Sri Lanka Islamic Forum UK (SLIF UK) was established by a group of young enthusiastic Sri Lankan expatriates in December 2000, with the aim of promoting Islamic way of life and cultural values among the Sri Lankan Muslim community in the UK.
SLIF UK is an independent non profit organization with broader platform accommodating and cooperating with many other groups and committees who are working for a common good of Sri Lankans in particular and the humanity in general.
Having established close working relations with many other national, and international community organizations with similar aims and objectives, SLIF UK has evolved into one of the recognized national organizations in the UK. SLIF UK is an active member of Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
SLIF UK is committed in nation building in Sri Lanka by promoting unity, peace and justice and mutual understanding among the Sri Lankan Communities in order to make Sri Lanka a united land of peace and prosperity.
Aims and Objectives of SLIF UK
|01.||To promote Islamic teachings, beliefs and values among the Sri Lanka Muslim Community in the UK.|
|02.||To provide Islamic Education, Leadership training and Skills development to the members of the Forum.|
|03.||To help, promote and cooperate with other similar organizations in establishing Islamic Institutions, Cultural centres and Educational establishments in the UK and in Sri Lanka.|
|04.||To promote peace and harmony by establishing justice among the communities in the UK\r\nand in Sri Lanka.|
|05.||To advocate and lobby British establishments, human rights groups and international institutions in respect to human rights and political issues of Sri Lanka.|
|06.||To provide a platform to the Sri Lankan Muslim Students in the UK to encourage further education and cultivate Islamic values in their day to day life.|
|07.||To guide and assist new comers from Sri Lanka in settling down in the new British environment.|
|08.||To provide financial assistance to the needy, poor and sick in the most vulnerable regions in Sri Lanka.|
|09.||To promote and encourage common values among the British societies to achieving the common good for every one.|
|10.||To voice against all form of human rights violations taking place anywhere in the world|
Looking behind to see the path we travelled
I am privileged and feel honoured and sincerely want to thank Almighty Allah for giving me this opportunity to share my feelings from my heart and my experience in SLIF UK with you all at this great occasion of 4th annual conference of SLIF UK. ALHAMDHULILLAH. This Souvenir in your hand published to mark the 4th Annual Conference of SLIF UK is not just a conference souvenir but it, as you can see it, witnesses the collective achievements of the members and well wishers of the Forum for the last six years. Let me take you through the journey we travelled……
Inspired by the great teachings of Islam and wanting to spend time money and even life to establish Islamic way of life both in our private and public affairs to achieve the purpose of living that is ‘the pleasure of Allah’ few Sri Lankan expatriate brothers gathered on that freezing cold evening 31st December 2000 Sunday at Dr. Refai’s residence at Tottenham, North London. The following day when the sun was rising with the dawn of New Year 2001 yet another Islamic movement to shape the society emerged through the heart of Europe.
The Sri Lanka Islamic Forum – UK was born. SLIF UK started to crawl with some activities particularly monthly Islamic study circle organized to gather and learn Islam. Lessons of Tafsir and Hadees conducted by qualified scholars in English and Tamil. Also guest lecturers were invited from various Islamic organizations and institutions in the UK to deliver lectures on various issues. The varieties of scholars from different background were accommodated and listened to. This gave the opportunity to the participants to acquire wide range of knowledge and learning experience about Islam and the contemporary situation of British Muslims and the Muslim Umma at large.
In August 2001 the forum grew and developed further with clearly defined aims and objectives. We were privileged to have Usthaz.Rasheed Hajjul Akbar, Ameer of Sri Lanka Jama’th E Islami, who visited UK to attend the UK Islamic Mission’s Annual Conference 2001. Usthath Hajjul Akbar’s suggestions and advice requesting the forum to adapt a common stand, accommodating within reasonable limit different groups working for Islam under one roof were well taken on board and carried further.\r\nThe first one day conference of SLIF UK held on the 30th of December 2001 at Islamic Foundation, Markfield. More than 30 brothers participated from various parts of the UK. The lectures and discussions were conducted by following leading Islamic scholars.
1. Prof.Khurshid Ahmed, the Chairman of the Islamic Foundation
2. Dr.Anis Ahmed of Pakistan IIUI.
The first Annual Ifthar was organised by SLIF UK on the 24th of November 2002 at Imperial College, South Kensington, and London. This Ifthar was a remarkable event in the history of SLIF UK. Many representatives of Sri Lankan Muslim organizations in the UK participated in the event and shared their experience with enthusiasm. This gave the members of SLIF UK more encouragement while SLIF UK getting more recognition by the wider community.
H.E. Mr.Faiz Mustapha PC, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka graced the event as our chief guest and delivered the keynote address on “The peace process in Sri Lanka and the Muslim Factor”.
Dr.Ziya Abdul Cader and Dr.Siddeek, the former Dean, faculty of management, Sabragamuwa University, Sri Lanka also made productive contribution towards discussion. Br. Abdur Rahman Jafari of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was our special guest.
