The Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker, and a small team of senior officers gave a presentation to the Muslim Council of Britain's governing body at the Islamic Cultural Centre, Regents Park on 12 March 2005. The event was hosted by Iqbal Sacranie, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, the Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre. The aim of the presentation was to speak directly to leaders of the Muslim community to explain what is being done to ensure that the Armed Forces is genuinely inclusive and representative of the society it exists to serve; to address any concerns and questions Muslim community leaders have about Muslims serving in the Armed Forces; and, more generally, to increase awareness of career opportunities on offer for young people, in particular those from the Muslim community. The Chief of Defence Staff said: "I would like to pay tribute to the Muslim Council of Britain's invaluable work to promote better community relations and increase knowledge and understanding of the Muslim faith within British society. "The Muslim Council of Britain has made a real and lasting contribution to the creation of a just and tolerant society. "I would also like to emphasise my personal commitment to creating Armed Forces which reflect more fully the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity of the society we serve. In return we can offer fulfilling careers and high quality training and education." Responding, Mr Sacranie said: "The MCB welcomes moves by our Armed Forces towards greater recognition of the needs of its Muslim recruits. The establishment of the post of a Muslim Adviser to the Ministry of Defence and the recently proposed appointment of an Imam to cater for the spiritual welfare of British Muslim recruits are both commendable steps. "We hope that we will see increased numbers of British Muslims taking up positions in our Armed Forces just as they have done so in other sectors of our society. "For this to be successful, however, it is imperative that the high reputation of our armed forces is zealously protected and maintained and not allowed to be tainted by any misbehaviour or illegal actions." There are just over 300 personnel in the Armed Forces who have declared their religion as Islam. The Armed Forces are committed to creating a working environment in which everyone is not only valued and respected, but encouraged to realise their full potential, regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, social background or sexual orientation. Religious belief is treated as a private matter but, recognising the unique and demanding circumstances of Service life, the Armed Forces aim to facilitate and support individuals' spiritual needs where they can, subject to vital considerations of operational effectiveness and health and safety. Service dress regulations take account of cultural and religious differences, such as permitting individuals to wear items of religious significance. On occasion, there may be some restrictions regarding clothing worn in an operational environment, or where health and safety is an issue. The Armed Forces make every effort to cater for all special religious dietary requirements. Halal (as well as Kosher and vegetarian) meals can be provided in Service Mess Facilities and are normally readily available in the form of Operational Ration Packs for operations and exercises. The MOD's Religious Advisory Panel was established in 1998 to provide advice to the MOD on faith specific issues. It comprises representatives of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities.