The Scottish Islamic Forum (SIF), a group tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood, has announced that it is planning a “radical campaign to play a greater role in the country’s civic life, to change the perceptions of their religion and to promote Scotland as an ideal country for Muslims to live and invest in.” According to the report:
Members of the newly formed Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF) are planning to launch the campaign, which will engage with issues such as the removal of nuclear weapons from Faslane and the environment. Women will also be given a voice within mosques and will be encouraged to form committees to decide policies specific to them. Traditional practices will be adapted to respond to Scottish society, with the intention of demonstrating the contribution Islam can make to the country, and a new mosque, currently being planned by a group of men and women that are mostly under 35, is expected to be built in East Renfrewshire, embodying the current thinking. Hamza Yousaf, director of public affairs at the SIF, said: “We believe that the very nature of Islam adapts across the centuries, but what we are doing is trying to modernise ourselves and remind ourselves of what Islam actually says, reach out to the people of Scotland.”
The report goes on to discuss plans to contribute to the Scottish economy:
Last week, the SIF met with the head of Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, after he spoke at the Edinburgh Television Festival, to discuss how Scotland can be promoted across the Islamic world. They spoke about an Islamic financial expo, due to take part in Scotland early next year, which will be a showcase for opportunities to invest in Scotland. Osama Saeed, chief executive of the SIF, said: “We showed arguably the most influential Arab around the hills and the lochs and he was really impressed. We also met with the deputy first minister and talked about how Scotland could promote itself and how little the Muslim world knows about Scotland.” Khanfar said he would consider making documentaries about Scotland and even mooted the opening of a Scottish bureau.The SIF also raised the possibility that the links made with the Islamic world could enable Scotland to act as an international peace broker, in a similar way to Norway. Saeed added: “This may even be a good opportunity to ease global tensions and we feel a responsibility to help if we can. ”
A previous post discuss plans by Al-Jazeera to set up a Scottish bureau. As that post noted, Al-Jazeera General Manager Wadah Khanfar is also tied to to the global Muslim Brotherhood as well as Hamas. The SIF report concludes by stating that the Scottish government is “firmly behind the SIF’s work”:
The Scottish government is so firmly behind the SIF’s work, particularly the expo idea, that it has donated £200,000 towards it. A spokeswoman said: “We believe that it is right to celebrate the diversity that exists in Scotland through events like this. In supporting it we will also be able to build links between communities and dispel the myths which undermine community cohesion.”
Earlier posts have discussed the aid provided by the Scottish government to the SIF.