer mysterious buildings at the heart of our towns and cities. The second challenge is one of belonging. Through the panels and discussions today we have come up with some good ideas on how we may engage our youth and parents to build a stronger, more cohesive society. As an example of how these ideas can be applied, let me share with you for a moment the work we are doing at Eton. We were the first educational institute to establish a three faiths forum. This now means that our Jewish, Christian and Muslim boys have a space within the school where they are able to discuss and explore issues of concern to them. And similar to how Judith Kramer described the multiple identities represented by her family, and how they can coexist with one another, because they talk about identity; the students at Eton are able to share, learn, and accept each other for who they are through this simple medium of dialogue. Identity is our perception of who we are, it is complex and multifaceted. So engaging the youth, bringing them together, allowing them to openly and freely express themselves, is absolutely an essential component in the process of creating a sense of belonging.

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So these challenges are for all of us, to collectively and jointly work towards addressing. While we must ensure continuity with the community-building work already undertaken, we must build on that through developing further collaboration with one another. Later in the year, Pat Thomas will lead our music event, the first of its kind in Oxford, with over 25 musicians performing a fusion of music from the variety of cultures represented in Oxford. Our aim is also to arrange school workshops to teach young people how to express their faith through art. We will seek to inspire our youth to make art and music a passion for the rest of their lives. We shall seek to develop educational programmes for our young people, empowering them with arguments against, and alternatives to extremism; and this is how we will defeat extremism in all its manifestations. Extremists and terrorists have nothing to offer, nothing but bloodshed, hatred,and division. What we offer is a sense of brotherhood, of sisterhood, to bring people together so there is no comparison. The Britain we want to see is a tolerant Britain, a fair Britain, a Britain that allows people of every faith, every background, the environment to flourish. That is the Britain of the 21st century, a paradigm nation that people of the world will look to as a model of how people of diverse faiths and cultures can live together. So thank you for you time, and thank you for coming and making this such a successful conference. We are going to need your support to make the other events happen, and continuous engagement, as Saddique Abbasi said, is absolutely necessary. This is not the end, it is just the beginning. Imam Monawar Hussain

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Outcomes
The goals of this Project are to cultivate an appreciation of the richness of cultural expression in Oxford; develop a shared sense of community; encourage further collaboration through the arts between Oxfords Communities; and, perhaps most importantly, to challenge the forces of extremism by promoting cultural understanding and connectedness as a
Chad Frischmann, Programme and Publications Officer, The Europaeum; Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises; and Conference CoOrganiser

force for lasting social cohesion. This event sought to bring members of public, officials, community leaders, religious leaders, intellectuals, activists, and young people together in open dialogue on how to work together to tackle extremism and promote social cohesion. Through the hard work of the conference organisers, we were able to meet our target audience, though we did not have enough representation from some groups as we had hoped. Young people in particular were lacking in numbers, though several did join in the discussions; future events need to find better methods in attracting young people and youth workers. Also lacking in numbers were members of the Jewish faith; this was due to the day of the conference, which was held on the Jewish Sabbath future events should take this into consideration. In contrast, there were many more Muslims in attendance than expected. The conference successfully initiated vibrant discussion on the sources of extremism, tensions within communities, identifying key areas of improvement, and how to strengthen bridges within the community or build them if not there. The most common problems discussed seemed to be a lack of true understanding of a) one's own identity, b) the many other cultures represented in a global, modern society, and c) how society can be cohesive in such a multicultural environment. What came out of the conference most often was the need for more educational programmes specifically targeting young people, both internally within specific communities, as well as in the wider community of

