On Tuesday 12th June at the London Muslim Centre (East London), a number of organisations large and small came together to discuss issues around poverty and social justice, both in the UK and globally.

The main aims were for a diverse range of community and mainstream organisations, faith groups, community and business leaders and consular/high commissions to come together to help strengthen their ongoing work to help alleviate poverty. The forum also helped new partnerships to flourish and existing ones to strengthen.

Robin Knowles QC CBE, Chairman of Pro-Bono at the London Muslim Centre, chaired the event with a panel including Barbara Stocking (Oxfam Chief Executive), Dr Abdul Bari (Chairman of London Muslim Centre), Elisha London (UK Director, for the Global Poverty Project) and Shaykh Abdul Qayum (Chief Imam of the East London Mosque).

Organisations such as Richard House Children Hospice, Christian Aid, Asian Foundation for Philanthropy, One World Week, Refugee Council, Osmani Trust, MADE in Europe, and Advocates for International Development all took part.

“Poverty is such a big issue around the world, I really believe the only way we are going to crack it is if we act together. We have to find ways of working together, whether its through large communities or small groups of people pressing on particular issues. People can really get strength from each other. There are many here tonight who are doing fantastic work in their own areas and if we come together we can achieve so much more and gain more strength,” said Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking.

“There are huge challenges around the scale of poverty, but the opportunity is that wherever you start every bit counts… organisations must work together and if everyone works together the sum is greater than the individual parts. I personally am going to encourage people to come back for another such occasion for good fruits to come,” said Robin Knowles CBE QC, Chairman of Pro-Bono at the London Muslim Centre.

Shaykh Abdul Qayum, Imam of the East London Mosque, said, “a fundamental pillar of Islam is Zakah (charity) and every needy person has a right to that charity… it is the duty of a Muslim to give 2.5% of their wealth in charity annually. We need to look at how we can work together better to get aid to those in need the most.”


Speaker profiles:

  • Barbara Stocking DBE joined Oxfam GB as Chief Executive in May 2001. Barbara has led major humanitarian responses most recently both the Horn of Africa and now West Africa food crises, as well as the Haiti earthquake, Pakistan floods and Tsunami. On campaigning Barbara led Oxfam's work on Make Poverty History, and more recently on climate change and the current Grow campaign on food justice in a resource constrained world. Previously, in her eight years with the NHS, Barbara worked as regional director for the South East of England, and then as the founding Director of the NHS Modernisation Agency
  • Shaykh Abdul Qayum is the Chief Imam of the East London Mosque. Sheikh Abdul Qayum has served the congregation at the Mosque for over 18 years. He obtained his M.A in Arabic Language from the prestigious Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Riyad (K.S.A). He is a former lecturer of International Islamic University of Malaysia. He is also patron of Richard House Hospice.
  • Elisha London is the UK Director, for the Global Poverty Project (GPP). GPP is an education and campaigning organisation with a vision for a world without extreme poverty within a generation, well known for their 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation, Global Poverty Ambassadors launched by Bill Gates, and the Live Below the Line campaign. Elisha is a campaigning and philanthropy expert and holds a MSc Development Management from the London School of Economics, and has worked for organisations including DfID, ODI, World Vision and the Oaktree Foundation.
  • Robin Knowles QC CBE is a leading commercial barrister who also sits as a high coourt judge and a recorder in the crown court. Robin has a long-standing commitment to legal pro bono work and is the Chairman of the Bar Por bono Unit. Outside law he the Chairman of Richard House Children's Hospice.