We asked a sample of over 5,000 people about their attitudes to Britishness and British values, to religious charities and to Ramadan. The results paint what for me is an unsurprisingly positive picture of Britain's Muslim community, one that I believe much better reflects what we are about than the narrow stereotypes that dominate some sections of the media.
We need to focus as never before on the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the country, investing above all in the infrastructure of basic health and education services that will help lift people out of poverty. Afghanistan needs more schools, more health clinics and more trained teachers and health professionals to staff them.
Words cannot describe the hopelessness I felt emanating from these camps, and I am not surprised that so many families decide to take the next step and leave Syria altogether. If we could just get access and reach them, it might not solve the conflict, but it would lessen the burden for families who have lost everything and ease the pressure on neighbouring countries.
While the seasons and the landscape change in Syria, so much about the country's protracted conflict is unchanging and unrelenting. Thousands of people killed each month, atrocities on both sides, and thousands more fleeing the country as refugees. Millions living in limbo, some out of reach of humanitarian aid, when all they want is peace and a chance for normal life to resume.
Syria's brutal conflict has killed over 100,000 people, driven seven million from their homes and created the worst refugee crisis for a generation. I intend to welcome the Prime Minister's recent vow to lead the world in aid for the Syrian people, and to ask the Secretary of State to ensure that no stone is left unturned in diplomatic efforts to improve humanitarian access and bring about peace talks.
Abdul said they had lost loved ones from three generations of their family, and showed us a framed picture of his late wife, daughter, son and four grandchildren - all casualties of this brutal war. I was almost speechless. What words of comfort can you offer to a bereaved elderly man like Abdul Karim breaking down with grief.
For me broadcasting these programmes is doubly positive. It's positive for Muslims, of course, for our faith to be taken seriously by a mainstream broadcaster rather than demonised. But it's also positive for a wider audience to have the opportunity to look beyond media stereotypes and gain a better understanding of mainstream Muslims and our way of life.
As Ramadan approaches, we're urging the Muslim community and the wider public to look behind the headlines and stereotypes associated with war and terrorism and support our vital humanitarian work in the midst of conflict in South Asia and the Middle East.
28/06/2013 08:58 BST
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