Allah has blessed humankind with the ability to develop complex and intelligent cultures by way of intellectual reflections, and scientific discoveries as well as spiritual achievements. Our ethnicity, heritage and culture are part of what make humans distinct from the animals.
Posted on Fri, 2014-05-16 23:02
Delegates, councillors, invitees and observers travelled far and wide to participate in the fourteenth Ordinary Conference of The World Federation of KSIMC. The Secretary General of The World Federation, Shan-E-Abbas Hassam, welcomed all participants to the Triennial Conference 2014 held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – the place of peace and host city of many of The World Federation’s meetings in past years.
He recognized and appreciated the commitment of all of the volunteers, including President of Dar es Salaam Jamaat, al-Hajj Shiraz Walji and his management team, the conference hosting team and all of the volunteers for ensuring a successful Conference.
This meeting’s conference package comprises 500 pages including a 36-point agenda.
REFLECTION & RECITATION OF VERSES FROM THE HOLY QUR’AN
‘Leadership Guidance in light of the Qur’an and Hadith’ was the theme of the opening reflection presented by Shaykh Kumail Rajani. Leadership is to create and facilitate all of the means for its members to live a prosperous socio-religious life, where a person has enough time and opportunity for his personal development and spiritual experiences. Four key points about leadership were shared which included:
1. Leadership is something to be learned and no one is born a leader.
2. Leadership should be principle driven and not personality driven.
3. Leadership should be youth focused.
We need to combine the consultancy of experienced community members with the energy of the younger generation.
4. Leadership should create a platform for community members to grow both in their religious and economic capacities.
INTRODUCTION OF DELEGATES
Conference delegates, councillors and invitees each had an opportunity to introduce themselves and share one expectation of this three day Conference.
Some of these expectations included:
To get to know one another
Increase unity and move forward
Increase in faith
Closer working of The World Federation regions
Words should be coupled with actions
Build a strong united community worldwide
Create opportunities for the youth
See Madrasah move to next level
Collaboration and networking of schools
'We’ rather than ‘you and me’
Stronger inter regional relationship
Strengthen compliance issues
Some comments included:
“I would like the conference to find solutions to reducing the generation gap that exists in our communities between the youth and our elders.”
“I would like to see us develop a shared vision to take our communities forward.”
“I would like to see all of our regions come together to pool resources to reduce poverty.”
“I am happy to be part of a dynamic and diverse group here today.”
“I am happy to see so many women participating in today’s meeting and hope to see this trend continue into the future.”
“We need to find new ways of working to support our youth in the path of the Ahlul Bayt (as).”
“We need to be more proactive and less reactive.”
“We need to learn from cutting edge and forward thinking discussions.”
A MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF AYATOLLAH SISTANI IN NAJAF
His Eminence Grand Ayatollah al-Sayed (Ali al-Husayni as-Seestani) delivered a special message to The World FederationConference 2014 which was read out by Shaykh Safdar Jaffer:
In the name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the Ever-Merciful.
All praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds and may peace and blessings be upon the best of His creation Muhammad and upon his pure progeny.
Brothers and Sisters, the members of the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri community, may Allah safeguard you.
Salamun Alaykum wa rehmatullah wa barakatuhu, with love and respect.
In these auspicious days when your general conference is being convened, we are pleased to convey to all of you, greetings and prayers of beneficiation and prosperity, as well as increase in tawfeeq and steadfastness from His Eminence Grand Ayatollah al-Sayed (Ali al-Husayni as-Seestani), may his life be long.
His Eminence blesses you on convening this conference and considers this as an exemplification of the recommendation of our master Amir al-Mu’mineen (as) to his children and to his Shias to manage their affairs.
He (his Eminence) stresses upon the necessity to give more importance than ever before on the cultural aspects of community members and to seize all available means and avenues to safeguard their original religious identity. He also stresses upon the necessity to give importance to your mu’min brothers and sisters, especially the Africans, on both cultural aspects and on social services.
Praying to the Almighty Master to keep you all steadfast and grant you with increased reward and recompense.
Wassalamu alaykum va rehmatullah va barakatohu
4 Rajab 1435
The Office of al-Syed al-Sistani – Al Najaf Al Ashraf
(A) BY CHAIRMAN OF RECEPTION COMMITTEE
Chairman of the Reception Committee, Murtaza H. Lalji thanked the Dar es Salaam Jamaat for giving the Ithna Asheri Union an opportunity to lead in organizing this conference. He thanked his outstanding, dedicated and hard-working team for their tireless efforts in organizing the conference including all others who supported them with their guidance and cooperation in organising this conference. Finally he thanked all of the conference sponsors.
