MCW co-hosts international Peaceful Coexistence Conference

On December 5th 2017, the Muslim Council of Wales in partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Knowledge Exchange Program of Saudi Arabia, hosted a joint international conference on the theme of ‘Ethical Approaches to Peaceful Coexistence’. The conference was held in Cardiff City Hall and attracted over 110 speakers and delegates from around the world and across the UK. The conference aimed to look primarily at religious and interfaith perspectives on the topic to provide ways forward for peaceful coexistence in an increasingly globalised, diverse and conflicted world.

The conference was inaugurated by representatives from the three partner organisations – Prof. Medwin Hughes, Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Dr Abdullah Al Lheedan, Chairman of the Knowledge Exchange Program (KEP) and Prof. Saleem Kidwai, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales (MCW).

The keynote speaker was Dr Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia who spoke on the Islamic concepts of ethics and morality as bases for peaceful coexistence. He reflected on how these ideas relate to contemporary issues such as Islamophobia and violent conflict and how there must be cooperation between Muslims and other communities to address these. He argued for an acknowledgement of issues within Muslim communities and texts as well as an acknowledgement of the moral emphasis in the message of Islam in order to move dialogue forward. The full speech can be downloaded on Dr Ceric’s organisation’s website here:

Konferencija u Kardifu o temi “Etički pristup miroljubivom suživotu”

Other speakers included Prof Gary Bunt from UWTSD who discussed online examples of conflict and coexistence, Catriona Robertson, Director of the Christian-Muslim Forum who argued for a strategic, practical approach to interfaith work, Dr Waqar Azmi from Remembering Srebrenica who reflected on lessons from the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995, Dr Yasser Babateen from KEP who explored how learning a language can be an opportunity for cultural exchange to promote coexistence, and Rabbi Monique Mayer  who gave an example of a project aimed at coexistence after the eruption of violence in Gaza in 2014.

The initiative resulted in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the three partner organisations which took place during MCW’s annual interfaith dinner the following evening on 6th December 2017. The document was signed by Prof. Medwin Hughes, Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Dr Abdullah Al Lheedan, Chairman of the Knowledge Exchange Program (KEP) and Prof. Saleem Kidwai, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales (MCW). The memorandum of understanding will allow further cooperation between the organisations to develop further initiatives and projects aiming to counteract division and conflict in society and achieve peaceful coexistence.

From left to right: Prof. Medwin Hughes (UWTSD), Dr. Abdullah Al Lheedan (KEP) and Prof. Saleem Kidwai (MCW)

For more information, use the contact details below:

Conference website: or


Conference hashtag: #CoexistenceConf (to see social media posts from the day)



A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the leaders of three bodies to formalise our co-operation on various projects over the next five years.

The MoU was signed at the Muslim Council of Wales’ Annual Interfaith Dinner on Wednesday 6th December 2017 by the following representatives:

  • Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  • Dr  Abdullah Al Heedan, Chairman of the Knowledge Exchange Program
  • Professor Saleem Kidwai, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales 

The MOU came after the three organisations’ first collaborative event the day before, the Ethical Approaches to Peaceful Coexistence Conference 2017, held in Cardiff’s City Hall.  In it, the three organisations to agree to work on joint projects, including the translation and publication of articles, books and research papers, academic exchange and organising shared events, over the next five years.

Representatives signing the Memorandum of Understanding

(left to right) Prof Medwin Hughes (UWTSD), Dr Dr Abdullah Al Heedan (KEP), Prof Saleem Kidwai (MCW)

Following the news of the incidents in Barcelona last night, the Muslim Council of Wales has issued the following statement:

“The Muslim Council of Wales is shocked and saddened by the news of the attacks on members of the public and police officers in Barcelona on Thursday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this difficult time.

“We pray that these senseless criminal acts will only serve to further unite the public in the face of those who seek to spread hatred, violence, and divisions between communities. We trust that the Spanish authorities will investigate and prosecute the perpetrators within the full extent of the law.”

Muslim Council of Wales
Broadway House, Broadway
Cardiff CF23 1PU
Tel: 029 2048 7667

Notes to Editors:

The Muslim Council of Wales is Wales’ largest Muslim umbrella body, with regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools as affiliated members.

