Planting Seeds: Unprecedented Forum of Muslim experts sees the Dawn of a New Leadership

18 April 2011

Over 80 scholars, community leaders, academics, youth leaders and emerging talent of the British Muslim community gathered to discuss some of the biggest and toughest challenges facing the Muslim community. Hosted by The Leaf Network in partnership with the Greensville Trust, the Planting Seeds Forum explored key themes relating to nurturing and supporting emerging voices, the role of Muslim scholarship, and strategic goal setting, as well as local, national and global issues.

Alongside the discussion forum, a research project is under way to survey the attitudes and opinions of emerging leaders seeking to learn from their experiences, successes and frustrations. Alongside a candid and open discussion around the most pertinent and pressing communal and societal issues, the Planting Seeds Forum seeks to build bridges with those Muslims working across the spectrum of society and the scholarly community which seeks to inspire and facilitate such grass roots leadership. Heading up the discussions was renowned scholar Habib Umar bin Hafiz, Director of Dar Al Mustafa, regarded as one of the foremost contemporary centres of Islamic education in the world.

Co-founder of The Leaf Network and Forum chair, Dr Bilal Hassam, said: "There was literally hundreds of years of expertise in the room, across all sectors: scholarship, academia, media, education and local community. The Muslim community has an incredible amount of diversity, talent, insight and experience, and we are working hard to channel and make use of this potential. This sort of independent gathering with this level of discussion is of vital significance in order to empower rising leaders to work towards the spiritual, moral and intellectual development of a united British society."

The Planting Seeds Forum will continue to encourage debate and discussion, and is planning a series of follow-up activities and events, as well as extending the network of contributing experts. Forum delegate, Muhammed Uz-Zaman, Project Executive Officer at the Lokahi Foundation, said of the discussions: "An excellent initiative with the right people who are on the front line within their communities working to encourage and direct change for the better. I commend the organisers for their enterprise in creating an innovative format which encouraged collaborative learning of different views and opinions in order to better understand the social vices facing their communities and having the opportunity to explore constructive solutions."


  1. Planting Seeds forum is a pioneering project of The Leaf Network and the Greensville Trust
  2. For our latest news and updates, please visit our website at, or follow us on Twitter @theleafnetwork
  3. The Leaf Network is a network of young people involved in community work in the UK. It provides training to young men and women building the skills they need to become effective transformational leaders. From residential events and innovative new projects that enable 'on the job' training, to profoundly conceptual, spiritual and intellectual gatherings that shape understanding, develop insight and unleash every person's potential. Find out more at

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