(B) BY CHAIRMAN OF DAR ES SALAAM JAMAAT
Chairman of Dar es Salaam Jamaat, Al-Haj Shiraz Walji thanked The World Federation and The Africa Federation for the opportunity to host Conference 2014 in Dar es Salaam. He welcomes more similar events to Dar es Salaam as it empowers youth to become future leaders, such as this event’s organising team this year.
Human beings have a natural desire to achieve, thus we learn, grow and aspire, to make better lives for our offspring. Dar es Salaam Jamaat has progressed in all aspects of social, educational and spiritual realms. The community has made great strides in building healthcare institutions, schools and the Autistic Day Care Centre which was developed in partnership with The World Federation.
Still the potential for this community is untapped and the Jamaat encourages entrepreneurship. He stressed that “we do not have a scarcity of resources, rather we have a problem of not using them properly.” Our greatest strength is in diversity – geographical and intellectual; this should not be disjointed otherwise we will not get returns.
Shiraz bhai outlined that the community has a very high per capita income, yet poverty still exists. He urged the Conference to look into higher education and university opportunities in East Africa where he invited a feasibility study to be done on this matter.
(C) BY CHAIRMAN OF AFRICA FEDERATION
Chairman of The Africa Federation, Al-Haj Anwer bhai Dharamsi prayed for the oppressed peoples of the world, for our holy shrines, and for the global ummah. He thanked Dar es Salaam Jamaat for their wonderful and continued support of this Conference. He took this opportunity to congratulate Dr Asgar Moledina on his re-election as President of The World Federation for the term 2014 to 2017.
KEYNOTE ADDRESSES BY REGIONAL LEADERS:
Regional Presidents delivered individual presentations on behalf of their regions, outlining key successes and challenges. Each of the presidents congratulated Dr. Asgar Moledina, as the new President of The World Federation for the term 2014 to 2017.
(A) PAKISTAN FEDERATION
Pakistan Federation’s keynote address was presented by Mohammed bhai Merchant where he noted that Pakistan Federation joined The World Federation for the betterment of humanity and to work together as a global community. Pakistan represents one-third of the total global Khoja population where 30% of its population lives under the poverty line. There are many areas which need addressing to help these families and Mohammed Bhai suggested that a demographic study be carried out to identify needy families and provide them with assistance.
The President of NASIMCO, Gulamabbas Bhai Najafi highlighted the organisation’s milestones and challenges. The Centre for Islamic Learning (CIL) was established to deliver the Madrasah Centre for Excellence (MCE) program in North America. There are important changes to compliance regulations in North America and NASIMCO is working hard to address key changes in the way it works. Gulamabbas bhai urged all regions to work together as one family to live The World Federation’s motto “We Exist to Serve”. Finally, the President invited all participants to NASIMCO’s annual conference to be held in Vancouver, Canada on the weekend of 6-7 June 2014.
(C) COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN JAMAATS
President of The Council of European Jamaats (CoEJ), Dr. Husein Jiwa noted that Dr. Asgar Moledina’s re-election shows the confidence of the community in his leadership and that CoEJ is looking forward to the upcoming term. CoEJ conducted an internal review and found that approximately 30 projects had made a significant impact on the community in Europe. Some of these initiatives were:
Youth Leadership programme and mentor training
- Mediation training
- Khoja Heritage Day in Leicester
Europe is facing many challenges and one of these is ‘Shia-phobia’ which is a growing concern. CoEJ has been working closely with the media, other Shia organisations and with mainland European Jamaats. CoEJ has been working hard to have the Shia Muslim voice to be heard across Europe and to facilitate the delivery of the Madrasah Centre of Excellence (MCE) program in partnership with The World Federation.
(D) AFRICA FEDERATION
President of The Africa Federation, Al-Haj Anwer Bhai Dharamsi provided the organisation’s support for the Madrasah Centre of Excellence (MCE) program in Africa. He added that resident aalims can be important agents of change and need proper terms of reference to make a real impact in the community. With poverty still affecting our communities, there is a need to create economic development plans. The Africa Federation appreciates the close partnership with The World Federation in its housing development plans to provide new and affordable housing in Africa. Educational loans are in place and over 500 students have benefited since the inception of this scheme. Anwer bhai outlined many other achievements of The Africa Federation and thanked The World Federation for their partnership and support.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD FEDERATION
Starting with a verse from the Holy Qur’an (5:8) on the justice and fear of Allah (swt), President of The World Federation, Dr. Asgar Moledina addressed the Conference for the term 2011 to 2014. He commented on the need to have a grand dream and vision and the danger of stagnation. He outlined that the objectives of the Conference are to review the work completed and to learn from any errors made and shortcomings. However, the best judges of The World Federation’s accomplishments are the grassroots who will evaluate whether or not the work undertaken has been effective.
