Symposium on Socio-economic Empowerment of Muslims in Plural India
The symposium on “Socioeconomic Empowerment of Muslims in Plural India” held at Saharanpur on 26th November proved to be a historical event as for the first time it succeeded in putting forward a roadmap for the progress of Muslims in India, with emphasis on socioeconomic empowerment.
Initiating the debate at the symposium on Socioeconomic Empowerment of Muslims in Plural India, Dr Javed Jamil, the mastermind behind the event, said that in the past, Muslims had been working more on the theological or political agenda of Islam and were neglecting the socio-economic agenda. Mr. K Rahman Khan, Deputy Speaker of Rajya Sabha, in his video speech, said that he has been taking great interest in Dr Javed Jamil’s project of Socio-economic Empowerment of Muslims, especially his vision of greater involvement of Muslims in Corporate Sector and is ready to help the cause in a big way. He said that Muslims must concentrate on education and business if they have to become a truly powerful community in plural India. He stressed the need of proper use of Waqf, Islamic Banking and higher educational institutions in the country. Maulana Salim Qasmi, Head of Darul Uloom Deoband (Waqf) expressed his happiness that the focus is now shifting away from emotional issues to the all-important issue of Economic Empowerment.
Maulana Abdullah Mughaisi Ajrarvi described the event as a historical one and said that there is absolutely no need for Muslims to harbour an inferiority complex any more. In his video speech, Justice Rajendra Sachar, the head of the famous Sachar Committee Report on the condition of Muslims, said that Islam is a religion where unity of Mankind implies equality of all and equality of men and women. He stressed that Muslims must come out of besieged mentality and must achieve excellence in higher education. He said that education of women needs to be stressed more; as Islam promotes education of both. Mr Naved Mumtaz, DCP New Delhi said that more than discrimination, it is the attitude of Muslims themselves which is responsible for their plight. He stressed that the monitoring is something that needs to be taken very seriously and a strong mechanism has to be evolved so that monitoring can be done at the central, state as well as district levels. He stressed the need of Career Counselling particularly in smaller towns and Qasbahs.
The other notable speakers included Maulana Marghoob Hasan of Punjab who said that economics holds special position in Islamic system, and Prophet Muhammad gave much higher importance to business than employment. Maulana Mushtaq of Lucknow stressed the need of proper development of Zakah institutions. Statements and papers from Mr Shamim Siddiqui of America and papers of Mr Malik Muhammad Wasim of UAE and Mr Ariz Muhammad of Hyderabad were also presented in the seminar. Others who spoke at the seminar included Mrs Arfa Khanam, TV Journalist and columnist, Thakur Amar Singh, MP, Mr Nafisul Hasan of Dehradun, Mr Azim Sherwani of Jaipur, Dr Shakil Samadani of Aligarh Muslim University and Mr Siraj Qureshi.
1. We affirm our full faith in India’s Secular and Plural traditions based on respect of religion as a whole and respect of all religions and cultures. We praise the attitudes of intolerance and mutual respect which is demonstrated by the majority of the citizens of the country belonging to all communities. However, we express our concern on the role of certain elements that are bent on creating and maintaining divisions in the country on the ground of religious and cultural attitudes. We strongly condemn Communalism, Extremism and all forms of terrorism, including the home-grown terrorism unleashed by certain forces of Hindu Extremism, state sponsored terrorism unleashed by the US-Israel lobbies and the terrorism by certain forces in the name of Islam.
2. We express our deep anguish at the contents of the Verdict on Ayodhya case pronounced by Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court, which appears to give supremacy to fiction over facts and sentiments over substance. We hope the Supreme Court of India will reverse the judgment in a way that justice prevails over every other consideration.
3. We feel concerned that the fruits of the development of the country have not been uniformly distributed among the masses of the country causing huge disparity and growing sense of frustration among the poor and the downtrodden. There is a need to change the direction of the economic development so that the poor and deprived sections of society are able to improve their socioeconomic conditions.
4. We feel concerned that the forces of economics have strengthened their grip on all the institutions of the country leading to fast erosion of religious, cultural and moral values, rise of crimes, commercialization of sex including nudity, prostitution, pornography, and the latest menace of homosexuality, gambling and betting, alcohol and drugs, large scale exploitation of the people through increasing monopoly on the resources of the country including financial, educational, political and social institutions. This is high time the nation rose to reverse this trend and restored the religious, social, moral and cultural integrity of the nation. We demand that a chapter of Fundamental Prohibitions should be introduced in the Constitution in addition to the already existing Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties.
5. We feel concerned that despite repeated promises made by almost all the political parties, nothing substantial has been done by successive Indian governments to significantly raise the socioeconomic status of Muslims. Sachar Committee and Ranganathan Commission reports have not only highlighted the backwardness in the community but have also suggested the remedial measures. We call on the government to fully implement the recommendations both reports without any further delay.
