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Building the Bridge

Hz Mohammed Zaheer Shabir

Hz Mohammed Zaheer Shabir LLB (Hons)

Chair, Building the Bridge Programme Board

Building the Bridge (BTB) is a programme established to improve understanding between communities, religions and cultures, building respect for each others’ values and viewpoints. Our aim is to encourage and support the Muslim community to play an active part within the communities of Bristol.

We aim to empower members of the Muslim community to work with their friends, peers and colleagues with the confidence they need to help realise opportunities and address issues. In this way we hope to provide resilience to communities in Bristol by identifying and tackling the challenges we face today. One of our main aims is to identify and challenge violent extremist activity and issues concerning vulnerability within the community.

Building the Bridge works with many organisations across Bristol. The contribution of organisations such as Somali Development Group, Muslim Women’s Network and Council of Bristol Mosques has enabled us to better understand the needs of the community and how we can work together to meet those needs.

A Partnership Advisory Group (PAG) was set up in 2009 with a membership of Bristol Muslims and professional stakeholders. PAG meetings are held every six weeks with community members, partners and the BTB programme board in order to discuss community issues as well as develop new ideas for ways in which we can all grow.

If you would like to be added to our PAG mailing list, or for any more information, please contact Shabana Kausar at [email protected]. For PAG meeting dates go to the ‘Events’ page on the website.

On behalf of the Building the Bridge Programme Board, I am delighted to share with you this wonderful and evocative collection of photographs, which were taken in the winter of 20092010. This exhibition celebrates ordinary Muslims living in Bristol, photographed beside a city landmark or in a place that holds a special resonance for them.

The individuals below have been selected as a typical cross section of the Muslim community, which has deep roots in Bristol and numbers approximately 35,000 people. We have featured them to give you a glimpse of the richness and diversity of this community and to highlight the huge contribution that these individuals make to the city of Bristol. In these photographs you will see the smiles of confident individuals, who are inspired by their faith to play a vital role in the life of our city.

This project has received 5 national awards, the most recent one being for the best ‘Community Project for Building Cultures 2010’ from the Institute of Community Cohesion.

I hope that you enjoy these mini biographies and that they give you an insight into the aspirations and hopes of the Muslim community. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the booklet from which these accounts are taken please contact Shabana Kausar at [email protected].