In his address, Dr. Moledina noted:
One of the key challenges of the term has been to address the vacuum of voluntary human resources. He invited each and every person and family to instil love for the community and voluntary services for the community. We must address the common complaint of ‘lack of time’ so that more people can serve our communities.
The healthy differences that we may have among us, but we must ensure they do not transform into destructive arguments and disunity.
His concerns towards the misuse of modern d
ay technology and the ease of communication that is at our disposal.
The importance of self-improvement before embarking upon the improvement of others: ‘Be the change you want to see in others’.
The needs and wishes of The World Federation’s regions and members to support their efforts are valid, but it must be borne in mind that The World Federation does not have an unlimited pool of resources that can satisfy every need.
The importance of paying huqooq funds and the importance of ensuring incomes are halal.
The absence of youths from our centres is a growing concern and perhaps we need to revisit key messages delivered in our centres and the need to establish a policy in this issue.
Encouragement on the increased participation of women in our community’s activities.
Dr. Moledina then quoted a verse from the Holy Qur’an (2:143), which talks about the importance of a balanced and moderate ummah. He stressed the importance of remaining a moderate community where our faith comes first followed by our Khoja identity and heritage. In relation to this, he announced the screening of a new documentary that shows the history of the struggle of faith of the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Muslim community. Dr Moledina discussed the importance to safeguard our culture.
He went on to discuss the ongoing anti-Shia feeling throughout the world and the importance of strengthening our bonds with moderate mainstream Muslims and make clear the misconceptions that exist regarding our school of thought. The advice of our Marja has always been to develop a closer working relationship with other Muslims and Dr Moledina stressed the importance of following this advice.
A special note of appreciation was extended by Dr Moledina to all of The World Federation team members, Office Bearers, delegates and regional members for their excellent support over the past term.
Dr Moledina ended his key note address by thanking the entire worldwide community for their support and prayers and asked for forgiveness from anyone who he may have inadvertently hurt and offended.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE WORLD FEDERATION
Secretary General of The World Federation, Shan-E-Abbas Hassam provided his report for the 2011 to 2014 term. He began by announcing that 90% of the Action Plan first developed at the start of this term had been delivered. He commented that one of the successes of this term has been the Madressah Centre of Excellence programme in its various branches and teams, whilst not reinventing the wheel. The focus here has been to improve tarbiyah (moral nurturing) as well as ta’leem (education).
Shan-E-Abbas praised the efforts of our forefathers in setting up the institutions that we have. However, he commented that many years later, the community are seeing the disillusionment of the youths towards our institutions. Some instances of this are:
Them and us approach
Shan-E-Abbas stated that over the years, the dynamics of our communities around the world have been changing where key issues need to be addressed in support of different population groups. In particular,
The time has come to deliver collectively rather than individually and this can only be done when there are clear strategies that do away with artificial barriers that have grown. We need new structures with less bureaucracy and more effectiveness. If we do not have these, then the institution’s long term credibility will be an issue.
The gap between the haves and have-nots is increasing. Poverty in our community should not exist. Robust policies must be put in place to eradicate this.
The World Federation must do much more to highlight schemes, find investment and promote best practices. This is needed in west as well as developing world.
There is a huge need for immigration support for vulnerable community members.
We need to develop better mediation systems for families and marriage breakdowns.
There is a need to work with Ulama and Zakireen to fully grasp the needs of communities; for example, resident aalims may need to undergo professional development and training programs to be more effective in an ever changing world, and
We must find effective ways to combat the rising incidence of anti-Shia propaganda.
THE WORLD FEDERATION FINANCES, ADMINISTRATION COSTS & RESOLUTION
Brother Reza Hooda, Hon Treasurer of The World Federation discussed the accounts for the term 2011 to 2014. A number of discussions took place on this.
To help meet the administrative costs of delivering the work of The World Federation, a 7% administration fee is deducted from all contributions received. A resolution was unanimously passed that the administration fee will be reduced from 7% to 3% with immediate effect.
On 5th October, 2014, Al-Haj Hassanbhai Jaffer and Sheikh Kumail Rajani (Joint Head of Khoja Heritage Project and Head of Islamic Education Department) visited Shiraz to meet the community members residing in Shiraz.
The children’s group from the Husaini Islamic Centre, Burton Street, launched a project to support the Peterborough foodbank.