Cultural Awareness

In 2001, following 9/11, BMCS developed the “Demystifying Islam & Muslims” Cultural Awareness presentation. We have never advertised our presentations yet through word of mouth the demand for our “Demystifying Islam” presentations continues to grow, not only in Bristol but also in more remote parts of the South West where in some instances, the recipients have never met a Muslim in person.
BMCS has over 20 years experience of delivering cultural awareness workshops & presentations to schools, colleges, universities and multi-agencies. We cater our workshops to suit the needs of our audiences and include the 5 pillars of Islam & the 7 articles of faith in most of our workshops. For educational institutions we liaise with teaching staff to ensure our workshops cover specific themes, if required.
The success of our workshops over the years, is quite simply down to our eagerness and ability to engage our audiences to ask any question they wish, with no subject taboo, no reason to be politically correct and no reason to feel embarrassed or worried about asking questions; regardless of how provocative they may seem.
This encourages open and honest dialogues, which is essential if we are to break down barriers and avoid misunderstandings between Muslims and the wider community.

The demand for this work extends beyond Bristol and the South West where we continue to meet with communities who have had little or no personal interaction with members of the Muslim Faith and so up until this point their only understanding of Islam and Muslims has been via the Media. Being able to play such a pivotal role in bringing communities together is, and continues to be, a privilege for BMCS.

BMCS is a charity and receives no government funding. Our work is sustained only through the money we receive from delivering workshops.

The four categories of our work are:

Working with educational institutions

We have over the years, forged excellent links with the education sector in Bristol & the South West. Our ‘Demystifying Islam’ workshops with the educational institutions is now seen as a complimentary subject to their teaching of Islam to pupils at all levels and ranges as part of their teaching of Religious Education curriculum. We are regularly contacted to advise on issues affecting Muslim pupils.

Early years & Primary
Our workshops for early years are interactive with lots of visual aids including religious artefacts and scriptures. They are based on brief descriptions of the 5 pillars of Islam. For older primary years, in addition to more detailed descriptions of the 5 pillars, we cover the 7 articles of faith. We also, demonstrate how Muslims pray, which children love to join in with (be assured that this is not an act of prayer but simply a demonstration of the actions performed and some of the phrase recited in English). We are able to tailor our workshops to meet curriculum needs and themes to offer a very bespoke service.

We have worked with many schools at GCSE level and our work has become an invaluable aid to supporting students studying Islam as part of their GCSE Religious Studies curriculum. We deal with a range of topics from general Islam to Islam’s perspective on cloning, fertility treatment, human rights, women in Islam, equality, genetic engineering, life and death issues, issues around Muslim burial and death.

Colleges & higher education

We also work with Universities and Colleges. We work with a wide range of students from students studying Theology at degree level or those studying Islam at GCSE or A-Level.

This work also includes our presentations and workshops on Islamophobia and our work in training future teachers around Demystifying Islam who may want to understand Islam and Muslims better in their classroom teaching of Islam.

Our workshops around Islampohobia also help trainee teachers identify pupils who may be suffering from this type of racism.

Our sessions bring Islam to life with lived experience and help students or other professionals understand key concepts. Using our expert knowledge we also help students understand a wide range of ethical and social issues from an Islamic perspective.

These sessions also include Virtual Reality views of the Mosque in Mecca and the Kaaba.

What Our Students Have to Say

"Thank you so much for all your help and support with our Faith Matters Tutorial. There was a real buzz around the school afterwards and teachers commented that students who came into their classes afterwards were all talking about it and saying how good it was. We are hoping to this again on a bigger scale and open to more students. We would be delighted if you would consider being a part if this again with us. I really do appreciate the time and support you gave us to make the event so enjoyable for everyone involved."
Wyedean School & Sixth Form
"May I offer sincere thanks for hosting a highly beneficial visit to Bristol Central Mosque by a party of 17 students (level 3) and 3 staff from Filton College this morning. We were all most grateful to Mr. Rizwan Ahmed for the talk “Demystifying Islam” which was very informative and resovled many misconeptions"
Dr Paul Smtih
Filton College
"A very good speaker, very factual. Very interesting - brought new light to clouded media subjects"
GSCE Student
Filton College
"It was lovely to meet you and Rizwan on Wednesday,thank you so much for our mosque visit. The children (and teachers!) thoroughly enjoyed themselves and found it a really useful and enlightening visit. You were both so informative and welcoming"

Multi-agency training

BMCS offers training to the public, private & voluntary sectors. We tailor the training program to the needs of the organisation after consultation. This training is offered on a half day or full day basis.
Through our high quality and interactive ‘Demystifying Islam’ programme, we have helped to train hundreds of individuals from various agencies across Bristol. We have been commissioned by the Youth Offending Team (YOT) where we helped to enable participants to not only gain a better understanding of Muslims and their faith but also equipped them with the correct knowledge to work and interact with their Muslim clients.

We work closely with our partners to ensure our presentations are interactive and relevant to the audiences attending in order to achieve maximum benefit. We continue to receive positive feedback where attendees share that their misconceptions about Islam and Muslims were removed due to our ‘Demystifying Islam’ programme and that they feel more equipped and confident to interact with Muslims in the future; which as result allows them to provide a better class of service in their jobs.

A selection of the beneficiaries of our Cultural Awareness programe:

What Our Attendees Have to Say

"One of the most interesting training daysI've had in ages. And fab lunch! Should be offered to all front line staff at Bristol City Council, including teachers"
Disabled Children's Services
"Really interesting talk from people clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about the topic and their beliefs."
Probation Service Officer
"Thank you so much for our visit this morning. As with last time I've had such positive feedback from everyone who came along. They've been telling other colleagues about the visit and what they learnt and I feel it can only have a positive effect on our newsroom. I also have lots of colleagues wondering about reports they could do with you so don't be surprised to get a few calls! Thank you for being so open and welcoming and happy to answer all of our questions. I think you are doing a great job!"
Naomi Llloyd
ITV Newsroom
"It is always great to share a space of cultural exchange learning & sharing. The facilitators were warm, friendly & open. Please keep up this great work as it breeds great intercultural relations – Thank you"
Cllr Rochelle Russell
Swindon Borough Council