MBCOL has been at this new address in Moat Road, Spinney Hills, for three months. Mind you, I never set foot in their old premises on East Park Road, so make this my first visit to MBCOL, period.
That's my friend and colleague, Suleman Nagdi, Chairman of the Board of MBCOL, outside their offices. The green door that's the farther away of the two leads into a smaller office specifically for those wishing to arrange a funeral. The larger entrance and the area it leads into is general reception, office, kitchen and stairs to the boardroom on the first floor. In the boardroom, MBCOL provides training for different faith groups and community organisations on all aspects of death and bereavement (e.g. how to register a death; managing relationships with General Practitioners, hospitals, cemeteries and crematoria; involvement of police and ambulance services; how to deal with a death at home). This advice, guidance and training is offered free of charge, not just to the Muslim community but also to any and all who wish to avail themselves of it. MBCOL is also involved with innovative projects such as virtual autopsy device pioneered by the University of Leicester, which will be to the benefit of all those communities and families who find intrusive techniques objectionable.
I'm glad of the opportunity to chat with Suleman about the historical development, present situation and future prospects for MBCOL. We discuss how to help more community groups benefit from the work that MBCOL is doing. MBCOL has already established its credentials for being an open, all-embracing organisation through the publication a year ago of its book, Discovering Though Death: Beliefs and Practices (the launch event for which I blogged here). The book explores death, dying and bereavement from several perspectives: Bahá'í, Buddhist, Chritisn, Hindu, Humanist, Jain, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh. It also contains introductory sections on each of these religions or beliefs (bar Humanist), adapted from the public information leaflets I wrote for Leicester Council of Faiths early on in my post.