Commenting on the tragic murder on 7 April of a well-known Imam of the mosque in Acton, West London namely Imam Sheihk Abdul Hadi Arwani, Maulana Sarfraz Madni, the Chairman of MINAB said, “The membership of MINAB which consists of Sunni as well as Shia mosques and Imam Training Institutions, stands united in sharing the grief of the bereaved family. The murder of this scholar is a great tragedy. The causes are unknown. Regrettably, the media appears to have engaged in speculation about who committed this horrible crime and cause of the crime. Speculation about motivation of a crime such as the murder of this Imam is most unhelpful as it has serious potential to cause community tensions. I urge the media to refrain from speculation in this crime and support and allow the investigating authorities time to conclude their investigations. MINAB has full confidence in the investigating agencies to apprehend the criminal/s and to find what caused the perpetrator/s to engage in this act of cowardice.”

Whilst MINAB does not necessarily accept the bona fides of the reports in the Press about the investigation carried out in mosques about “under-age” marriages, it will use this opportunity to remind our 600 plus member mosques, as well as other mosques, that compliance with all the laws of England, Wales and Scotland is of fundamental importance.

In this context it is well to bear in mind that the legal age for marriage in Britain is not a straightforward matter.  “Marriage” of parties, one or both of whom is under 16 years of age is prohibited and invalid and any person who facilitates such “marriage” is liable to criminal prosecution.

If one or both parties are over 16 but under 18, Nikah can be lawfully performed only if the party who is under 18 establishes that he or she has parental consent to the proposed Nikah. For persons who are subject to immigration control the minimum age for marriage is 21.

Each and every Mosque Management Committee must remain engaged and vigilant in the provision of Nikah services to its congregations, ensuring that Imams are carrying out their duties in this area with complete adherence to the laws in the United Kingdom and maintaining proper records of the functions.

The Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board is pleased to be liaising with the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services as part of the new national drive to help create a safer sector for our young people.

NCVYS and MINAB are calling on all children and youth organisations to make 28 February the one day every year where organisations:

  • Stop what they are doing,
  • Look at their safeguarding practices and
  • Listen to young people, empowering them to take an active role in managing their own safety.

As part of this initiative the MINAB in collaboration with Faith Associates, an organisation with a very impressive record in the field of Mosque & Madrassa Management to produce a document , which is aimed at helping in Safeguarding of the young and the vulnerable in our Madrassas.

Following  the latest attack on a mosque in Harlow, the Trustees of MINAB have expressed deep concern about the escalation of acts of criminality and hatred against Muslims and their places of worship that are taking place in the country. Whilst MINAB recognises that the law enforcement agencies are taking such matters seriously, it is not convinced that political leadership at local as well as national level is dealing with these tragic events in a manner that would be effective.

Maulana Sarfraz Madni, the Chair of the MINAB Board of Trustees said, “ I urge the government to be more forthright in its speech and conduct to build an environment of respect, trust and protection for the Muslim communities and our Mosques. The latest attack on Harlow Islamic Centre is most worrying. The Centre has an excellent reputation for its work with all communities living in the area. The current trend of copycat criminality is generating fear and alienation and could lead to unpleasant reaction. I call upon people of all faiths and those of no belief to help us to live as valued citizens and prevent the miniscule minority of criminals and extremists from causing damage to peaceful co-existence.”

The MINAB leadership has written to Harlow Islamic Centre offering sympathy and support.

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