An organisation which has been instrumental in propelling Bradford to the forefront of championing diversity and creating a fairer society for all is celebrating a major milestone in its history.

When launched in 1981, Bradford Council for Mosques (CfM) was the first Muslim umbrella body of its kind in the UK and it has continued to break new ground ever since.

On Thursday 23rd September, it will be celebrating its 40th anniversary of providing leadership and unparalleled service to the community.

Its founders and past presidents will join leaders from other faith groups and a full spectrum of partners from the council, the NHS, the university and far beyond to mark the occasion.

Guests of honour will include Zara Mohammed, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain; Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor; MPs Naz Shah and Imran Hussain; and the Bishop of the Leeds diocese, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, who will speak on behalf of Bradford’s inter-faith community.

The event will commemorate the many ways in which CfM has brought about positive change, both locally and nationally, through its campaigning initiatives and partnership working.

In a year that has proven to be the most difficult in its history as the COVID pandemic swept across the BAME community, causing disproportionate deaths and illness, Thursday’s anniversary event will be recognising the unsung heroes who made a difference.

When CfM launched back in 1981, it was the brainchild of just five people who came together to create a body that would promote and support the Islamic code of life; encourage understanding, cooperation and mutual support between its members; and foster links with all other faith.

The sixteenth and current CfM President Zulfi Karim said: “This is a tremendous milestone for us and for Bradford.

“We have become the cornerstone for community cohesion in this, our great city, and are proud of the many positive changes we have helped achieve to equality and a level playing field for all.”

“We have lifted barriers to equality not just locally, but also at the highest level nationally.”

“Many Muslims across the UK look upon Bradford CfM as an exemplar – the go-to source for guidance, insight and leadership on many issues of the day that touch our lives.

“We have also played a key role at the heart of different Governments, lobbying for change and reforms as well contributing to the development of new policies.”

He added: “All of this is a far cry from our early days yet it is a signal of the remarkable journey of progress we have been on.

“We now have the strongest platform from which we can continue to strive to make even greater impact towards building a stronger, safer, greener, fairer, healthier and more cohesive community in a city which boasts the highest percentage of young people in the UK.”