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communities. Such educational programmes could take the form of teacher training, inter-school cooperatives, youth cultural festivals, community arts and music workshops/centres, inter-faith forums, first job-placement schemes, youth sports leagues, and community youth recreational centres. Ultimately, however, it was concluded that the most important requirement for developing true social cohesion was the commitment of members of the community to give their time and resources to work hard on building and strengthening these bridges, and of local and national government to support such initiatives fully. The conference received extensive media coverage, with articles in several local papers, such as the Oxford Mail, a national radio interview on Radio 5 Live, and local television interviews with Imam Monawar Hussain, Chair of New Dawn Enterprises, following the event. We received several proposals following the conference from participants eager to work together on building stronger community relations. We have been asked to advise the Oxford Fire and Rescue on their diversity strategy, in order to assist in recruiting more police and fire officers from underrepresented groups. We have been sent a proposal to develop an Oxford Arts and Music Forum designed to promote multicultural music and arts programmes, youth and adult workshops, and local, underrepresented artists. There has also been support for community centres, arts exhibitions, and festivals. The Oxford Asian Cultural Association, with its co-sponsor New Dawn Enterprises, are dedicated to establishing social cohesion in Oxford, and making it a model for Britain and the world. We are continuing to work with the community to make these initiatives happen, and to prepare for our forthcoming events.

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Further Initiatives
Jazz Cohesion 2007
Producer / Conductor: Pat Thomas, internationally recognised jazz artist; and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises
Pat Thomas, internationally recognised jazz artist; and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises

A unique music festival took place, possibly the first of its kind, bringing local and international artists together to create groundbreaking new music at the prestigious Jacqueline de Pre Room in St Hildas College, Oxford. The aim of the event was to show how music may be used as a bridge to encourage more participation between ethnic groups socially, and act as a means of breaking down cultural barriers by fusing cultural traditions into a new, cohesive British sound, representing the various communities of Oxford. The event featured local talent from Oxford, the Oxford Improvisers Orchestra, and special guests from a wide variety of cultural and musical backgrounds, including Steve Williamson, Orphy Robinson, Tunde Jegede, Vida Kashizadeh, Phillip Wachsmann, Harvir Sohata Singh, Ahmed Abdal Rahman, and Abdal-Hafiz Al Karrar. The performances used conduction, a system developed by the AfroAmerican composer and conductor Butch Morris, which uses a series of hand signals to conduct and create music, instead of written notation. This system enables musicians from diverse cultures to interact, without having to read Western notation, and thus participate in the orchestra through unique synergies. The use of conduction and the incorporation of non-Western instruments, such as the tabla and kora, which are very rarely seen in the European orchestras, made this a groundbreaking performance. It is hoped to create workshops to encourage young people from ethnic backgrounds to play, and there are plans to make the Cohesion Musical Festival an annual event in Oxford.

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Expressing the Sacred through Art


Director / Co-ordinator: Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor, Eton College; Chair and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises
The aim of this programme will be to introduce young people to sacred art from a diversity of faiths. We will explore the theological and religious basis for art, how it has been a medium of religious expression, and its contribution to the richness of culture. Our aim is to specifically focus upon aspiring young artists within and outside Oxford to share their work and motivations for using art as an expression of faith with other young people. There is also a possibility of funding an artist to engage young pupils at two secondary schools within the City of Oxford, with the aim of training and empowering the young through art workshops. The thrust of the programme is the culmination of two major exhibitions, side by side, one whose core is sacred art, and the other to focus upon the use of art as a channel for creative ideas and to express the lives and experiences of young people in contemporary Britain. Key to these exhibitions is the engagement of young people from a wide variety of backgrounds who might not have had opportunities to learn about art of other cultures, let alone creatively participate in the artistic expression of their own lives. Thus, similar to the Jazz Cohesion 2007 programme, it is hoped to promote and exhibit co-operative synergies between young people and develop these connections through future school workshops and annual Cohesion Arts Festivals in Oxfordshire.
Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Tutor of Eton College; and Chair and Founding Trustee, New Dawn Enterprises

