A marvellous end to the 3rd National Social Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
170+ Social Leaders from across the Country in attendance.
New Delhi: 1st - 3rd Mar’19
Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians (MOEMIN) along with Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) organised its 3rd National Social Leadership Summit-2019, at the Indian Islamic Cultural Centre in Delhi, from 1st – 3rd March, with more than 170 delegates in attendance from across the Country.
Justice Suhail Ejaz Siddiqui Sb., who inaugurated the Summit said “Today there is a great need for love and empathy. All of us from different communities and groups need to follow our ‘Dharma’ of Humanity or Insaaniyat more than ever before". He emphasised that in today’s troubled times, there is a need to repair the disrupted communication right from the National level to the Family level where Individuals need to communicate and accept or sort out differences amongst ourselves. We need to celebrate the Diversity in our Society rather than trying to paint it in one colour.
Janab Nana Patole Sb., special invitee and Chairman - Kisan Congress, who represented Bhandara & Gondiya constituency from Maharashtra in Parliament since 2014 and who resigned from BJP in protest due to its questionable policies, said “The Politics today are impacting the social fabric of the country, weakening the executive & the judiciary, with the near-total collapse of the Media fraternity. Democracy is not about one party but the focal point of it is the Nation. The dangerous political effect of widening communal difference will in the long run effect National Integrity which we cannot afford.”
Delivering the keynote address, Jb. Zafar Mahmood Sb., Chairman-Zakat Foundation of India, raised a few significant issues like the Representation of Muslims in the Indian Political sphere vis-à-vis the current position in the Parliament. He said “The faulty provisions of the Delimitation Act, section 9 (c) was effecting the Muslim representation in electoral constituencies and wards and its incumbent on the Government to right the wrong done to the Muslims.” Mr. Mahmood said they were also focussing on maintaining the minority status of educational institution like JMI & AMU, Citizenship Amendment Bill, the culture of Communal lynching, misappropriation of Wakf Properties etc.
The Summit had a great start with Jb. Navaid Hamid Sb., Founder – MOEMIN, who welcomed the guests and thanked the delegates who sacrificed their time and resources to attend the Summit from across the Country. He said “The organisation of the Summit this year has no relation to the Elections and the resultant politics, but continue to encourage an inter as well as intra Community dialogue to discuss on the critical topics of the Day in the Country.”
Jb. Aamir Edresy Sb., President – Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) and a co-organiser, said “Social Leaders form the backbone of the Country and the Community who can set the direction, the agenda and the priorities for the National narrative. AMP has been focussing on grooming young leaders and the participation of Indian Muslims in the Country’s Development with focus on Education and Economic Empowerment.”
The post lunch session on Day 1 dealt with the ‘Issue of citizenship in the wake of NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2018’. This session was moderated by Adv. Fuzail Ayyubi, Advocate, Supreme Court who emphasised on the longevity and the historical roots of the issue. He also focused on the complications of the documentation process and the lack of procedural justice faced by non-listed people of Assam under NRC. The 1st speaker Jb. Wasiq Nadeem, Member – United Against Hate highlighted the propaganda and common perspective built against the Assamese people. He spoke about 3 key points; first the history of migration in Assam, second, he contested the built-up myth of illegal migration vis-à-vis actual ground data and third he pointed out the agenda of changing the electoral population in Assam. Concluding the session, he called out for a public movement to promote awareness of ground reality. The closing remarks were given by Aziz Pasha, a Rajya Sabha member who highlighted the silent behaviour of the Indian public in the face of such humanitarian crisis. Moreover, he pointed out to the deduction and deviation of the budget for minorities to others. He aimed at Muslims empowerment and the need to put pressure on secular forces to provide resistance to the prevalent communal disharmony.
The National Social Leadership Awards were also awarded on Day1 to one Organisation and 4 individuals namely; Zakat Foundation of India, New Delhi, Dr. Abdul Qadeer, Chairman-Shaheen Group of Institutions, Karnataka, Dr. Khasrul Islam, Director-Ajmal Foundation, Assam, Mr. A. Syed Ibrahim, National Organiser, MSK - Masjidh Sevai Kuzhu, Tamil Nadu, Mr. Wasiq Nadeem, Member Activist, United Against Hate.
