Our cornerstone programme Amal Connects recognises that shifting the narrative is about growing opportunities for Muslims to tell their own stories in their own ways. We help to do this through our six work programmes: consulting, connecting, creative visualisation, co-created projects, convening and capacity building.
Amal Connects is based on three key principles:
Because to grow the creative potential of some of the communities least engaged in mainstream creative activity, opportunities must be taken to them. We have therefore begun work in two hub locations, Birmingham and Bradford, and aspire to grow to London and Manchester. These places are the four largest centres of Muslim population in the UK.
Because this puts the interests, concerns and aspirations of Muslim communities at the centre of everything we do here at Amal.
Because it is by growing the ways our three sets of stakeholders work together that we create the change we seek, the community of practice that fully represents Muslims.
The problem we address
Muslims are the largest minority in the UK, 6.5% of the population and growing rapidly. Collectively, they are in the worst socio-economic position in the UK. They have been subjected to relentless political, media and policy scrutiny, which is largely negative. As a result, the British public feels much more negatively towards Muslims than it does towards any other group except Gypsy and Irish Travellers.
of the UK’s population is Muslim
of Birmingham’s population is Muslim
of Bradford’s population is Muslim
“Across policy domains, from employment, education and criminal justice to housing, healthcare and hate crime, Islamophobia has a significant negative impact on the life chances and quality of life enjoyed by British Muslims.”
All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims
If British Muslims are to thrive, it will not be enough to provide for better education, employment and health outcomes. The dominant negative narrative about Muslims stands as a barrier to the wider community’s understanding of Muslims and to Muslims’ sense of belonging in the UK. It must be changed – to one that is confident, diverse and just.