On Friday 23 March, over 400 people gathered at London’s Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, for Mehdi: Unfiltered, an event in aid of Muslim Aid’s work for girls’ education around the world, with renowned journalist and speaker, Mehdi Hasan.
Guests at this glittering fundraising dinner ranged from personalities and parliamentarians to community activists, diplomats and media, all coming together with the shared values of humanitarianism, compassion and a belief that collectively we can make a difference.
The evening was hosted by television presenter, journalist and academic Dr Myriam Francoise. Myriam started the formal part of the evening by interviewing Imam Mohamed Mahmoud, from the Muslim Welfare House, about his heroic involvement with the Finsbury Park Mosque attack.
Jehangir Malik, CEO of Muslim Aid, laid out Muslim Aid’s vision for the next few years.
“Progress cannot be achieved by working in silos; that's why working in partnership is integral to tackling social injustice, inequality and poverty. Our 5-year strategy is for Muslim Aid to become a leading faith-based INGO, working with local and national partners, underpinned by the Islamic ethos of service to humanity.
In the 18 months since I joined Muslim Aid, I have already witnessed some of the life-changing work that has been carried out to tackle inequality. Last year, Muslim Aid reached 6 million people in 27 countries.”
The highlight of the evening was Mehdi Hasan’s powerful speech. Following this, Myriam conducted a dynamic Q&A session with the audience.
Mehdi said: “These are challenging times but each of us has a role to play in overcoming these challenges, both individually and collectively. Now is the time to stand up, be counted and speak up loud and proud. Now is time for British Muslims to line up behind the quintessential British values and Islamic values of equality, fairness, justice, liberty, tolerance, decency and self-respect. Now is the time not just for hope but for change.”
TV host, singer and songwriter Faraz Yousufzai spoke in support of the importance of girls’ education worldwide and introduced Muslim Aid’s campaign #GirlsEmpowered to inspire the audience to donate.
Sara Pantuliano, Vice Chair of the Muslim Aid Board, closed the evening with her plea in support of an education for all girls around the world.
“We need to bridge the gap between boys and girls in schools and education. Let’s meet the ambitions of girls!”
Muslim Aid’s girls’ education projects are already in progress in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar and this campaign aims to initiate more work with girls’ education in Somalia, Sudan and Syria.
To find out more and to donate, please visit Muslim Aid here.
All photography from the event credited to Rooful Ali / Muslim Aid.