Appointment as Advisor to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Interfaith and Tackling Radicalism and Extremism
Can I firstly congratulate and thank the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg MP, on his bold vision to appoint Cllr Meral Ece and I as advisors. My new role as of this week is to advise the Leader on issues related to the fields of interfaith and preventing extremism and radicalism.
Over the last 6 years, I have worked around building good community relations through interfaith projects which have attempted to promote commonalities between faiths, whilst then looking at and understanding key differences. These have been done through the prism of building resilient communities and more recently, my work and insight into the Preventing Violent Extremism agenda strengthens my belief that the scourge of radicalism, extremism and terrorism needs to be defeated wherever and whichever community it is found within. This in my opinion, does not mean labelling faith groups like Muslim communities, though it means working with them to promote mutual tolerance and understanding whilst weeding out the purveyors of hate. These purveyors of hate do nothing for the faith that they purport to be from and make issues more difficult for others within their communities. We must also not forget that Islam and Muslims have been in Europe for over a millennium and they are part of Europe’s history.
This is not to say that radicalism and extremism are only relevant to a few communities. Through my work I have found the scourge in many faith groups, yet we must not forget that faith plays a strong role in social action in our country and has shaped social justice within our local areas.
My appointment also means that we, the Liberal Democrats, understand the importance of interfaith work and that it should be mainstreamed within political discourses and debates. This is a very important first step and there are no such advisors within Labour and the Conservatives around this area.
Nick said that he was going to be bold and put forward a vision of a diverse Britain. I realise that his vision is based on social justice, fairness, tolerance and openness. I believe in that and these ideals are fundamental to ensuring that we all have equal access to resources and opportunities within our lives.
Notes to Editors
A short biography of Fiyaz Mughal is below:
Fiyaz Mughal was part of the Working Groups that made up the Extremism Task Force which was convened by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, after the 7/7 bombings.
He is an accredited national Peer Mentor with IDeA on preventing violent extremism.
An Oxford City Councillor in 2002-2004, Fiyaz is now a Councillor in the London Borough of Haringey and was also the Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats from 2002-2006. He was also appointed as one of a number of Deputy Presidents for the Liberal Democrats in 2006 and was one of the party’s Prospective London Mayoral candidates in 2007.
Fiyaz founded Faith Matters (http://www.faith-matters.org.uk/) in 2004 and works on interfaith, conflict resolution and Preventing Violent Extremism programmes within faith communities in the UK and internationally.