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List of Speakers
SADDIQUE A BBASI is currently working in IT at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University after reading for an MSc in Software engineering from Oxford University. He has also been engaged in youth and community work in Oxford for over 16 years. He has been involved in a wide range of community projects including recreational and education projects involving youth. He is also a Prison Chaplain, which involves visiting local prisons with respect to the rehabilitation of offenders. MALCOLM ATKINS is a composer/performer currently working on a doctorate at Oxford Brookes University exploring the boundaries of improvisation and composition. He plays violin and keyboards in various groups which he also writes and arranges for, as well as composing for theatre and contemporary groups. He works as a lecturer in music for the Open University, as well as freelance on educational music projects (these have included work for Oxford Philomusica Orchestra, United World Youth Council, Cambridge String Quartet Association). He is the chair of the Oxford Improvisers Collective, local organiser for COMA (Contemporary Music for Amateurs) and is currently setting up a Composer/Performer network in Oxford which will be inclusive of all styles of sonic creation. He is co-founder of SPARC (Spontaneous Arts Collective) which is dedicated to facilitating improvising collaboration across all art forms. REV. DR MARCUS BRAYBROOKE is a retired Anglican parish priest, and has been involved in interfaith work for over forty years, especially through the World Congress of Faiths, which he joined in 1964 and of which he is now President. He was Executive Director of the Council of Christians and Jews from 1984-8. He is a Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum, Patron of the International Interfaith Centre at Oxford and a Peace Councillor. He studied for a time in India and in Israel, and in September 2004, was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the

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Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his contribution to the development of inter-religious co-operation and understanding throughout the world. Dr. Braybrooke is author of over 40 books on world religions and Christianity. DR CHRISTOPHER B ROWN has been Director of the Ashmolean Museum since 1998. Previously, he was Chief Curator of the National Gallery, London. He has lectured and published widely on seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painting, and is particularly interested in contacts and exchanges between Northern and Southern Europe in the seventeenth century and the social history of art in the Dutch Golden Age. He has organised exhibitions on Dutch landscape art, Dutch history painting, Rembrandt, Rubenss landscapes, Carel Fabritius, and Van Dyck. His numerous publications on the latter artist include the catalogue of the Van Dyck exhibition held at the Royal Academy in 1999, and he is currently preparing a new edition of Van Dycks Italian Sketchbook. Dr Brown is also a part-time tutor and supervisor in the Department of the History of Art, University of Oxford. I MAM IRFAN CHISHTI is Director of Citizenship on the Sufi Muslim Council. After graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University with an LLB in 1995, he embarked on seven years of traditional Arabic and Islamic Studies in the UK and Egypt, completing an MA in Islamic Studies at Manchester University in 2003. He trained as a teacher in religious education and since 2004 had been Principle/Imam of the Light of Islam Academy, a centre for the provision of innovative programmes of community Islamic education for children and adults. Since 2006, he has also been a part-time prison Imam/Chaplain at HMP Buckley Hall in Rochdale. He regularly appears on TV and radio including on shows discussing classical Islamic affairs on Cresent Community Radio and on cable channel DM Islam TV.

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ZOHRA FATIMA is the Honorary Secretary of the Oxford Asian Cultural Associatiom. She is the Chair of the Oxfordshire Womens Aid Trustee, a Founder Member of South Asia Forum at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, and a member of the Oxford Independent Advisory Group for Thames Valley Police. Zohra works with many different charities, including organising Orinoco (Scrapstore Recycling Project). DR PAUL FLATHER is SecretaryGeneral of the Europaeum, an association of leading European universities, and Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford. He was the founding Secretary-General of the Central European University (1990-1994), and director of international and external affairs for Oxford University (1994-1999). Formerly, he worked at the BBC, Times Newspapers, and served as Deputy Editor of the New Statesman. He was an elected member of the London Council in the 1980s (chairing its committee on post-school education 1986-1990). He currently chairs the Noon Educational Trust, and is on the board of the Roundtable. MIA FLORES -BRQUEZ is the Founder of Justicia, a human rights organisation, which represented torture victims during the hearings of General Pinochet in London. Mia has been a consultant for Oxford Brookes University on a global project on restitution and human rights and a former research associate at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford. She has been a keynote speaker at various International conferences including The Hague and the United Nations. IMAM MONAWAR HUSSAIN is the Chaplain and Muslim Tutor at Eton College. He read Theology at the University of Oxford and trained as an Imam at the Muslim College, London, under the late Sheikh Dr Zaki Badawi KBE. He is also a Commissioner on the Commission for the Future of Volunteering. Monawar has spoken at numerous educational institutes and forums throughout the UK, and has featured in a number

