In my lifetime, British Muslims have increased from a very small number to 2.4 million people from many different national backgrounds representing around 4% of our country’s population. From a handful of mosques, we now have approaching two thousand. There are Muslims in the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and at the highest levels of business, professional and academic life.
At the same time Muslims remain on average the poorest, the least well educated, and by many measures the unhealthiest religious group in the UK. Today we see the English Defence League campaigning to stop mosque building while the British National Party regularly denounces Islam. The cemetery where my parents are buried has been desecrated three times by anti-Muslim hooligans, and almost every day the media carries negative stories about Muslims.
I have lived in the UK almost all my life, and insha’Allah this is the country in which my children will live out their lives. Accordingly I want to do everything in my power to make this country a better place for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That is also the official position of the MCB: "Working for the common good."
On 20 June 2010 the MCB was required to elect a new Secretary General as well as electing the other office bearers. Accordingly, on 25 March 2010, I announced that I was offering myself for that role, by writing a piece on the Guardian "Comment is free" website.
After I published my manifesto, I realised that the examples of voluntary service given on pages 10 and 11 of the manifesto did not give sufficient details of my past activities supporting the Muslim community. Accordingly, I was pleased that the first two endorsements from Ali Akbar Mohammed and Nasar Mahmood brought that point out.
The election took place on 20 June 2010. Due to block voting, I was not elected onto the Central Working Committee, which precluded my standing for Secretary General later that afternoon.
On 21 June I sent an email of resignation from my remaining roles at the MCB to the new Secretary General Farooq Murad. My reason was that removal as an elected member of the CWC had given me the opportunity to reflect on how I want to spend my time and effort. I had concluded that in the current circumstances I could achieve more for the Muslim community in other ways, and that it would be best to make a clean break from the MCB so that my freedom to write and speak was not constrained.
I remain on good terms with the MCB. For example in January 2011 I made a submission to the committee reviewing its constitution.
Each of us changes the world every day. We can choose to make it a better place.