Following the news of the terror attack in Finsbury Park last night, the Muslim Council of Wales has issued the following statement:

“The Muslim Council of Wales is horrified by the news of the attack on Muslim worshippers on Sunday evening. Our prayers are with the victims.

“It is even more horrific that there is a potential Welsh link with the attacker. We trust the authorities and police investigation, and await further information.

“We hope that this is an opportunity for communities to come together, as our nation has done with terror attacks in the past, and with the Grenfell disaster.

“Unfortunately, so long as Muslims are held collectively guilty for terror attacks committed by those with a Muslim identity, then Islamophobic violence against Muslims will remain common. The responsibility is on politicians and the media to discuss all cases of terrorism with care and diligence.

“One year ago Jo Cox was assassinated on the street. This weekend was declared by the Jo Cox Foundation as a moment to celebrate her legacy – that we have more in common than divides us. We urge all to remember her message today.”

Muslim Council of Wales
Broadway House, Broadway
Cardiff CF23 1PU
Tel: 029 2048 7667


Notes to Editors:

The Muslim Council of Wales is Wales’ largest Muslim umbrella body, with regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools as affiliated members.

Press Release:

Saleem Kidwai OBE, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, has issued the following statement following the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday 3 June 2017:

“What has happened in London yesterday, barely a fortnight after the tragedy in Manchester, has left me and our communities in shock.  We are saddened by this senseless loss of life, and our prayers and thoughts are for the victims, their families and for all those affected.

“We commend the emergency services and Metropolitan Police force for their swift action and especially their efforts to keep the people updated of developments via social media.  We urge the public to allow the police to do their job, without undue speculation, and to only share news from trustworthy sources.

“Again, as happened in Manchester, the many stories of people opening their homes, businesses and places of worship as shelter to those caught up in the events of last night, show the true nature of the British people in pulling together during times of need. We pray to God Almighty to protect us all from those who seek to divide us.”


Notes to Editors:

The Muslim Council of Wales is Wales’ largest Muslim umbrella body, with regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools in Wales.

For further information please contact:

The Muslim Council of Wales

Broadway House

CF24 1PU
Tel: 0845
Fax: 029 2048 7667



Press Release

Saleem Kidwai OBE, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, expressed the following in relation to the death of Rhodri Morgan:

“Rhodri Morgan’s death brought sadness to all who knew him, and many who did not know him but had benefited from his tremendous good work as a politician.

During his tenure as First Minister, he was an impeccable politician, professional but always good humored. Many Muslims in Wales knew him as a friend too, he was as comfortable in a mosque as he was in the Senedd, and represented a vision of Wales which was progressive, open to the world, welcoming and multicultural.

One of his lasting legacies is establishing the Faith Communities Forum, bringing together religious communities in Wales to meet with each other and with the Welsh Government. His leadership in recognising the integral role of faith traditions has made Wales a pioneer, and many countries have since followed the example set by Rhodri. 

On behalf of Welsh Muslims, I offer condolences and prayers to Julie Morgan and Rhodri’s family. He will be deeply missed by so many. The traditional Muslim prayer for the deceased is “From God we have come, and to God we return”. I know that Rhodri would have loved to have heard the Islamic prayer made in Welsh – “O Duw dyn ni wedi dod ac i Duw dyn ni’n mynd nol”.

Notes to Editors:

The Muslim Council of Wales is the Wales largest Muslim umbrella body with regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.

We at The Muslim Council of Wales are are deeply troubled by the reports that a Welsh Muslim teacher, Mr. Juhel Miah of  Llangatwg Comprehensive in Aberdulais, was denied entry into the US.

It is outright Islamophobic discrimination that a British citizen school teacher travelling with his school party should be denied entry into the US. This is the latest in a series of incidents in which Muslims have been denied access to the US, incidents which do in fact predate Trump and his Muslim ban. 

According to reports, Mr Miah is a British citizen who holds no dual nationality.  He is not from one of the seven banned countries, but he is Muslim.  

We are extremely concerned about the normalisation of discrimination against Muslims which fan the flames of hatred and add fuel to far right organisations that aim to divide communities and create a “them and us” society.

