British Muslim community comprises of diverse ethnic, social, economic and political groups coming from many parts of the world. But at its heart, our community still is one that lags behind in education, health, employment, socio-political engagement. Our leadership in the community still held by largely first or second generation immigrants who are often unable and perhaps unwilling to fully comprehend the challenges of our time. Not surprisingly, often some confident and rather 'unclassic' ambitious individuals take a swipe at our leaders controlling mosques and community organisations.
However, the reality is this: our elders, religious and community leaders have done a great deal. They lived in conditions where took their turn to sleep, worked hard to earn pennies and went out for bathing. Yet, they have set an excellent example of philanthropy. Hundreds of mosques across the country are largely their contributions. It is them who has given a voice to us when we had none, a place to gather when we had no where to go. They have limitations and served their purpose but we must positively assert their rights to be recognised for the goods they have done.
Of course, many Muslims have made success of their lives reaching senior positions in government, private corporations and businesses. In achieving success, they have gained important skills and experiences. Their experience and knowledge can play important role in the advancement of our community. We need to engage these successful people in manners which will build a happy and effective partnership between the traditional grass root community leaders and professionally successful people of our community.
Challenges we face in going about our daily lives are multi-facet. And every day these challenges become more complex in nature. Organisation like the MCB is in place precisely to identify these challenges and to find ways to not just face them but to keep up to date with their changing nature. However, ultimately, the MCB is an organisation of the Muslim Community. The strength of MCB is the strength of its constituent communities. As a result, MCB needs to keep its constituents happy. For this reason, new leadership of MCB needs to be one who has a track record of meaningful involvement within the community while reasonably able to understand and deal with the challenges posed at us by external entities. To lean stronger in one direction would mean loosing the other yet we need to succeed both in facing the challenges before us while also keeping our constituents faithful and confident on us.
The MCB will have its 11th AGM on the 20 June this year. In this AGM we must find a new leader, one who is capable of capturing the mood of the Muslim Community. He must be able to articulate the concerns and aspirations of the Muslim Community to the mainstream society in fighting against anti-Muslim hatred, discrimination in employment, inadequacies in education and the alarming health concerns.
Finally, we are a community bound together by a common faith. We have many traditions but our foundation is one. We have many opinions but our fundamental sources are same. We are a community identified, above all, by our commitment to our faith. It must, in my opinion, be a condition that our leaders ought to have sound knowledge and understanding of our traditions, our sources of inspiration.