Muhammad Abdul Bari
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|The Honourable Doctor
Muhammad Abdul Bari
MBE FRSA Esq.
|Native name||মুহাম্মাদ আব্দুল বারি|
2 October 1953 |
Tangail, East Pakistan, Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
|Alma mater||Chittagong University
Royal Holloway, University of London
King's College London
|Occupation||Physicist, educationalist, writer, scholar|
|Known for||Head of several organisations|
Muhammad Abdul Bari, MBE FRSA (Bengali: মুহাম্মাদ আব্দুল বারি; born 2 October 1953), is a Bangladeshi-born British physicist, scholar, writer, teacher, community leader and the current secretary of Muslim Aid, who is widely regarded as one of the most powerful Asians and Muslims in Western Europe. In 2006, Time Out classified Abdul Bari as the 7th shaker and mover persons in London, preceded by David Cameron and Ken Livingstone. He is usually listed as a community leader in The 500 Most Influential Muslims. He is also the former Chairman of the East London Mosque, and the former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain. He has also served as the president of the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). In addition to the parenting and consultancy work, Abdul Bari also writes on various blogs including The Huffington Post and Al-Jazeera and he has authored numerous books.
After studying at Chittagong University, Abdul Bari joined the Bangladesh Air Force in 1978. In 1981, he married, and left the air force the following year. Later he moved to the United Kingdom. In 1986, he earned a PhD in physics from King's College London, and joined Royal Holloway, University of London as a postdoctoral researcher, when he became involved in community work. He entered into teaching after completing Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from King's College London in 1991. He spent five years in a secondary school in Haringey, London, teaching Science. He joined Tower Hamlets Education Authority as a Specialist Teacher in 1997. He is a science teacher and Special Educational Needs specialist in London.
Abdul Bari has served East London's diverse communities in various capacities for three decades. Since 2002, he has been the Chairman of the board of trustees at the East London Mosque (London's first mosque, which now includes the London Muslim Centre) leading the institution to win the national 'Super Model Mosque Competition' in 2009. He is also a founding member of The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO), a coalition of churches, mosques, and other civil society organisations working together to promote understanding and a safer, fairer and better governed city. TELCO is now a branch of Citizens UK (CUK), an alliance of local community organizing groups in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Nottingham. He is a member of the CUK's National Council.
He was Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain from June 2006 until June 2010, having completed two terms. Prior to that, he served as the Council's Deputy-Secretary General for four years. As Secretary General, he worked to have more young people take part in the Council's work.
A physicist and educationalist by training, Abdul Bari received his doctorate in physics and qualified as a teacher from King's College London, and gained a management degree from the Open University. He became a secondary school teacher in Haringay and then a Special Educational Needs specialist in East London.
Abdul Bari is also a patron of the National Youth Agency, The Ramphal Institute, Anchor House (a homeless charity based in Newham, London) and Nida Trust (an educational charity). He is a trustee of Muslim Aid, an international charity and London Catalyst (an independent grant making trust, for tackling poverty and improving health in London since 1873).
He served on the Good Childhood Inquiry Panel which was set up by the Children's Society in 2006. He is also an adviser to the Centre for Public Policy Seminars.
He has written for various newspapers, journals and community publications.} He is the author of Building Muslim Families, A Guide to Parenting, "Addressing Adolescence: A Guide to Parenting in Islam" and Race, Religion and Muslim Identity in Britain.
In 2014, he created a website named Head2heart as a socio-political platform, in addition to his existing website named Amana Parenting that he created some years ago to provide parenting support and consultancy. He created a YouTube channel (Amana Parenting) in 2015 to advise on parenting skills (in Bengali and English language) in a pluralist society.
Abdul Bari has been advising Citizens UK's "Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life" that was initiated in September 2015 in the backdrop of rising Islamophobia and continuous challenges it faces in media portrayal and in public life since 7/7. The main purpose of the Commission, chaired by the former Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC, is to find ways to ease tensions and achieve better social harmony.
Awards and recognition
In 2003, Abdul Bari was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2003 New Year Honours for his services to the community. In 2005, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In July 2008, he was made an Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary, University of London.
London Evening Standard found him one of London's 1000 most influential people in 2009. Abdul Bari was recognised for his 'Outstanding Achievement' by British Bangladeshi Who's Who in Islamic Affairs and Community Relations. In 2013, he was in the British Bangladeshi Power 100.
The University of East London conferred on Dr. Bari with honorary doctorate in education in November 2012 'for his work as Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain from 2006 to 2010 and for his contribution to the cultural life of east London'.
In 11th Muslim Awards Ceremony of The Muslim News in March 2013, the Judges Panel conferred Abdul Bari, a recognised civic leader and intellectual-activist, with Special Iman wa Amal (Faith and Action).
Dr Bari was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the Greater London Lieutenancy in July 2016.