The First Annual Conference of SLIF UK was successfully conducted on the 19th – 20th July 2003 at MCC, Markfield. The theme of the conference was “Towards Spiritual Development”. Around 70 brothers and sisters participated in the conference from different parts of the UK. Usthaz.Rashid Hajjul Akbar, the Ameer of Sri Lanka Jama’th E Islami, Dr.K.V.S.Habeeb Mohamed, Islamic Foundation Trust, India, Dr.Manazir Ahsan MBE, The Director General of Islamic Foundation, Br.Faruk Murad of Islamic Society of Britain were among the resource people conducted the conference.
The second Annual Ifthar was held on the 30th of October 2004 at Muslim World League head quarter building in London. Dr.Azam Tamimi (The Director of Institute of Islamic Political Thought, London) was the guest speaker and delivered his talk on “Islam Vs Democracy”. Forum members and selected invitees participated in the event.
The Second Annual Conference was held on the 9th -10th July 2005 at MCC, Markfield. The theme of the Conference was “Towards a peaceful life”. More than 125 brothers, sisters and children participated in the conference. Sheik.A.C.Agar Mohamed (Naleemi) the deputy Director of Jamiah Naleemiya, Sri Lanka) , Br.Anas Altikriti ( the Former President of MAB, Br.Muslehudeen Al Faradhi (The president Islamic Forum Europe) and Dr.Mustafa Rayes (Paediatrician, University Hospital of North Staffordshire) were among the resource persons.
The Third Annual Ifthar was held on the 15th of October 2005 Saturday at London Muslim Centre, Whitechapel. Representatives of all Sri Lankan communities in the UK. i.e.: Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims were invited for the event.
The main feature of this event was the acknowledgment and thanking whole heartedly the Relief and development work carried out by Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid and UK Islamic Mission in Sri Lanka during the post Tsunami of 2004.
Representatives of all communities namely Barrister Upali Cooray, Mr, Jayadevan The President of Tamil Democratic Congress and Mr.Azahim Mohamed the president of Sri Lanka Islamic (UK) Association participated in the event along with other distinguished guests including Dr.Abdul Bari, The Chairman of LMC, Br.Hamid Azad, Muslim Aid, Br.Abdul Aziz Rajab Ali, Islamic Relief, Br.Shafqat Mahmood of UK Islamic Mission and the representative of Sri Lanka High Commissioner Mr. Deeptha Kuletilleke. Dr. Musthafa Rays delivered a short lecture on “The significance of Fasting in Islam and its medical effects”.
The Third Annual Conference of the Forum was held on the 15th -16th July 2006 at MCC, Markfield. The theme of the Conference was “Towards an Ideal Muslim Family”. More than 225 brothers, sisters and children participated from various parts of the UK. Dr.Hany El Banna, The President of Islamic Relief- World wide, Br.Abu Muntasir the CEO of JIMAS, As Sheik.A.C.Agar Mohamed (Naleemi), Dr.Musthafa Rayes and As shiek:Rafeek (Naleemi) Reading for PhD at Markffield Institute of Higher Education, Leicester were among The resource persons delivering lectures and conducting discussions
The Fourth Annual Ifthar of the Forum was held on the 7th of October 2006 Saturday at London Muslim Centre. Br.Nazir Ahmed, Executive Director of Mercy Universal was the Guest Speaker of the event. More than 75 selected invitees from various Sri Lankan Muslim organizations in the UK and community leaders participated in the event. This ifthar was conducted with the aim of presenting the proposed awareness campaign to be launched in October 2006 to mark the 16th year of Forcible expulsion of Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka. The project was put forward to the audience and discussed in detail and supported by all.
In October 2006 SLIF UK
launched a major awareness campaign to mark the forcible expulsion of Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka 16 years before. This campaign was conducted for the period of ten days from the 27th of Oct.-the 5th of Nov.2006.
This was the first ever campaign of this magnitude ever conducted by the Sri Lankan Muslim Diaspora organization to highlight the plight of the Muslim community which is caught in the cross fire of ethnic war.
During this campaign there were range of meetings and discussions held for the different audience including British parliamentarians, FCO officials, Members of Chatham House think tank, British Media, Sri Lankan Muslims, Tamil and Sinhalese Diaspora and British Muslim Community leaders. Mr.Rauff Hakeem MP the Leader of SLMC, and Dr.Ameerdeen, and Mr.Hasan Ali MP The secretary General of SLMC were invited as resource persons to participate in the campaign.
A delegation from the Muslim Council Sri Lanka was invited by CPUSL (Campaign for Peace and Unity in Sri Lanka) an umbrella body in which SLIF UK also a member. This visit was facilitated by SLIF UK with the support of Br.Faiz Nizar and Br.Marzook. On the 19th of March 2007 Br.Hilmi Sulaiman and N.M.Ameen participated in the parliamentary seminar in which British parliamentarians, members of European parliament and selected members of Sri Lankan Muslim, Tamil and Sinhalese Diaspora attended. Br.Hilmi Sulaiman made a brief presentation on the issues of Sri Lankan Muslims particularly the impact of Ethnic conflict on Northern and Eastern Muslims of Sri lanka. This seminar was organized by CPUSL.
