We begin by conveying our deepest condolences to the Imam of our time, al Mahdi (ATFS) and to our community members during this time of the remembrance of the tragedy of Karbala and the Martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam, his family members and companions. We pray to Allah (SWT) by His grace and mercy for peace and love to prevail amongst mankind in all parts of the World, and that our prayers and actions bring about positive change in the World we live in.
4th World Federation Executive Council Meeting (EXCO) for the term 2014-2017 – The Africa Federation (AFED) Councillors to the 4th WF EXCO was led by the Vice Chairman, Alhaj Shabir Najafi and was accompanied by the Chairman of Reunion Association who is also the Vice Chairman of AFED from Reunion Territorial Council, Alhaj Amine Nassor, the AFED Hon. Secretary, Alhaj Aunali Khalfan and the AFED Housing and Economic Development Board Chairman, Alhaj Akil Hirji.
Invitees from Africa Federation who also attended the meeting were; Alhaj Amir Merali, Nominated Councillor of AFED, Alhaj Hassan Ali M Jaffer from Mombasa, Alhaj Mohamed Sumar and Alhaj Shabbir Manekia from Dar es Salaam.
The meeting was successfully hosted by Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto (ISIJ), a member Jamaat of NASIMCO on Saturday, 10th October, 2015 at Jaffari Community Centre, Bathurst and was well attended by the WF Office Bearers, WF Secretariat, WF Executive Councillors, and Councillors from the Regional Federations, Invitees from Africa, Australia, Canada, Pakistan, UK, USA and from several other counties. Following is a brief report of the session:-
The World Federation President, Dr. Asgar Moledina in his opening address at the session gave an overview of the various initiatives being undertaken by the World Federation and on some of the work he had personally been involved in over the last few months, including the Yemen Refugee crisis, visits to various Jamaats around the globe and his recent meeting with Ayatullah Sayyid Sistani in Iraq.
A report was presented by the WF Secretariat on various activities and projects which the WF has been involved in over the last year. On Community Affairs, the Secretary General, Br. Kumail Manji explained about the focus of the term for Community Affairs would be on areas such as volunteerism, working on challenges facing marriageable men and women of the community, social challenges, and greater engagement with the community and interfaith relationships.
For the first time in the history of the WF that the meeting was paperless – an initiative that reduced substantial printing and administrative effort and costs.
A detailed report was presented by the Head of the Core Team on the Yemeni Community Settlement; Br. Shan-e-Abbas Hassam and highlighting various scenarios in order for the Executive Council to make informed decision, discussion was via video link. Br. Sibtein Asaria, member of the Core Team present at the meeting explained on the ongoing efforts and strategy for way forward. The WF Vice Chairman, Br. Shabbar Dhalla spoke on the ongoing work for assisting Yemeni refugees currently are accommodated in Djibouti, and also the challenges faced, including funding. An apology was received from Sajjad bhai Rashid, Chairman of Mombasa Jamaat, a member of the Core Yemeni Community Settlement team for being unable to attend the session due to some prior commitments.
AFED Councillor, Br. Aunali Khalfan provided a brief outline on the ongoing efforts by Africa Federation and its member Jamaats towards assisting in resettlement of the Yemeni refugees. He highlighted on the developments that have taken place so far in this regard. AFED Secretariat is working closely with the WF Yemeni Core Committee, who are fully committed towards the cause. AFED Vice Chairman, Br. Shabir Najafi emphasized on the collective global efforts required towards this project, as the timeline set is getting closer.
Sayed Ammar Nakshwani spoke about the Imam Ali Chair at Hartford Seminary and the work that had been done to date. This will have a significant impact on how Shia Islam is not only taught in educational establishments but also how it is discussed in the media and written about by academics.
The other prominent speaker was Brother Miqdaad Versi from the UK who spoke about media and external relations in the current situation and its importance, he stressed on the role Muslims must play and how unity plays a key role in such matters.