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of television documentaries about Muslims in Europe and spoken on Radio. J UDITH KRAMER is Company Secretary for Act for Change, a charity which engages young people through educational programme linking historical facts about the Holocaust and other genocides to the social reality and experiences of living in todays society. She was studied psychology, anthropology, sociology and law; practising employment law. She is active in volunteer work with social workers (mostly in remote rural areas and the jungle), industry and commerce in India and the UK, confidence building for refugee women, and therapy for addictions and phobias throughout Europe and India over the past 20 years. P ROFESSOR IFTIKHAR HAIDER M ALIK teaches International History at Bath Spa University, Bath. From 1989 to 1994, he was the Quaid-i-Azam Fellow at St. Antonys College, Oxford. Dr. Malik has published 15 books, several monographs, 75 scholarly papers and more than 200 review articles. His areas of research are mainly U.S. history, Asian history and politics with special reference to Modern South and Southwest Asia, Muslim communities in the West, and the U.S.-Muslim world relationship. Recent publications include: Crescent between Cross and Star: Muslims and the West after 9/11, (Oxford University Press, 2006); Culture and Customs of Pakistan, (Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 2006); Islam and Modernity: Muslims in Western Europe and the United States, (London, Pluto, 2004); Islam, Globalisation and Modernity: The Tragedy of Bosnia, (Lahore, Vanguard, 2004). D R M HUSSAIN M IRZA is a Lecturer in Accounting, Finance and Management at Thames Valley University. He was formerly Head of Prof. Accountancy Courses at the Management & Professional Studies Unit of Oxford College,, and Director - Accountancy and Management - Al-Omani

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Institute, Oman. Dr Mirza is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants, and a member of Chartered Institute of Management. DR P EGGY M ORGAN is currently Honorary President of the British Association for the Study of Religions and Lecturer in World Religions at Mansfield College, Oxford, where she convenes a fortnightly interdisciplinary seminar series in the study of religions. She has degrees in both theology and religious studies and has been involved not only in education in a variety of arenas, including schools, continuing education and distance learning degrees, but also in interfaith dialogue at various local, national and international levels. She is a former chair of the Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education and of The Trustees of the International Interfaith centre, of which she is now a patron. Between September 1996 and May 2002 she was also Director of The Religious Experience Research Centre. NISHA PRAKASH is the Community Cohesion Officer for the Oxford City Council. Before joining Oxford City Council in 2005, she worked with a local mental health charity as Information and Advocacy Co-ordinator, engaging local BME communities to develop user friendly and sensitive services to suit the changing needs of communities. Her role within Oxford City Council is to work with local communities, statutory and voluntary partners to develop and support projects to build Cohesive communities in which people from different backgrounds have similar life opportunities, as well as to promote cohesion by engaging with focused groups such as faith communities, young people, womens groups, BME groups and socially excluded groups. SHEIKH M OHAMMAD SHAHID RAZA is the Deputy Director of the Muslim College in London and is the President of the World Islamic Mission of Europe. Born in India, Maulana Raza earned a degree in Biology and

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Chemistry from the University of Agra in 1969. He then embarked upon post-graduate study at the University of Meerut in 1976. This was followed by an advanced degree in Islamic Studies from Jamia Naimia Moradabad, one of the oldest and most prestigious theological seminaries in the Indian sub-continent. When Sheikh Raza arrived in England in 1978, he joined the Islamic Centre (now Leicester Central Mosque) as the Principal Imam. After 27 years, he is still serving in this leadership capacity. He has in addition, also taken up a permanent lectureship at the Muslim College in London in 1986 where, for the past two decades, he has worked as Course Director for the training of British Imams. Sheikh Raza is a board member, Executive Secretary and Registrar of the Muslim Law (Shariah) Council UK since 1988. More recently, in October 2004, he has become a founding trustee of the British Muslim Forum which represents over 300 mosques and other Muslim organisations in the United Kingdom. C LLR JOHN TANNER is currently the Lord Mayor of Oxford. He has been a Councillor for 17 years - from May 1988-2000, represented the South Ward in the City, and since May 2002, he has represented the Littlemore Ward. He was Leader of the Council from October 1998 May 2000, and has in the past held the Performance and Service Quality and Environment Portfolios on the Executive Board and Chaired the Councils Highways and Traffic Committee. S UPT JIM TROTMAN is Thames Valley Police LPA Commander for Oxford City. A former Royal Marine, Supt Trotmans focus is on continuing to build on the successful performance already being delivered across the City but with a new emphasis on taking Neighbourhood Policing forward in Oxford. Supt Trotman, a married father-of-two, lives in Oxfordshire and has been a police officer for 13 years. He is a school governor and criminal justice system advisor to the National Autistic Society.