Incidents like this undermine equality and civil life; society as a whole must unite together in order to resist.

Muslim Council Wales are offering support services to anyone affected by similar travel problems. 

Trump signs ban

US President Donald Trump signs travel ban.

Muslim Council of Wales’ Secretary General Mr Saleem Kidwai OBE has spoken to ITV over concerns in the wake of the travel bans imposed by US President Donald Trump:

“The Muslim Council of Wales is extremely concerned by the Trump administration’s Muslim ban.

We must call the ban by what it is. It has banned citizens from seven Muslim majority countries, with an exemption for religious minorities. He has come through on his election pledge of a Muslim ban.

We have heard of many people living in America with green cards concerned about leaving.

This is a dangerous step. We must all be vigilant of the slowly creeping fascism.

I ask Theresa May and our politicians to use every influence to resist this Muslim ban.”

Visit My Mosque

The Muslim Council of Wales is pleased to announce the 2017 return of #VisitMyMosque nation-wide mosque open day events!

On Sunday, 5th February 2017, mosques around Wales will open their doors to the public from 11 am to 5 pm (individual mosque times may vary, see below.)

This is a wonderful opportunity for the wider community to visit their local mosque, meet the local Muslim community, learn about the religion of Islam, and most importantly, make new friends! Please see the list below to find the mosque closest to you!

No appointment needed, please just drop in! The mosque is open for all. No special dress code is needed, but do bear in mind that mosques are active places of worship so short or revealing clothing is best avoided, for both men and women.


Dar Ul-Isra Centre, 21-23 Wyverne Road, Cardiff, CF24 4BG   11 am – 5 pm

Al-Manar Centre, 2-4 Glynrhondda Street, Cardiff, CF24 4AN  11 am – 5 pm

South Wales Islamic Centre, Alice St, Butetown, Cardiff, CF10 5LB   11 am – 5 pm


Iqra Community Centre, 276 Corporation Rd, Newport, NP19 0DZ    
11 am – 5 pm

Swansea Swansea Mosque, 14-15 St Helens Road, Swansea, SA1 4AW  11 am – 5 pm

Rhyl Islamic Cultural Centre, 30 Water Street, Rhyl LL18 1SS   11 am – 2 pm


Wrexham Islamic Centre, 6 Grosvenor Rd, Wrexham, LL11 1DN   11 am – 5 pm


Bangor Islamic Centre, 57 High Street, Bangor, LL57 4FA  2 – 3 pm 

Please note that, due to unforseen circumstances,
Belal Mosque (Aberkenfig) in Bridgend will not be participating this Sunday!  
Apologies for any inconvenience.


We issued the following statement to our Christian and inter-faith partners following the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in France. We include some of the warm responses we received from Christian faith leaders, to demonstrate the strength of the relationship between Muslims and Christians in Wales.   Our statement issued is below: –

Dear Friends,

May Peace Blessings and Mercy of God be with you all,

“It is with heartbreak and sadness that we received the news of an attack on church in France on Tues 26th July, which led to the brutal murder of Father Jacques Hamel. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the Father. This is no doubt frightening and disturbing for Christians across Europe, and indeed the world. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” wrote St Paul, and the pain felt at the attack of such a sacred site must be immense.

We, as the Muslim Council of Wales, would like to extend our hands in friendship. We find solace and comfort in our trust in God, but also in each other. We are with you.

There has been a longstanding tradition of Just War in Islam, in which the sanctity of places and people of religion has always been maintained. There are several teachings of the Prophet Muhammad that express the following: –

“Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship.” Prophet Muhammad (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)

Likewise, in classical Islamic interpretations of the Quran, the sanctity of all places of worship is affirmed: –

“And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might. (Quran 22:40)

This poses a significant challenge for Muslims How do you possibly “deradicalise” or debate with those who on one hand lay claim to the Islam tradition, vocally pronounce their religious identity, and go as far as claiming they are an “Islamic State” – yet on the other hand, indiscriminately kill – and in ways that disregard almost intentionally all the things Islam calls sacred.

We have no clear or easy answers, and we must be honest about this. In the month of Ramadan, we bore witness to the prevailing pervsion of terrorists when the Holy Mosque of Madinah was bombed by members of the Islamic State. The mosque is the second most sacred site in the Islamic tradition, and has since its inception been called a “harram”, or “sanctuary” for the prohibition of any violence (even against insects) on it’s sacred ground.

