The writer valued a long association with Dr Naseem (below, second left on the front row) whom she saw as a force for good in the city.
It began when – like many others – she attended a meeting of concerned people at the Central Mosque, after the 1991 bombing of Iraq. Several kept in touch with Dr Naseem and joined the Citizens’ Association which he founded in 1998. He wrote the Citizens’ Association Manifesto in 1999 (copy on request), but the association was subverted by a political group which only paid lip-service and used its funding. Dr Naseem always believed what people said, until presented with clear evidence of dishonesty. That was a virtue but in a worldly sense, a failing.
Notes from a 2007 interview on WM radio; as usual Dr Naseem spoke his mind without fear of consequences:
Q/ interviewer: Have we a police state?
A: We are on the road to a police state – in every totalitarian state this is how it started.
Q: But we have a vote and can get rid of the government
A: There has been a loss of honour, dignity, freedom and privacy. The EU constitution is based on an old Soviet model.
Section 54 of the Equal Opportunities Bill Section 1 makes it unlawful for a public authority to harass or discriminate but subsection 3 does not apply to the Commons, Lords, Security services and Intelligence agencies.
We have fought two wars to support human values but now fine words are covering ugly realities. What has happened to Habeas Corpus? People are being arrested without court orders. Two elderly ladies were recently arrested for wearing T-shirts which were not praising Mr Blair. We are on the way to a Stalinist-type state; Muslims are mainly affected today but others will be affected tomorrow.
He was convinced of the need for banking and monetary reform and attended the annual meetings of the Bromsgrove Group from 1997 onwards (above, sixth from right, back row.)
After seeing the seriously damaging effect immediately after a friend’s child received the MMR vaccine from another doctor, he decided not to administer it in future.
In 2010 Dr Naseem asked for the contact details of David Halpin, a surgeon who – with a group of other doctors – questioned the verdict that Dr David Kelly could have committed suicide in the way officially reported, after ‘blowing the whistle’ on the government dossier on Iraqi weapons. Dr Naseem had, over the years, repeatedly expressed the belief that the medical evidence presented to the public did not support the decision that Dr Kelly committed suicide.
I learnt from Dr Naseem that the Central Mosque makes an effort to welcome both Sunni and Shia Muslims, and Dr Naseem’s hope was that, one day, a Shia imam would be accepted. He also encouraged women to come forward and take a greater part. An introduction service was set up on the mosque premises to enable youngsters to meet prospective partners.
The role of women in Birmingham’s Central Mosque was furthered when it hosted the Birmingham Sharia Council, developed from a Women’s Crisis Centre set up by Dr Wageha Syeda. Dr Naseem also asked Amra Bone to become a member of the council because of her knowledge of Sharia law. He appointed Salma Yaqoob as the only female spokesperson for a British mosque.
In 2001 he wrote The Politics of Service, which may now be seen on this website.
A brief but reasonably balanced sketch of his life and thinking may be seen on Wikipedia.