Over 75 people attended this event at the Mumbai Square Restaurant, 7 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7AA. From Syed Kamall they learned about his inspiring personal story to become a Member of the European Parliament, and what the role entails.
CMF Chairman Mohammed Amin spoke beforehand to explain the work of the CMF. He has provided the text of his speech for us to reproduce here.
Mohammed Amin’s speech.
Please put your hand up if you came here tonight to hear me speak. Nobody! That’s why I’m going to be very brief.
My role tonight is to tell you a bit more about the Conservative Muslim Forum. Before I get to the CMF, let me ask you to imagine something. Then I want to ask you a question.
Imagine a young Muslim wants to be rich and successful. Every day, he prays to God for great wealth. Then he spends the rest of the day in bed. He does not work and he does not study. All he does is pray for great wealth. God can of course shower riches upon him.
My question for you is this. How likely is it that God will give this man great wealth?
My own view is that it is pretty unlikely. I believe that if you are sincere, God will help you in your efforts. But you have to be making the efforts.
How does this relate to politics?
Let me ask you another question. Put your hand up if you are completely satisfied with everything about this country, and don’t think that anything needs to change. Nobody! If you want things to change, you are going to have to do something.
What you do depends on your time and other personal resources.
Everyone can register and vote. You can join a political party. You can help in campaigning. You can write letters to newspapers, and use social media. There is an endless list of things you can do. How much you do is up to you. Doing nothing is not an option, unless you think everything is perfect already.
Why the Conservative Party?
Unlike the imaginary young man in my story, I have always believed in getting involved. However I wasn’t always a Conservative. I became one over 30 years ago. I was convinced that free markets are the best way to run an economy. I was convinced that the state should provide a safety net, but getting on in life is down to your own efforts. That is the philosophy of the Conservative Party.
You don’t join a political party because you agree with all of its policies. There has never been a single day when I agreed with every Conservative Party policy. Politics is about choices. The Conservative Party is far closer to what I believe than is any other political party.
So what does the Conservative Muslim Forum do?
Firstly, we are not a lobby group. There are a few genuine Muslim issues such as halal food or wearing niqab and burka in public. When they come up, we take a stand. For almost everything else, Muslims have divergent views in the same way that non-Muslims have divergent views, and the CMF takes no position. What we do is spread the message of the Conservative Party to Muslims. We make it easier for Muslims to get involved with the Conservative Party.
We also teach other Conservative politicians about Islam and British Muslims. For example, we have a guide on visiting mosques, and a short introduction to Islam for non-Muslims.
There is only one other group like us in the Conservative Party. That is the Conservative Christian Fellowship. I am a member of that, since you don’t have to be a Christian. In the same way, you don’t have to be a Muslim to join the CMF. In fact two members of our Executive are non-Muslims. There are plenty of Executive members around. Please put your hand up. Ask them if you want to know more about the CMF.
Now let me hand over to Syed Kamall MEP.