In the Name of Allah, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful
Dear respected community members,
InshaAllah the blessings of Rajab and Sha’ban have been realised and maximised. No matter what little we did in this month, it is worth remembering as Imam Ali (a) says in hisMunajaat of Sha’baaniyyah, “O my God, if my deed is too little when compared to [what is] the true obedience to You, then my hope for You is too great when compared to my prospect from You. O my God, how can it be that I return from You with disappointment and deprivation while I expect, depending upon Your magnanimity, that You will endow me with safety and mercy?”
This past month I had the tawfeeq to represent Hujjat Stanmore at multiple events outside of the centre, three of which I would like to update you on:
On the 6th of March Sean Harriss, the new Chief Executive of Harrow Council, held a meeting to introduce himself to a group including school headteachers, business and faith leaders. Sean conveyed his background and previous roles as Chief Executive in other local councils and then explained the immediate challenges and vision he wanted to offer. Many pertinent points were raised including but not limited to the following:
A key aspiration is to build new houses. (with planning of joined up services such as GP surgery, or youth and adult social care
A regeneration programme which includes the move to a purpose built civic centre in Wealdstone with the going out to market for the redevelopment of the existing site
A longer term economic programme which tries to reverse the predominantly uni-directional business links which sees Harrow as primarily a residential location with flows of traffic toward the city, but attracting business to Harrow; and an emphasis on local businesses winning tenders keeping contracts as local as possible iv) Policing austerity has seen the budget cut from £75m to £25m from central government and so local taxes have increased to but still not met the shortfall. This means the community is paying more for a decreased service.
Sean spoke well of the community faith leaders and encouraged people to come forward with their ideas and queries with his office offering to help where it can.
On the 26th of March, Harrow Interfaith (HIF) held their AGM. After a minutes silence for the Christchurch victims and an introduction from Sean Harriss, floor was opened for discussions on where Interfaith groups challenges and responsibilities lay. Ummul Banin Merali emphasised the necessity of bringing youth into the forum.
Nominations for a new Executive had been made and the meeting included the election of new Officers and an Executive Team. Having been nominated, I spoke on the statistical trend of Britons identifying themselves as ‘less religious’ and ‘less faithful’ in the each generation and the need to reverse that trend and if elected to the Executive team, my focus would be on thinking about those trends in terms of youth advocacy for faith and driving a better social media presence of the HIF. I was honoured to be elected to join the Executive team, alongside Ummul Banin Merali, who has been at the forefront of the interfaith scene for many years representing Hujjat.
On the 3rd of April, Muslim Aid hosted a Parliamentary Reception honouring the Christchurch victims. The purpose of this was to bring together leading politicians and representatives of the Muslim community to voice their concerns about and propose solutions to the rising levels of Islamophobia.
Speeches included Dominic Grieve MP, Iftikhar Awan, Chair of the Board of the Trustees of Muslim Aid, who spoke movingly about incidents of terrorism that have hit his family; Jehangir Malik, CEO of Muslim Aid who called on the government to accept the definition of Islamophobia as a form of racism and hate crime, and Jerry Mataparae, High Commissioner for New Zealand who listed five laws that have been immediately changed to prevent any repeat of such a massacre.
Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn took time between his four hour meeting with PM Theresa May and the day’s Indicative Votes on Brexit to address the crowd emphasising the need to never cower to any form of racism and also spoke about his desire for a nation which combatted hate and terror.
All thanks to Allah (swt) and InshaAllah I look foward to representing Hujjat Stanmore at future events.
Shaykh Jaffer Ladak