Abdul Bari has appeared in the British media to speak about Muslims in Britain, integration and what efforts could be taken to improve and control fundamentalism rising among and against Muslims since 9/11 and the 7 July bombings. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he said he believes the rise of Islamophobia is linked to sections of the media and some politicians: "But some political leaders and sections of the media are demonizing Muslims, treating them as if they're all terrorists – and that encourages other people to do the same." "Young Muslims need role models to show them they can play a part in British society."
Abdul Bari has asserted that the media is only interested in fringe groups of angry Muslims instead of mainstream Muslims from the community. He also made the criticism that some right wing tabloid media twisted some of his past comments. He criticises the government's stance on how it deals with violent extremism, which he believes is responsible for creating tensions within the communities, and believes that the "UK may become like Nazi Germany, if the situation is not handled well by the government." He, however, contests that his words were misconstrued by Daily Mail to make a sensational news. One of his examples included remarks by the head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, and criticised the government's war on Iraq, described as a "disaster."
Abdul Bari often writes on the subject of family and parenting as well as social, political and global issues in The Huffington Post and Al Jazeera English. On parenting his passion is to involve both mothers and fathers, as they are the "grass-root leaders for every generation of newcomers on earth".
His interests include reading and travelling. He works with young Muslim professionals, men and women, to encourage them to contribute towards their communities as well as in the wider society. His father, a popular herbalist in the area, was a land-owning farmer in the Tangail District. He speaks Bengali and English fluently and is married with four children.
- Abdul Bari, Muhammad (2002). Building Muslim Families: Challenges and Expectations. Ta-Ha Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84200-041-0.
- —— (2002). The Greatest Gift: A Guide to Parenting from an Islamic Perspective. Ta-Ha Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84200-044-1.
- —— (2005). Race, Religion, & Muslim Identity in Britain. Renaissance Press. ISBN 978-0-9543294-7-1.
- —— (2007). Marriage and Family Building in Islam. Ta-Ha Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84200-083-0.
- —— (2011). Addressing Adolescence: A Guide to Parenting in Islam. Ta-Ha Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84200-125-7.
- —— (2012). British, Muslims, Citizens: Introspection and Renewal. Consilium Publishing. ISBN 978-1-62095-097-5.
- —— (2013). Meet the Challenge, Make the Change: A call to action for Muslim civil society in Britain. Cordoba Foundation. OCLC 855349248.
- —— (2015). Cherishing Childhood: A Guide to Parenting in Islam. Ta-Ha Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84200-154-7.
- "London Gazette – Supplement 56797" (PDF). 31 December 2002. p. 13. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
- "Profile: Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari". BBC News. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
- "The Good List 2006". The Independent. London. 22 September 2011.
- "London's 100 top movers and shakers 2006". Time Out London. 28 November 2006.
- Schleifer, S. Abdallah (ed.). The Muslim 500: The World's 500 Most Influential Muslims, 2013/14 (PDF). Amman: Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. p. 145. ISBN 978-9957-428-37-2. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
- "Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari". The Muslim 500.
- Gilligan, Andrew (28 February 2010). "Inextricably linked to controversial mosque: the secret world of IFE". The Telegraph.
- Debrett's People of Today 2016. Debrett's. 2016 – via Credo Reference.
- "A voice for Muslims (Profile: Muhammad Abdul Bari)" (PDF). Physics World. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2008 – via Muslim Council of Britain.
- "MCB News". Muslim Council of Britain. 4 June 2006. Archived from the original on 13 June 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
- "LOCOG board (About us)". London 2012. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
- "About". Amana Parenting. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
- "The One Thousand: Faith & Philanthropy". The London Evening Standard. 5 November 2009. Archived from the original on 15 December 2011.
- "British Bangladeshi Power 100, 2013" (PDF). British Bangladeshi Power 100. 2013. p. 5.
- York, Melissa (30 November 2012). "UEL honours Doreen Lawrence, Dr Muhammad Bari, and Tom Canning with doctorates". East London Advertiser.
- "Eleventh Muslim Awards Ceremony recognises the very best of British Muslim Achievement". The Muslim News (Press release). 26 March 2013.
- "'UK will become Nazi Germany' if it's not careful when tackling terrorism, says Muslim leader". Daily Mail. 10 November 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- "UK Muslim Leader Urges More Positive Focus". Sky News. 10 November 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- "Muhammad Abdul Bari". Huffington Post.
- "Muhammad Abdul Bari". Al Jazeera.
- Harrison, David. Media 'contributing to rise of Islamophobia'. The Telegraph. 10 September 2006
- 'British should try arranged marriages'. The Telegraph. 10 June 2006
- 'Trust at risk' after terror raid. The Guardian. 6 June 2006
- Eid in the square[dead link]. BBC London News. December 2006
- Sylvester, Rachel; Thomson, Alice. Dr Bari: Government stoking Muslim tension The Telegraph. 10 November 2007