A delegation representing MRDF met with the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention on National Minorities (FCNM) which included Murtaza Shaikh (author of the MRDF Shadow Report) and Dr. Haitham al-Haddad (chairman of MRDF).
MRDF posited the case that the UK denies rights to Muslim and other religious minorities by limiting the scope of application to only “racial groups”. Hence, MRDF believes that until the UK complies with Article 3, Muslims and other minority groups will not be able to avail the remainder of the rights in the FCNM as they all depend and emanate from Article 3.
Our discussions focused on the UK’s compliance with Article 3, particularly in relation to Muslims, and that they should not be construed as indicating that there are no other grievances against the State – in fact there are numerous. However, at the root of most is the non-applicability of the FCNM’s scope to Muslims. These other grievances are then symptoms of the underlying problem.
We remain optimistic that engaging proactively and positively with the work of the Committee will enable us to present it with a clearer picture of the state of British Muslims. We also hope to be afforded an opportunity to enter a genuine dialogue through consultations with relevant UK Government Departments on its policies and rationale behind laws that govern the relationship between Muslims and the State. We remain confident that through such consultations, Muslims can be included within the FCNM’s scope and any obstacles to the realisation of such a goal removed; thus organically leading to related discussions about consequent rights and entitlements.