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Sudan (two visits);

USA (two visits);

Egypt;

Iran;

Libya;

Afghanistan;



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Bahrain;

Qatar;

India;

Singapore;

Malaysia;

Algeria;

Bosnia;

Morocco;

Germany;

Netherlands;

France;

Nigeria;

Kenya;

Tanzania; and

Canada

The aim of the programme is to provide high profile platforms for British Muslims to share their experiences of life in the UK and engage in constructive dialogue with their hosts. The programme has proved effective at challenging widespread misconceptions about the reality of life for Muslims in Britain.

This directly undermines the extremist narrative that Muslims in the UK and the West are oppressed—thereby supporting a key element of the Government's work to challenge extremism. A key aim of each visit is to enable a cross-fertilisation of ideas between British Muslims and influential figures in the Muslim world. We tailor the objectives for each visit to UK priorities on the ground in each country.

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: The criteria for selecting delegates depends on the particular objectives of the visit to each country. We take into account the likely resonance of individuals and their background and experience in the country, links or background in the country and relevant professional experience in the UK. Overall, we aim to ensure that delegations reflect a broad cross section of individuals from across the UK Muslim communities and reflect the diversity of opinion within the British Muslim communities—including young people and women.

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: Seventy-three individuals have taken part in the projecting British Islam delegations since 7 July 2005. They include the following:

Lutfur Ali;

Lord Adam Patel;

Yusef Tai;



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Asim Siddiqui;

Manzoor Moghal;

Jawaid Akhter;

Shareefa Fulat;

Dilwar Hussain;

Saifuddin Ahmed;

Fareena Alam;

Waqar Ahmed;

Aiysha Malik;

Mohammed Abdul Aziz;

Nabeel Rauf;

Yusuf Tai;

Shaaz Mahboob;

Ibrahim Mogra;

Dr. Husna Ahmad;

Khurshid Ahmed;

Dr. Musharraf Hussain;

Rukaiya Jeraj;

Sabira Lakha;

Irfan Chishti;

Asim Siddiqui;

Museji Takolia;

Tahir Abass;

Parvin Ali;

Shelina Janmohamed;

Saiyyidah Najmus-sabah Zaidi;

Akhlaq Choudhury;

Kanak Huq;

Rupa Huq;

Fatim Kurji Jumabhoy;

Yasmin Qureshi; and

Mustafa Suleyma.

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: The decision on who is included in delegations is a collaborative decision between our embassies/high commissions and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, with advice from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Parades: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The 2006 expenditure included costs in relation to a series of public meetings on parades

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and an exhibition event in relation to the commission's education pack; in addition to the commission's code of conduct for parades and the annual report and financial statements.

The 2007 expenditure included costs in relation to advertisements from the commission's review of procedures and the position of secretary to the commission, and the production of the annual report and financial statements.

Pilgrimages

Lord Sheikh asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The Government do not hold records of the number of cases of detriment caused to British Muslim pilgrims arising from the actions of United Kingdom-based pilgrimage arrangers. Indeed there seems to be a reticence among pilgrims to bring complaints to the attention of the relevant authorities and this is one of the issues we are aiming to address.

Nevertheless the Government are well aware that there are serious problems in this sector and my department, in conjunction with other government departments, the Civil Aviation Authority and local authority trading standards officers are working to improve compliance with UK regulations on package travel, to inform pilgrims of their consumer rights, and to whom they should complain.

Last year we began an information campaign to inform pilgrims of their rights and my honourable friend the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs wrote to all MPs to ask for their help at the constituency level. There is evidence, in terms of a rise in complaints to the appropriate authorities, that this met with some success. We shall build on that this year by better targeting consumer information and publicity via a further pilgrim awareness campaign later in the year, and by seeking ways of ensuring that Hajj and Umrah travel organisers meet their statutory obligations. To begin this process, my honourable friend the Minister for Trade and Consumers Affairs will be holding a meeting in July to which have been invited Hajj travel organisers and we expect Muslim representative organisations to attend. We shall inform them of their responsibilities to their customers and explore with them their ideas on how the Hajj travel industry can improve.

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The chief executive of the UK Border Agency advised the Home Affairs Committee in her letter of 17 December 2007 that there are around 1,200 foreign national prisoners held in immigration detention centres awaiting deportation/administrative removal from the United Kingdom.

Due to the large number of variables involved, it is not possible to anticipate the numbers of individuals that may fall under the early removal scheme for so long a period or whether they can be removed directly from a prison or move to be detained within the UK Border Agency detention estate. However, eligible foreign national prisoners will typically spend a maximum of 24 hours in a UK Border Agency detention centre. In the event that removal cannot proceed due to unforeseen issues then they are returned to prison to continue serving their sentence until removal may recommence.

Questions for Written Answer: Late Answers

Lord Jopling asked the Leader of the House:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): There are various reasons for overdue responses; parliamentary recesses often present administrative difficulties for departments. The House returned after the Easter holidays last year on 16 April 2007.

Departments work closely with my office constantly to address the number of outstanding Questions for Written Answer. My office regularly reminds departments of the importance of responding to Questions for Written Answer within the deadline and I will continue to ensure that Answers are provided in a timely fashion.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: These Questions were all answered on 19 June, (Official Report, col. WA 191).

HL2322 and HL2528 were delayed as a result of an ongoing internal review on communications regarding external bodies. HL3399 was delayed due to an administrative error.



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Regeneration

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The department does not record information on regeneration spending by individual lower super output areas and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Rural Areas

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The total EU budget for the seven-year period of the Rural Development Programme for England was approved by the European Commission on 7 December 2007 (Commission Decision C(2007)6320). The Treasury funding which is required to match this European budget is set annually. Matching of the two annual budgets has to be reviewed each year because of, for example, changes in exchange rates and to take account of the rate at which applications for the voluntary schemes administered under the programme are submitted and approved.

The conditions under which the EU funds are allocated enables some limited flexibility to transfer unspent budget into future years. Defra officials are currently engaged with the bodies responsible for administering the schemes to ensure these funds are utilised fully.


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