The University of Birmingham's Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion will be co-hosting the biennial World Muslim Leadership Forum (WMLF) on the 6-7th December at the Palace of Westminster and Lambeth Palace.

In partnership with St Mary's University, Twickenham, the International Strategy Institute in Malaysia and the UK Charity, Global One 2015, the WMLF will be attended by parliamentarians, politicians, experts and scholars, UN bodies, the interfaith community, activists, policy leaders, development practitioners and corporate leaders.

The theme of fourth Forum is: “The Role of Muslim leadership is Rebuilding Islam’s Global Image,” the two day conference will address the following key areas:

  1. Resurrection of Islam: How can a new narrative of Islam be created?
  2. Islam and leadership: How can Muslim leadership be strengthened in all sectors of society?
  3. Halal economy and Islamic finance - Powering the new global economy: How can the Halal Economy and Islamic Finance be effectively and profitably permeated into the Global economy?
  4. Islam and women: How are women re-shaping Islam's narrative?
  5. Future solutions: How can we create a platform for Muslim leaders to offer solutions to current global crises?

The conference will join Muslim leaders from different corners of the globe to explore key issues, address the challenges and provide innovative solutions to delinking perceptions of associations being made between terrorism and Islam.

The opening session will involve welcoming speeches by WMLF Chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal Rawther, WMLF Secretary Generals; Tan Sri Michael Yeoh and Dr Husna Ahmad OBE and Professor Jocelyne Cesari of the University of Birmingham's Edward Cadbury Centre followed by a welcome address by the Honourable Lord Sheikh of Cornhill.

Dr Andrew Davies, Reader in the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Birmingham and the Director of the Edward Cadbury Centre says: “Those of us who live in the increasingly secular West find it all too easy to underestimate just how important religion is as a motivation for social and political engagement. The Cadbury Centre has a really significant role in developing and supporting both emerging and established leaders who are committed to their religious context and are influenced by the values of their faith, so we’re excited to be partnering in supporting this really important forum which we hope will shape the thinking of senior Muslim leaders from across the world.”

The Conference aims to:

  1. Identify and highlight the factors that have contributed to the misunderstanding of Islamic beliefs, values and structures, the reasons behind these misconceptions and how a modern day interpretation of Islam can be created.
  2. Construct an integrated, mobilised Muslim leadership which will work towards enhancing the spheres of influence.
  3. Provide a platform in which global Muslim leaders can collaborate and discuss ideas, and solutions towards a more peaceful future.
  4. Capitalise on the collective knowledge of thought leaders in various fields in finding solutions to the current global crises.

Dr Husna Ahmed OBE, Secretary General of the WMLF, plus Chief Executive of Global One 2015 and Honorary Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre says: “We are delighted to be hosting the World Muslim Leadership Forum this year. It is a very timely conversation to be had on the global image of Islam as we see so much negativity surrounding Muslims today. We need to be able to stand up and be counted as world class leaders building communities and institutions which are fit for the 21st century.”

There will be a special keynote speech on the 6th by Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Honourable Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan Ismail who will be addressing delegates on the role of women and girls in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Other confirmed speakers include HE Nadhir Omar, Garissa County Minister, Kenya, the Honourable Dato’ Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Malaysia, Alsayed Ali Alsayed Abdulrahman Al Hashim, the Grand Mufti of the United Arab Emirates, Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International), University of Birmingham and Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan.

A special session will be chaired by Dr Andrew Davies on theme of 'Towards Peace' where Baroness Williams, Minister of State for  Countering Extremism will speak on ‘Global Security in the 21st century – Government accountability and transparency.’

The WMLF was established in 2010 to focus on the importance of leadership in the Muslim world, and to build bridges of communication between the Muslim world and the West. The WMLF is held biannually. The first and second forums were held in London in 2012 and 2014. The third forum was held in Malaysia in 2016.

For more information or interviews, please contact: Hasan Salim Patel, Communications Manager (Arts, Law and Social Sciences), on +44 (0) 121 415 8134 or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.

The Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion was established in 2014 to enhance the public understanding of religion regionally, nationally and internationally through distinctive, strategic and engaged interdisciplinary research. The Centre, named in honour of the Quaker economist and humanitarian who supported the establishment of the University’s Department of Theology and Religion from its institution, delivers innovative, interdisciplinary, impact-driven and internationally-excellent research exploring the significance of religious belief and practice for public and professional life, working with faith communities and policy makers to develop informed agendas for social transformation. We undertake interdisciplinary, impact-driven research that enables and empowers faith communities to reflect critically upon their beliefs and practices and expound and interpret them to a wider public, and we organise public lectures, educational programmes, and other strategic events and activities that will enhance the understanding of religion and religious affairs in education, policy and professional contexts. The Cadbury Centre seeks to combine research of international quality with an engaged and community-focussed approach, which anchors its academic rigour and objectivity in the real world.