On Thursday October 24 our Assistant Director Shenaz Bunglawala joined Huda Jawad, SAFE Communities Coordinator and Fozia Irfan, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation for an Alliance magazine Breakfast Club discussion on Muslim Philanthropy. Hosted by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and chaired by Alliance Editor Charles Keidan, the panellists shared their perspectives on current issues around British Muslim philanthropy and giving. Moira Sinclair, CEO of Paul Hamlyn Foundation introduced the panel and topic of the day.
A space for opportunity
Charles Keidan started off the discussion, describing the current state of Muslim giving as ‘an enormous resource space for social innovation in Muslim philanthropy’, a sentiment shared by Fozia Irfan who urged philanthropists to ‘tear up the rule book and be bold.’ Huda Jawad shared her recommendations to make the currently male dominated Muslim charitable landscape more reflective of the communities it serves.
The panellists explored the tension between giving as a private act of religiosity and the need for measuring the impact of that giving. Fozia Irfan described Muslim charity as historically an act of faith with little regard for impact measurement, with Shenaz Bunglawala arguing that she ‘wouldn’t ask if Muslim Philanthropy is punching under its weight’ but rather ‘ask whether the punch is being felt by wider society.’
Towards a strategic approach to Muslim giving
Shenaz echoed our Chair Asif Aziz’s concluding thoughts in his recent article in Alliance magazine, that ‘philanthropy does not enable social change from the top but that it is driven from below’
We at the Foundation consider it a privilege to be invited to share our views at the Alliance Breakfast Club. We would like to thank the panellists, Alliance magazine and Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the opportunity to contribute to a discussion on a topic that underpins our work at the Foundation.