6. We know that apart from the discrimination and lack of Government support, our own efforts have not been good enough to achieve progress on different fronts. Our leaders – political, religious as well as intellectuals – have failed to demonstrate any enthusiasm, any sense of urgency and planning in showing the masses the path of progress. We urge upon the Muslim Leadership to rise above their personal interests and commit themselves not only to the empowerment of Muslims in all fields but also to the promotion of peace and prosperity of the nation and the world.
7. We resolve that from now onwards we will make every possible effort to make Muslims a vibrant and powerful community so that it can play a meaningful role in national and international affairs.
8. The progress of the community depends both on the general policies of the government towards its people and specific policies towards Muslims. We resolve that we will not only monitor Muslim-specific policies but will also monitor the general policies of the government and will play an effective role in determining the direction of all government policies.
Related to Religious Education
1. Modernisation of Madrasa System not only through introduction of the languages of communication like English and Computers but also introduction of the subjects of Applied Islamic Studies including Law, Politics, Economics, Natural and medical sciences; particularly the analysis of the world developments, policies and programmes in the light of Islamic principles;
2. The Government must consider the possibility of passing Religious Institutions Act that must ensure governmental financial aid without any governmental intervention. The Act must create a self-regulatory mechanism through which there can be a continuous monitoring of the institutions. Muslim Personal Law Board should be taken into confidence regarding all the aspects of the Act.
3. The hurdles and unnecessary encumbrances in the functioning of already government-aided Islamic institutions must be removed.
4. The Madrasas should arrange regular lectures for its teachers and students by the Islamic experts in different fields particularly those who can analyze the world developments in the light of Islamic principles enshrined in Qur’an and Sunnah.
5. The modern institutions should arrange lectures by Ulama so that the teachers and students can enhance their Islamic learning and develop deep sense of devotion, morality and Taqwah.
6. The Ulama should play a more proactive role in fighting against the forbidden practices at the national and international level and in guiding the Muslims to successes both in this world and the Next World.
Related to Modern Education
1. Endeavours on the war footing to improve the educational status of Muslims especially from Higher Secondary onwards with an aim to minimize the drop-outs and to make them able to choose professional careers
2. Emphasis on Rural areas: establishment of Higher Secondary Schools and Special Training and Coaching Centres; introduction of primary education in madrasas situated in villages and introduction of religious education in schools
3. Establishment of Higher institutions – both private and government-aided, especially for professional courses.
4. Emphasis on the education of girls: establishment of girls-only English Medium schools, with preliminary Islamic Knowledge as a subject, in all the cities of the country with considerable Muslim population
5. Formation of a Board of Muslim Education to look after the establishment of institutions, to monitor the educational standard of the schools and colleges and to introduce religious and moral education in accordance with Islamic principles;
1. To promote job oriented programmes including monitoring of jobs in government and private sector. This monitoring should be done at all levels – Central, State and District.
2. Campaign for greater Muslim participation in military, administrative and police services not only at the level of Civil Services but also at the lower levels,
3. Programme for the development of a strong health-infrastructure in the community based on business-cum-charity basis,
4. Development of community centres in all cities along with libraries,
5. Campaign against all forms of addiction, nudity, sexual perversions and gambling;
6. Campaign for Empowerment of Women within Islamic framework,
7. Personality Development programmes,
8. Islamic Counselling Centres should be established in the main madrasas and other Islamic institutions and colleges to help Muslims particularly younger generation with their career, personal, family and other problems in Islamic way,
9. Campaign for spread of the network of Muslim NGOs; their mutual cooperation; and helping them in getting projects sponsored by government and other funding agencies,
10. Development of a strong Muslim controlled Media including News Channels and magazines; and the use of Internet to achieve the desired objectives.
1. Nationwide campaign for promoting entrepreneurship in the Muslim community,
2. Nationwide campaign for the establishment of corporate level industries, headed by Muslims especially in the food, cloth, hotel, tourism, communication, and health sectors; and for increased participation of Muslims in the national and international corporate sector,
3. Promotion and safeguarding of already existing Small Scale Industries,
4. Monitoring of the national economic policies and the annual national budget: Pre Budget Survey, holding of discussions with Finance Minister before and after Budget, and Post-Budget Analysis,
5. Promotion of Islamic Banking and other Financial institutions based on Islamic principles,
6. Monitoring of Muslim participation in Government-aided economic programmes,
7. Establishment of Muslim Chamber of Commerce,
8. Campaign for closer economic cooperation between India and Muslim countries.
1. Formation of a Body for monitoring of the agenda, manifestoes and programmes of different political parties from the national as well as Muslim perspective,
2. Issue based analysis of political developments,
3. Analysis of how Muslims can play a more effective role in politics,
4. Regular interaction programmes with the heads of all political parties and Muslim MPs and MLAs.