On 16-17th September 2019, Forward Thinking held meetings in Manchester, Bolton, Bradford and Batley. Discussions focused on a number of regional and national developments which are currently impacting British Muslims, including local tension as a result of the conflict in Kashmir, as well as a rise in Islamophobic hate crime in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. However,  community representatives also highlighted the important work that their respective community organisations perform in addressing these challenges, among others.

Forward Thinking also had the opportunity to share information on upcoming activities, including points for potential collaboration, in particular regarding meetings with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the launch of the ‘Pathways into Politics’ leadership initiative.

During the visit, Maisie Cook, UK Programme Intern, participated in the sixth meeting of the CPS ‘Community Conversations’ initiative in Manchester. ‘Community Conversations’ consist of a series of dialogues between senior crown prosecutors and community members which seek to identify shared challenges as well as to formulate recommendations to address these.

The meeting highlighted the important steps that the CPS North West have been taking to address the lack of diversity within their workforce, including a series of work experience programmes aimed at BME applicants. However, communities stressed the need for the CPS to coordinate with the police to address hate crime in the area in order to increase community confidence.