Muhammad Abdul Bari

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The Honourable Doctor
Muhammad Abdul Bari
MBE FRSA Esq.
Doctor Abdul Bari MBE FRSA.jpg
Native name মুহাম্মাদ আব্দুল বারি
Born (1953-10-02) 2 October 1953 (age 64)
Tangail, East Pakistan, Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
Residence London, England
Citizenship British
Education Physics
Alma mater Chittagong University
Royal Holloway, University of London
King's College London
Open University
Occupation Physicist, educationalist, writer, scholar
Years active 2004–present
Known for Head of several organisations

Muhammad Abdul Bari, MBE FRSA[1] (Bengali: মুহাম্মাদ আব্দুল বারি; born 2 October 1953), is a Bangladeshi-born British physicist, writer, teacher, and community leader, and the current secretary of Muslim Aid. He is a former chairman of the East London Mosque, a former secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, and has served as the president of the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). In addition to consultancy work, he has written for publications including The Huffington Post and Al Jazeera, and has authored numerous books.

He has been described as one of the most powerful Asian Muslims in Western Europe. In 2006, Time Out put him at #7 on its list of movers and shakers in London.[2][3][4] He has also been listed as a community leader in The 500 Most Influential Muslims.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Abdul Bari was born in Bangladesh in 1953. His father, a popular local herbalist, was a land-owning farmer in the Tangail District.

Abdul Bari joined the Bangladesh Air Force in 1978, after studying at Chittagong University. He married in 1981 and left the Air Force the following year.[7] After moving to the United Kingdom, he earned a doctorate in physics from King's College London in 1986 and joined Royal Holloway, University of London, as a postdoctoral researcher. There, he became involved in community work.

He began teaching after completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at King's College London in 1991. He spent five years teaching science at a secondary school in Haringey, London,[8] and joined the Tower Hamlets Education Authority as a special educational needs specialist in 1997.[2][9]

Career[edit]

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 of the East London Mosque (London's first mosque, which now includes the London Muslim Centre), which he led to a win in 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 to promote understanding and a safer, fairer, 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. Abdul Bari is a member of CUK's National Council and advised CUK's Commission on Islam, Participation, and Public Life, which was created in September 2015 to confront rising Islamophobia since the 7 July 2005 London bombings.[10] The main purpose of the commission, chaired by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, is to find ways to ease tensions and improve social harmony.

Abdul Bari was secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain for two terms, from June 2006 until June 2010. Prior to that, he served as the Council's deputy secretary general for four years. As secretary general, he recruited more young people to take part in the Council's work.

He 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 the international Muslim Aid charity and London Catalyst (an independent grant-making trust that focuses on poverty and health in London). He served on the Good Childhood Inquiry Panel set up by the Children's Society in 2006, and is an adviser to the Centre for Public Policy Seminars.

He served on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Board (LOCOG), which was responsible for preparing for and staging the 2012 Summer Olympics.[11]

In 2014, he created the website Head2heart as a sociopolitical commenting platform, in addition to his website Amana Parenting, which provides parenting support and consultancy work.[12] He created a bilingual (Bengali and English) YouTube channel, Amana Parenting, in 2015 to advise on parenting in a pluralist society.

Awards and recognition[edit]

In the 2003 New Year Honours, Abdul Bari was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire.[2] 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.

The London Evening Standard listed him as one of London's 1,000 most influential people in 2009.[13] He was also recognised for outstanding achievement in Islamic affairs and community relations by British Bangladeshi Who's Who. In 2013, he was included in the British Bangladeshi Power 100.[14]

The University of East London granted him an 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".[15] In the 11th Muslim Awards Ceremony of The Muslim News in March 2013, he received the Iman wa Amal (Faith and Action) Special Award.[16]

Abdul Bari was appointed deputy lieutenant of the Greater London Lieutenancy in July 2016.[17]

Views[edit]

Abdul Bari has appeared in the British media to speak about Muslims in Britain, integration, and efforts to control the rise of fundamentalism among and against Muslims since the 11 September 2001 and 7 July 2005 attacks. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he linked the rise of Islamophobia to elements of the media and to some politicians. "Some police officers and sections of the media are demonising Muslims, treating them as if they're all terrorists — and that encourages other people to do the same", he said.[18]

He contrasted the one-dimensional portrayal of the Muslim population with the treatment of Catholics in Britain in the 20th century: "We shouldn't say Muslim terrorists; it stigmatises the whole community. We never called the IRA Catholic terrorists."[19] He argued that the British government's response to violent extremism had created tensions both within the Muslim population and between it and the rest of society, and warned of the consequences of poisoning people's minds against an entire community, as happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.[19]

Abdul Bari often writes about family and parenting, as well as social, political, and global issues, in The Huffington Post and Al Jazeera English.[20][21] On parenting, he urges the involvement of both mothers and fathers, calling them the "grass-root leaders for every generation of newcomers on earth".

Personal life[edit]

Abdul Bari's interests include reading and travelling.[2][8] He speaks Bengali and English fluently and is married with four children.[2]

Books[edit]

  • 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. 
  • —— (2018). A Long Jihad: My Quest for the Middle Way. Kube Publishing. ISBN 9781847741172. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "London Gazette – Supplement 56797" (PDF). 31 December 2002. p. 13. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Profile: Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari". BBC News. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  3. ^ "The Good List 2006". The Independent. London. 22 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "London's 100 top movers and shakers 2006". Time Out London. 28 November 2006. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari". The Muslim 500. 
  7. ^ Debrett's People of Today 2016. Debrett's. 2016 – via Credo Reference. 
  8. ^ a b "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. 
  9. ^ "MCB News". Muslim Council of Britain. 4 June 2006. Archived from the original on 13 June 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  10. ^ "Commissioners". Citizens UK. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  11. ^ "LOCOG board (About us)". London 2012. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "About". Amana Parenting. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "The One Thousand: Faith & Philanthropy". The London Evening Standard. 5 November 2009. Archived from the original on 15 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "British Bangladeshi Power 100, 2013" (PDF). British Bangladeshi Power 100. 2013. p. 5. 
  15. ^ York, Melissa (30 November 2012). "UEL honours Doreen Lawrence, Dr Muhammad Bari, and Tom Canning with doctorates". East London Advertiser. 
  16. ^ "Eleventh Muslim Awards Ceremony recognises the very best of British Muslim Achievement". The Muslim News (Press release). 26 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Deputy Lieutenants". Greater London Lieutenancy. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  18. ^ Harrison, David (10 September 2006). "Media 'contributing to rise of Islamophobia'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Sylvester, Rachel; Thomson, Alice (10 November 2007). "Dr Bari: Government stoking Muslim tension". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "Muhammad Abdul Bari". Huffington Post. 
  21. ^ "Muhammad Abdul Bari". Al Jazeera. 

External links[edit]

Titles in Islam
Preceded by
Iqbal Sacranie
Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain
2006–2010
Succeeded by
Farooq Murad