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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what work has been undertaken by Projecting British Islam delegations abroad; who the members of each delegation were; what the cost of each delegation was; and how he plans to evaluate their effectiveness.
The 'Projecting British Islam' project is a programme of media intensive visits by British Muslim delegations, supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), to countries with significant Muslim populations. The aim is to counter misconceptions and misperceptions, which are exploited by extremists, about the treatment of Muslims and Islam in the UK.
In financial years 2005-06 and 2006-07 the delegations cost £350,000, visiting: Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Algeria, Bosnia, Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the USA.
In financial years 2007-08 the FCO has allocated £180,000 to this project, for delegations to a range of countries including Sudan, Indonesia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
To date more than 60 British Muslims have taken part, reflecting the diversity of British Muslim communities, and with a balance of age and gender. The delegates come from a range of professional backgrounds—doctors, scholars, lawyers, teachers, bankers and community activists.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the project, we monitor media coverage in the countries concerned surrounding the delegation's visit and receive feedback from the delegates and the opinion-formers they meet. We also encourage follow-up by delegates on their return to the UK, in particular working through the Department for Communities and Local Government's Preventing Violent Extremism work.