Sheikh Komail Rajani head of the WF Islamic Education presented a brief report on Madinah and Bab courses which take place every year in Qum, Iran which is attended by students from Africa and other countries; it had its highest turnout ever this year. Sheikh explained on the work done and the current status of the Shia Wills project which is jointly undertaken by the WF, Africa Federation and Council of European Jamaats. When ready, community members can make their wills in line with the Islamic Law.
Brother Naushad Mehrali, head of the Madressah Centre of Excellence (MCE) presented an update with regard to the new curriculum which is being created for Madrassahs. There is also greater focus on teacher’s training to ensure the people teaching the students are well equipped and knowledgeable to do so. 179 teachers were trained from 9 programs and currently, work and evaluation is being done on the modules. Several teachers’ skills programs (Mircro Teach Sessions) for Madrassahs in our Jamaats are being conducted by Seyed Ali Naqvi, under the WF MCE project.
Future endeavors include teaching guides for each lesson, incorporating apps and online tools and paperless initiatives for Madressah resources, as well as E-learning to cater to all students. Africa Federation plays an important role in the MCE program, several teachers training and assessment sessions have been carried out in our Madrassahs in several Jamaats.
Asst. Hon. Secretary, Sis. Anisa Kanji spoke about how to better the communications and marketing through use of various social networks such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat as well as articles and published work. This includes the launch of a new website and a new marketing strategy being developed.
Br. Reza Hooda, Honorary Treasurer, presented a concise summary of the WF’s income and expenditure account for the year to date. For future sustainability he advised that investments had been made of £1.5m from the foundation fund to generate income for funding the support costs of the organization and its various activities.
Africa Federation (AFED) delegation held two separate consultative meetings during the visit to Toronto; the first was on Friday, 9th October with North American Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities (NASIMCO) office bearers and second meeting with the office bearers of Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto (ISIJ) on Saturday, 10th October 2015.
In the meeting with NASIMCO, Br. Shabir Najafi explained on the AFED’s key strategic objectives and the long term planning to bring about self-sufficiency in the institution and its member Jamaats. The support AFED looks forward, mainly are in housing development, education and health sectors. Fruitful discussion ensued in respect of the new reporting requirements. NASIMCO has offered to send a team to Dar es Salaam to explore the way forward and to provide guidance to the AFED Secretariate staff on the new reporting requirements in respect of funding etc. that would be supported by NASIMCO, which is somewhat similar that applies to projects supported by the World Federation.
AFED pointed out on the need for housing in the surrounding area of Jaffari Community Centre at Bathurst especially for students who come to Canada for higher education, requiring accommodation in a congenial environment, nearer our vicinities.
During the meeting with the office bearers of Toronto Jamaat, AFED delegation requested the President, Br. Shabbir Jeraj and his team to look into ways of providing support and guidance to our students who come to Canada for higher education. One area of support is in respect of accommodation for the students. Toronto Jamaat has a dedicated team under Jafffari Education Board who can be of great help to our students in providing guidance and support for acclimatization etc. when the students arrive in Toronto.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to NASIMCO and Toronto Jamaat (ISIJ) for the warm welcome and wonderful reception extended to the AFED delegation during the visit to Toronto.
We thank the Mukhi, Br. Mehboob Siwjee, the Chair Lady, Mrs. Shabnees Siwjee and the volunteers of Toronto Jamaat for their kind hospitality and excellent services provided during the sessions and during the breaks at the Jaffari Community Centre.
Our thanks go also to Br. Iqbal Panju, the Admin Secretary of the World Federation and the secretariat team of the World Federation who were quick to respond to our requests and were very helpful throughout the 3 days in Toronto.
We pray to Allah (swt) to grant these wonderful people more tawfeeqat, blessings and inspiration to continue serving for the betterment of the community and humanity at large, in the manner which pleases Allah (swt), Ameen.