HUSSAINI SOCIO POLITICAL ACTIVISM HUB FORMALLY LAUNCHED

SHAFAQNA – The Initiative for Muslim Community Development launched its new Hussaini socio political justice activism hub this week at Dar Ul Hikma in London. Dr Inayatullah Andrabi was the keynote speaker at the event which was initially restricted to a select set of Muslim activists with track records ranging from those involved in liberating Bahrain and Kashmir to those campaigning for the reform of underperforming UK Muslim religious institutions and Islamophobic Western establishments.

Dr Andrabi asserted that Islam of the Hussaini variety, was, at its heart “a transformational movement from darkness to light” and he raised critical questions about what Muslims here perceive as their socio- political duty in Britain. “ Should we be concerned with the future of British society?  Indeed, is it our religious and social responsibility to improve Britain. If the answer is yes then we should participate on our terms and express our socio-political concerns and clarify what it is that we think we can give to British society as an alternative in the contemporary idiom.”
The team behind this launch say that these alternatives exist and several community research initiatives on eco-Islamic living, better balanced educational curriculums, ethical political models and a multimedia organ for the Hub are already in development within their network. Thw work is being led voluntarily by Muslim academics, religious scholars and activist teams across Britain but it requires more investment to accelerate its progress.
As evidence of growing systemic discrimination of Muslims in Britain increases IMCD Co Founder Syed Mohsin Abbas said ” there is undoubtedly a need for an independent non aligned and Muslim-led space for a broad cross section of Muslim and non Muslim social justice activists to congregate and share ideas, experiences as well as being facilitated to forge new collaborations – this hub will facilitate such a platform and will say what formal religious institutions are now too scared to say because of the climate .”
It is this vacuum, arguably partly born of UK Muslim leadership’s  reluctance in calling out the British establishment’s anti Muslim injustice, which they say necessitates the creation of such new platforms. “Standing up against unjust policies that lead to greater social exclusion of Muslims and others is our Hussaini duty for the sake of our future generations in Britain – Muslim and non Muslim” said Syed Waqar Shah who only recently joined the movement. Ali Azam , architect of a Muslim Virtue Ethics campaign also underlined that “ virtuous transformation needs  to begin within individuals first for it to manifest in society and moral education is the key to triggering this transformative change”.
The activists hub began as an online social media forum of thousands of Sunni and Shia members who felt the need to come together practically in the non virtual arena to work on the common causes and challenges facing Muslim and non-Muslim communities alike. Issues  such as racism, elitism, poverty, disproportionate criminalization and wealth inequality being just a few.
Molana Syed Razawi underlined that the principles of fighting for social justice are pertinent to Muslims in light of the social justice struggles of the Holy Ahlulbayt and particularly with the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) and his companions in their fight against oppression and injustice. He confirmed that the Ulama in Britain would support IMCD’s objectives and efforts further if they saw evidence of a sustained struggle and positive results”.
The IMCD team say that the British Government has deliberately bypassed engagement with critical Muslim activists and the grassroots  by selectively adopting  Muslim individuals and organizations that will conform to their inherently discriminatory agenda in return for funds. The government has in fact sponsored thpusands of such outfits with MINAB ( a Mosque oversight board ) and the Quilliam Foundation (deradicalization think tank) being just two well known examples. More recently the All Party Parliamentary Group on Muslims and the Labour Muslim Network are yet more examples of top down initiatives to manage Muslim futures which confirm the British elites efforts to control Muslims in Britain. The power of these anti-Muslim lobby’s to affect Government policy has exposed what Dr Andrabi says is the “British Muslims own failure to develop adequate research driven socio-political institutions capable of going toe to toe in battling the anti-Islamic lobby groups. Rank and file UK Muslims are politically one of the most naive community’s and so far they just haven’t understood the value of investing in research and development”.
The IMCD Muslim activists hubs meeting is the first of an ongoing regular series of brainstorms that will take place across Britain, and was attended by a select group of Muslim activists from a cross section of London’s diverse multi cultural and multi ethnic Muslim communities. The presence of both Sunni and Shia denominational activists from the outset also augurs well for a fledgling grassroots movement that will they say “not be divided by sectarianism.”
Attendees pledged to work towards creating an efficient infrastructure for the movement with clear strategic goals and the development of an online organ for the activists to amplify their campaigns. They agreed that human and capital resources were key to achieving their objectives amid the current supersaturation of funding initiatives which overwhelmingly focused on social justice causes abroad but neglected Britains Muslims in particular.
Chair of the event Sayed Shabbir Razavi said “ Activist social transformation groups like IMCD, which also launched the first ever Muslim Manifesto for Britain, are arguably the first of a new generation of Muslim community development think tanks which could eventually provide a more effective political counterweight to the undue influence exerted by the troika of Liberal British government sponsored Muslims, Petro dinar bankrolled Islamists and right wing neoconservatives in the corridors of power.
A programme of regular socio political lectures, education workshops, training courses and networking events is already in place on Saturday evenings at Dar ul Hikma in Kings Cross London at 5 p.m. and even more counter cultural political Islamic awareness events are being plannned.

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