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October 28, 2007

Press Release 


India can not progress if Muslims lag behind.


A two-day International Conference held in London agreed that  he Sachar Committee recommendations should be implemented in full.A two-day Indian Muslims International Conference held in London ended with the meeting of very high level British politicians, eminent speakers and community leaders from all over the world.Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms, Minister for Business & Enterprise, Mr Shahid Malik MP, Minister for International Development, Mr Harry Cohen MP, Mr Sadiq Khan MP and Ms Dawn Butler, MP addressed the final session at the House of Commons. The session began with a recitation from the Qur’an in Arabic with the translation in English by ten year old Qudsiyah-Bano Agha-Shah. Mr Shamsuddin Agha, President of Indian Muslim Federation (UK) welcomed the guests and appealed to the Government of India to bring justice to the victims of communal riots and punish all those responsible for these heinous crimes. He also asked the British Government to ban extremist and violent organisations such as Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in the UK.  Sir Gulam Noon said that India was progressing well with its entrepreneur ability and high-level education system. However, to progress further it was important that all communities including Muslims should take up the opportunities. Religious dogmas and backwardness should be rejected in order for modern education and entrepreneurship to progress further.  The Minister for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears said that the UK Government had opened its door to listen to all communities and it was her job to see that all communities were treated equally and benefited. She congratulated the Indian Muslim Federation (UK) for organising the Indian Muslim International Conference to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Independence of India.The Rt. Hon Stephen Timms, Minister for Business & Enterprise said that faith played an important role in society and politics. We need to understand each other for the common good. Shahid Malik MP, Minister for International Development expressed concern about the delay in justice for three British Muslim citizens from his constituency killed during the Gujarat riots in 2002. He said that the families of these victims were still waiting for justice and until the culprits of this crime are punished, he would be raising this issue at every level.Harry Cohen, MP, Sadiq Khan MP and Dawn Butler MP spoke for social justice and fairness for Muslims all over the world. They congratulated the Indian Muslim Federation (UK) for organising this International Conference.

Many eminent speakers including Vipool Kalyani from London and India spoke on the contribution of Indian Muslims in the UK and the West and plight of the Indian Muslims since independence and their future in the light of the recent Government of India’s Sachar Committee Report.Mr Asghar Ali Engineer, an Indian Scholar said that Indian Muslims had played an equal part in the struggle for independence of India and that they deserve better treatment and opportunities. Professor Ram Puniyani from Mumbai said that Muslims are the only community who have been left out in enjoying any share of the fruits of independence in the last sixty years. Muslims are lagging behind and India cannot progress until Muslims get their rights and progress along with other communities. Mr Alan Hart, a UK journalist and writer said that the gap between the rich and the poor in India is increasing which is very dangerous. There will be serious consequences unless social justice and equal distribution of wealth is done.

Ms Teesta Setalvad, editor of ‘Combat Communalism’ published from Mumbai said that India has achieved democracy in the ballot box but issues such as social justice and human rights are an area of concern. Muslims as a religious minority have severely suffered in the last sixty years just because a minority of people chose to divide united India in 1947. She also said that women, dalits and other minorities have suffered and unless the Government of India and its agencies put social justice and human rights on the top of their agenda, India cannot progress. She said that state terror has increased in the recent past and the government was ignoring the fundamental rights of the common citizen. She said there was an urgent need to change in government policy to bring justice and equality at every level if India wishes to survive as a democratic nation and progress as a world leader.            Over the two days there were two workshops held to discuss the contributions of Indian Muslims to the UK and the West and the implementation of the Sachar Committee Report. At the conclusion the conference adopted  resolutions in the House of Commons. A vote of thanks was given by Mr Akhtar Mirza, General Secretary, Indian Muslim Federation (UK). The proceedings were aptly compered by  the BBC1 TV ‘London News’ broadcaster Asad Ahmad.