International university to promote understanding of Bradford’s Muslims

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A Bradford charity is working with the Aga Khan University to present a more positive image of Muslim communities.

Politicians, businesspeople and activists from across the north of England met in the city on Wednesday (8 February) to talk about ways of improving understanding between people of different faiths. Initiatives could include a programme bringing international students to Bradford and events open to all sectors of the community.

The discussion was organised by national charity QED Foundation, which is in dialogue with the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (ISMC) about new ways of promoting social cohesion. The ideas explored included a series of events over a one- or two-week period that will explore contemporary issues facing the Islamic world like political instability and Islamophobia and covering themes such as gender equality.

‘We are very active internationally but we want to improve the quality of our engagement with Muslims in the UK and this was a step in that direction,’ says ISMC director Dr David Taylor. ‘I was very pleased with the turnout and the quality of the discussion.’

The proposed programme will be open to people of all faiths and led mainly by speakers from London, possibly supported by local or international experts. Events may be held in Bradford or across the north of England.

‘We are delighted to be working with the Aga Khan University on this initiative,’ says QED Foundation chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE. ‘The discussion brought together men and women from across the region who are keen to work with us to help to turn these ideas into reality.

‘QED Foundation has been helping to create a more cohesive and harmonious society since 1990 and recent global events mean that our work is needed more than ever.’

For more information contact Dr Mohammed Ali OBE on 0300 500 1000 or 07812 010918, email m.ali@qed-uk.org or visit www.qed-uk.org

For more information on the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, contact Dr David Taylor on 020 7380 3840 or 079772 19290 or email david.taylor@aku.edu

Note to editors: QED Foundation has been improving the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sectors for 25 years. Its main focus is to enable and support mainstream organisations to work more effectively with ethnic minority groups. It also delivers education, training, employment and health services direct to communities.

The Aga Khan University is an independent research university with campuses in London, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Its Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations was founded in 2002 and explores the diverse histories of Islamic societies, as well as new paths and possibilities in a time of change, challenge and opportunity.