What we can do is continue to work with our scholars and Imams to ensure that the important theological teachings which counter violent extremism are spread. We continue to work closely with the government on counter-extremism efforts. We continue to speak out on the issues of global significance, the refugee crisis, war in Syria and Iraq, and religious oppression.

There is in the Islamic tradition a convenant the Prophet Muhammad made with Christians. It is a convenant of friendship and freedom, that is considered incubent for all Muslims to adhere to. The spirit of the pledge is summed up in the below extract:-

“I would be behind them [the Christians] to protect them from their enemy. By myself and my helpers and my people and my followers as if they are my subject and those in my protection. I will remove the harm from them.”

The full extract is available here, translated by Shaykh Suhaib Hasan –

The words of Pope Francis, are true to the core and I quote ““It’s war, we don’t have to be afraid to say this … a war of interests, for money, resources. I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don’t want war. The others want war.”

In these troubled times, the Muslim Council of Wales reaffirms this convenant and pledge with all Christians, here in Wales and across the globe, in hope of building a more peaceful future.”

The Muslim Community in Wales is with all in prayers and spirit.

Together we are Stronger

With Warm regards and Prayers


We received the following response from Rt Rev’d Peter M. Brignall, Bishop of Wrexham:

Dear Saleem,

Thank you for your kind E-mail last week, which awaited my return from leave.

Your condolences, thoughts and prayers and those of the Muslim community for Father Jacques Hamel are very much appreciated. There is no escaping the horror of and means by which he died.

I am most grateful to you and ask that you know especially my sorrow and grief whenever I hear of the deaths of innocent people, especially women and children but including men too that occur particularly at the hands of fellow believers.

I join you to pray and work with all scholars, theologians and religious leaders to ensure that the religious teachings that counter the overt or subtle teachings of violence and extremism are heard and rightly understood that alone will result in peace and the upholding of the dignity and rights of all people. You are right, where humanitarian, and political disaster and disorder is compounded by religious extremism and intolerance we must strive all the harder and together to bring the single message of Pax Domini, Salem, and Shalom to our brothers and sisters who share faith in the One, True God. As Pope Francis said on his way to Krakow for the international gathering of young people (World Youth Day) last week: ‘We’re not frightened to tell the truth, the world is at war because it has lost (sight) of peace.’ That does not permit either, any racial discrimination, religious intolerance or hate crime of whatever kind, please know my concerns and vigilance there.

With every good wish, continued prayers and if it is not too late to still say, ‘Eid Mubarak’


The Rt Rev’d Peter M. Brignall

Bishop of Wrexham

The following message was received by Archbishop of Cardiff, George Stack:

Dear Saleem,

Thank you for your message of the 29th July which I received whilst in Krakow with Pope Francis for the World Youth Day.

Thank you also for the sentiments you expressed about the tragic killing of Father Jacques Hamel.  They coincide with those of Pope Francis who says that violence is contrary to all religious faiths – Christian, Jewish, Islam.

He said religions do not want war.  They are dedicated to peace, justice, human dignity and respect.  Terrorists often use the cloak of religion to further their own cause. The Holy Father said that Islam should not be equated with terrorism.

Thank you for all you do in Wales and beyond to promote the common values of justice and peace.  I join Pope Francis and all who work for this end in prayer and solidarity with the victims of violence from any quarter.

+ George Stack

Archbishop of Cardiff

Jim Barnaville, Community Organising Leader in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff and Co-Chair of Cardiff Citizens responded with the below: –

Dear Saleem

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”  Numbers 6:24-26

Thank you for your message, information, prayers and solidarity. We place ourselves in the hands of God and ask for His Mercy for all our communities at home and abroad. I am attaching a message issued jointly by Cardinal Nichols and Muslim leaders on the day of the attack.

I pray for our continuing work of dialogue, solidarity and peace-building through Citizens UK.      God be with you and your work.


The Muslim Council of Wales is committed to working with partners, from all faiths and those with no religion, to making society fairer, freeer and safer. We stand by the value that “Together, We are Stronger”.