The Muslim Council of Britain congratulates Boris Johnson for his election victory as Mayor of London. Mr Johnson takes over as Mayor from Mr Ken Livingstone, who led the city for the past eight years.
Paying tribute to Mr Livingstone, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said, "By all accounts, Ken Livingstone has once again put London on the map. It has become a great world city and he has done so by recognising and harnessing the dynamism of its cosmopolitan and multi-racial population." Writing to Mr Livingstone, Dr Bari said: "London's Muslims will not forget your staunch and unflinching support...you stood by us when slings and arrows were thrown our way by those who seek to divide us."
In a letter to Boris Johnson, Dr Bari praised the Mayoral incumbent for his gracious victory speech and said " I hope you will agree with me that with the city's generous heart, coupled by its multi-racial dynamism, we can overcome those divisions and take the city to even greater levels of greatness. Your predecessor recognised this, and aside from the controversies, did much to ensure that Muslims were part-and-parcel of London life."
During the election campaign, the Muslim Council of Britain initiated a series of campaigns to encourage voter participation and to raise awareness against the far right. It is disappointed that, despite an effort that involved an alliance across faiths and parties, the London Assembly now includes a member of the far right. Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said "it is time for us to reflect on how, in this day and age, divisive and hateful parties can get a foothold in such an important institution. We must redouble our joint efforts to avert their influence or impact."
A Celebration of Democracy
Friday, 2 May, 2008, 1pm
As the results of the local elections come in, the Muslim Council of Britain congratulates British Muslims for participating and making their contributions to Britain's democratic traditions. In the past, the Muslim community has had a higher number of non-registered voters than most communities. Given the large number of grassroots initiatives to encourage voter registration, and with high voter-turn outs reported in London, MCB hopes these elections will usher in a new era of civic participation amongst Muslims.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said 'British Muslims have yet again reaffirmed their commitment to participation in the civic and political life of this country. We hope Britain's Muslim participation will help avert the rise of the far right. British Muslims should continue to engage in civic affairs by participating in councils, scrutinising our politicians and working for the common good. I congratulate all those who have won and hope all of our elected politicians work with all sections of society to create safe and harmonious local neighbourhoods. We are all presented with an opportunity to make a fresh start and help build a better Britain, kick-started from the grassroots."
For the past few months, the Muslim Council of Britain initiated a range of initiatives to raise awareness and encourage British Muslims to vote. The MCB has worked with the Electoral Commission in a campaign to persuade Mosques and Islamic associations to initiate voter registration. The MCB has also worked with a range of faith and non-faith bodies to encourage voting and to raise local issues. For details, see: www.mcb.org.uk/vote2008
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
Media enquiries should be addressed to the MCB Media Office on 0845 26 26 786 or 07956 353 738. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the MCB Office at The Muslim Council of Britain, PO Box 57330, London E1 2WJ. Tel: 0845 26 26 786 Fax: 0207 247 7079
This press release and other MCB publications and information are available on the MCB website at www.mcb.org.uk.