Asalamualikum wa Rehmattu Lahi wa Baraktahu
At a meeting of the Board of Trustees held in October 2015, I was elected as Interim Chair following the resignation of Maulana Sarfraz Madni. Maulana Sarfraz Madni tendered his resignation for personal as well as professional reasons. He said he had found it very difficult to find the time required to lead MINAB. His commitment and work for MINAB was unanimously praised by the Board and I was persuaded to step into his shoes pending the calling of the Annual General Meeting of members of the MINAB.
I am pleased to bring you some good news in these days when Muslims rarely have that pleasure. As you must know, we are engulfed in most toxic media portrayal of our faith and many of us have become tragic victims of Islamophobia and hatred against us as Muslims. The good news is that the MINAB (Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board) which was conceived and led by the Muslim communities, had remained inactive in the last few years for a variety of reasons. MINAB is being re-launched as a result of decisions made by the Board of Trustees who have been meeting to discuss its future. In these critical times we must all work together to keep our institutions safe and well governed. MINAB is your organization.
MINAB, as you will know was built on an inclusive vision to improve governance in our masajid and in the training institutes for Imams. In the first four years of its existence the MINAB delivered a number of capacity building programmes and in pursuit of its objective of self-regulation of masajid, visits were carried out to assist some of the members on issues of the agreed set of standards for improvement of governance. The Board of Trustees apologise for not having continued with the good work but as might appreciate finance for running the organization was a huge impediment and remains so.
However due to the prevailing circumstances, the Board of Trustees of MINAB have now committed themselves to the revival of MINAB as our institutions, Masajid and Madaaris are at serious risk of state interference. It is our duty as Muslims to do all we can to maintain and promote our independence in the faith that we follow as well as the institutions attached to our faith. In order to discharge that duty we have to ensure that our own house is in order in that our mosques and madaaris are being run efficiently as well as safely. The terms and conditions of service for persons who serve as Imams and their qualifications are matters of serious concern and we have to work on this as a matter of priority.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you and to seek your support and commitment to the rebirth of MINAB. As you will know our government has passed a number of laws in the last few years with the aim of protecting the safety and security of our country but many such laws have had an adverse impact on many innocent Muslims. Whilst, we as citizens, welcome all measures to protect the security of our nation, we need to remain vigilant about the impact of such laws on our freedom to practice our faith without undue interference or to be singled out as a faith group for particular attention.
The government has now published a consultation paper on the registration and eventual regulation of Madaaris. This is an extremely important development and is bound to have huge impact on our future as a community in the UK. With your involvement and support MINAB would like to engage in this process of consultation. MINAB will assist you in responding to the Consultative document and would also be happy to co-ordinate and collate responses in this regard from our members. Please look out for further news on our website which is www.minab.org.uk. Responses to the Consultative document have to be filed before 11 January 2016.
Also please contact me or any of my colleague Trustees with any ideas or plans that you may have in regard to MINAB or generally about the improvement of our institutions.
Yours in Islam,
Maulana Mohammed Shahid Raza OBE