Muslims important players in national identity

4th May 2018

David Lidington MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office

A country is only as strong as the communities that are at its heart – that collection of identities and bonds which come together to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. And those communities are only strong if they have leaders who are able to inspire those around them.

That is why I was honoured last month to address The Muslim News Awards for Excellence, celebrating the fantastic achievements of one of the most inspirational communities in the United Kingdom.

The influence and dynamism of British Muslims reaches deep into every aspect of our national life – from sport to charity; arts to youth work; business to enterprise. Quite simply, British Muslims are some of the brightest lights that make up the constellation of brilliance that is our diverse United Kingdom.

But whilst these achievements are something of which we are all proud – and which we all can celebrate with immense enthusiasm, pleasure and gratitude – we must never cease our mission to strengthen our communities further, and bring people closer together still.
For while Britain is a proudly multi-ethnic and diverse country, we cannot pretend that divisions and disparities do not still exist within our society – nor can we deny that examples of prejudice and injustice are still too common in everyday life.

Nearly two years ago, the Prime Minister set out a mission on the steps of Downing Street to build a country that works for everyone.
That is why one of her first acts was to commission a Race Disparity Audit of the whole public sector – the first of its kind in the world – to shine a light on the disparities faced by people from different ethnic groups using public services in Britain – from health to education; employment to criminal justice.

And it is also why this Government will always act to stamp out any instance of xenophobia, racism, hate crime or prejudice wherever we find – it has no place in our society and we will not tolerate it.

By contrast, it is the actions of those who call out and refuse to accept bigotry which fill me with optimism and hope for the future. As my late colleague, Jo Cox, put it so well – what unites us is far greater than what divides us.

So if we are to build a stronger country – one where fairness and tolerance are at the heart of everything we do – it will be thanks to the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of groups such as the British Muslim community. Thank you for everything you have done for this country – and please continue all your work to make it a better country still.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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