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List of Participants
Cllr M. Niaz Abbasi Oxford City Council Riaz Ahmed Madina Mosque Cllr Mohammad Altaf-Khan Oxford City Council Dr Ahsan Alvi Amin Alvi Syed Izuan Alyahya Maulana Attaullah Madina Mosque Farzana Aziz Asian Cultural Centre Rev Charlotte Bannister-Parker University Church of St Mary Harith bin Ramli St Cross College, Oxford Cllr Bill Bradshaw Oxfordshire County Council Mary Braybrooke Lord Lt. Hugo Brunner Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Dr Nadir Cheema SOAS, University of London Ben Cloete Thames Valley Police Dr Martin Conway Anglo-Asian Association Mumtaz Fareed Zohra Fatima Oxford Asian Cultural Association Chad Frischmann The Europaeum, Oxford Chris Griffin Thames Valley Police Haroon Hafiz SOAS, University of London Professor Abdul Ali Hamid The Muslim College, London Dr Taj Hargy Muslim Educational Centre, Oxford Syed Hussain Hashimi Oxfordshire Afghan Community Altaf Hussain Central Oxford Mosque Raja Hussain Oxford Asian Cultural Association Sophia Hussain Zahara Hussain Asian Cultural Centre Kadijah Ilbay

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Shane Lachtman University of Oxford Victor Lal Jawaid Malik Oxford City Council Waqaas Malik Sana Malik Tahir Mansoori University of Oxford Mughira Mirza S. H. Mirza Pakistan Welfare Association Teresa Munby Ruskin College R. Murrell Mohammed Mushtaq St Antonys College Mohammed Naeem Veera Nisonen University of Helsinki Olli Nurmi Mehmet Ozikan Rev Dr David Partridge Interfaith Dialogue Lady Padenoch

Zaheer K. Qureshi Clancy Docwra Sauban Rafi Oxford Asian Cultural Association Mohammed Ramzan Justice of the Peace Dr Hojjat Ramzy Iqra Girls School Fatimah Ramzy Rabia Rehman Asian Cultural Centre Sam Segaran Oxford Tamil Institute Mike Smyth Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service Cllr John Tanner Oxford City Council Pat Thomas Sarah Thornton Chief Police Constable TVP Patrick Tolani Oxford Racial Equality Council Ian Townsend Oxford Mail Hiroki Yamasi Antonys College, Oxford St

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Benefactors & Supporters


The Social Cohesion - the Oxford Paradigm 2007-2008 Project has been made possible through the generous support of several local and national institutions. The institutions below have assisted in this Project either through funding, organisation, hosting, or distributing information. Please contact us for more information on regarding these institutions: Department of Communities and Local Government Oxford Asian Cultural Association New Dawn Enterprises The Europaeum Asian Cultural Centre, Oxford European Studies Centre, University of Oxford Oxford City Council Oxfordshire County Council Oxford Fire and Rescue Service The Ashmolean Act For Change Justicia Oxford Improvisers Orchestra St Antonys College, Oxford St Hildas College, Oxford

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Contact Details
For further information of the Social Cohesion: the Oxford Paradigm Project, as well as future intiatives, please contact us below: Oxford Asian Cultural Association Oxford Asian Centre Manzil Way Oxford OX4 1GH United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 1865 425000 Fax +44 (0) 1865 793087 email: accoxford@hotmail.com The Europaeum 99 Banbury Road Oxford OX2 6JX United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 1865 284480 Fax +44 (0) 1865 284481 email: euroinfo@europaeum.org New Dawn Enterprises 49 Wilkins Road Cowley, Oxford OX4 2HZ United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 7710 561499 email: monawar.hussain@ntlworld.com

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