The MCSL delegation participated in various programmes during their stay in London. Both had discussions with Sri Lankan Muslims at SLMCC Harrow, members of SLIA, and members of Crawley welfare Association. Both had discussions with MCB and Muslim Aid UK officials and Tamil Diaspora as well.
One day Seminar
A special one-day seminar was conducted on the 5th of May 2007 at LMC, Whitechapal for a selected audience. Around 75 brothers and sisters participated from different parts of the UK.
The objective of the seminar was to provide the necessary guidelines to cultivate the ‘Islamic personality’ among the members and supporters of the Forum. Al Sheik.Rafeek Naleemi, Al Sheik.Salman Faris Naleemi and Br.Ajmal Masroor of ISB, Al Sheik.Najah Mohamed and Br.Fawzer conducted the lectures and discussions.
Other Projects and Activities
The Forum has been organizing special events to achieve its various objectives targeting different audience time to time such as Annual Ifthar, EId get together, Annual Ramadan Welcome programmes, Qurbani during the Eid Ul Adha, Conducting programmes in local community radios during the month of Ramadan.
MediaWe are aware of power of media in this digital age and always want to use it to maximize our Dauwa activities. Members of the Forum have given many interviews on various issues to British English media and Tamil media as well.
Our voice has been heard globally through the following media
BBC South AsiaIslam Channel TV
Theepam (Tamil TV)
Vectone Tamil TV
BBC Tamil and Sinhalese Services
TBC London and IBC Tamil.
In addition our media unit issues press releases and news reports time to time on various issues to the local and international electronic and print media.
In October 2006 during the awareness campaign of Forcible expulsion of Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka I as the President of SLIF UK along with Mr.Rauf Hakeem MP and Dr.V.Ameerdeen participated in 2hours live discussion on Islam Channel. The discussion was moderated by Former Political Editor of Islam Channel Yvonne Ridley.
The Forum has been actively participating in political lobbying in order to highlight the plight of Sri Lankan Muslims to the international community.
The Forum has managed to mobilize and activate the Sri Lankan Muslim Diaspora on the issues of Sri Lankan Muslims. We have been very closely working with the moderate Tamil organizations and individuals, who believe in democracy and respect human rights wanting negotiated political solutions to the ethnic conflict acceptable to all communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
We also have reached out to various Sinhalese organizations through the CPUSL, which is an umbrella body of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim organizations in the UK.
The Forum has undertaken wide range of activities on political lobbying such as organizing demonstrations, discussions, signature campaigns, meeting the MPs, attending the peace conferences and seminars organized by various groups in the UK and Europe.
Affiliation with Muslim Council of Britain – MCB
SLIF UK is the first Sri Lankan organization got affiliation with the MCB. Our official delegation participated in the 10th Annual General Meeting of MCB on the 16th of June 2007, and is actively contributing to the activities of MCB. Our delegate Dr. Musthafa Rayes has joined the medical affaires committee of the MCB recently and he has been requested by MCB to prepare projects aiming to improve the health status of the deprived Muslim community in Britain.
The Forum has successfully established links with main stream Islamic organizations and Institutions in the UK, which are working with the same aims and objectives. These links have immensely helped the Forum to achive its various objectives with in the short period of time.
Also the Forum focus on estabilishing links with fellow Sri Lankan Communities in the UK and Europe. SLIF UK very closely working with moderate Tamil organizations which believe in democracy, pluralism, respect for human rights and negotiated political solution the ethnic conflict acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka.
Being a member of CPUSL the Forum managed to reach out many Sinhalese organizations and individuals. CPUSL has created a platform for exchanging different views and opinions of different communities in various issues which are directly affecting the daily life of ordinary people in Sri Lanka.
The Forum strongly believes that co operation and co ordination among the community organizations is essential to fullfil the needs of the growing Sri lankan Community in the UK, Threfore we have established strong working relationship with other Sri Lankan Muslim organizations in the UK.
The Forum always seeking for partnership with others to bring maximum out come for the community and Islam, as stated in the Forum’s Motto: “ Help Ye One Another in righteousness and Piety”
In conclusion let me thank you for your time and interest in reading these pages of SLIF UK’s history.
We are still a toddler in the field of Islamic Dauwa in Europe. We need to grow and develop to achieve many milestones before we mature into a full Islamic movement. We know our message is universal and really want to make it international however currently our focus is mainly on Sri Lankan community.
The journey we traveled is ultra short and we are aware we have a long way to go. On our way we may be called to make more sacrifices our time our money our health and wealth. We have seen brothers and sisters working with us are so committed and have given themselves up to achieve the supreme ultimate objective of life that is ‘Pleasure of Allah’.
May Allah bless them and you in abundance.
INNASSALAATHI WANUSKI WAMAHYAYA WAMAMAATHI LILLAHIRABBILALAMIN
Jazakallukhairan With kindest regards
Yours brother in Islam
The Former President