The Day 2 of the Summit covered topics like the Economic Development of Muslims, Achieving Excellence in our Institutions, State Excesses covering issues like Mass Incarceration, Extra Judicial Killings & Fake Terror Cases and finally the Agenda for 2019.
The opening session dealt with the creation of a roadmap for the Economic Development of Indian Muslims. The moderator Mr. Adnan Ansari, a Public Policy consultant said that the country’s political parties focused more on Identity, Social Issues, Security Concerns etc, but not on Economic issues. Mr. Sajjad Hassan, ex-IAS Officer and Chairman-Misaal Foundation said “Despite the low social indicators for Muslims, there is a lack of commitment and sometimes even discrimination in providing the Government initiated programmes and services to them so that they should come up to the level of the other Communities. What is needed is a non-discriminatory law for dealing with wrong prejudices and equal treatment of all citizens.”
Mr. Aziz Khatri, a Business Consultant and Entrepreneur spoke about the changing definition of ‘Job’, quoting the World Economic Forum data, which suggests that by 2022, 54% of all workers will require significant skilling and re-skilling, especially ‘Vulnerable Communities’. He said “Our mission should be to unlock the potential of the Community by ‘Equal Participation’, by organizing all stakeholders under a common economic agenda, which takes a comprehensive long term view of economic development for Indian Muslims”
Mr. Aamir Edresy, President-AMP, spoke about the high unemployability rates in Muslim youth and the lack of availability of any organised effort within the Community in dealing with the problem of ‘Economic Backwardness’ efficiently. He said “We need to set the ‘Economic Agenda’ for the Community and this can be achieved by building a consensus on the problem areas, identifying solutions and and implementing them through a joint collaboration of various stakeholders. We need to now focus on ‘Employment, Entrepreneurship and Skilling’ of our youth for achieving economic independence and joining the Indian mainstream.”
Moulana Abdul Azhar Qasmi, Convenor of Safa Baitulmaal, Hyderabad based organisation which works in the economic upliftment of underserved Muslims said “We at Safa Baitul-maal focus on ‘One Beneficiary-One Support’ concept, similar to the one implemented by the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in the city of Medina i.e. one Muslim family supporting at least one needy person. Another important aspect we emphasize on for Economic Independence is ‘Women’s Education’.”
The second session on Achieving Excellence in our Institutions – Building Sustainable Resources began with Mr. Ershad Ahmed, Campaign Expert of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He spoke of revitalizing Waqf Board for achieving sustainable development. Another speaker Mr. M. Abubakar Gazali, of United Welfare Organisation (UNWO) stressed on the effective utilization of Masjids for Religious, Educational, Health and Social services on a major scale in India by promoting the vision of Mohalla Administrative Services. Mr. Saransh Vaswani, Director-Saajha, spoke about Parental Engagement for positive development of School going students and he also focused on raising funds through the CSR window. The concluding speaker Mr. Mohammed Zabiullah highlighted the Statutory Compliance for NGOs with special mention of Section 12A for availing of the tax-benefits for the Organisation and Donors.
The session on State Excesses covering issues like Mass Incarceration, Extra Judicial Killings & Fake Terror Cases was moderated by Adv. Miss. Shahruk Alam, Advocate – Supreme Court. The first speaker Mr. Abdul Wahid Shaikh, Author and Fake Terror case victim, spoke about his own life experience of being a victim of police torture, violation of human rights & laws and the police hatred towards a particular community. Mr. Ravi Nair, Chairman - South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre, highlighted the undemocratic aspects of Indian Democracy with special mention of ‘Preventive Detention Act’. Ravi emphasised that there must be a mandatory compensation for the victims of such false arrests, removal of death penalty and the necessity of having a day to day trial in such cases where a person’s liberty is violated.
The last session of the day was to set Agenda for 2019. Mr. Manoj Kumar Jha, Member of Parliament – Rajya Sabha, spoke of the Challenges the Indian Democracy was facing today. He called for Solidarity among all Indians to raise the issue of the Common people and to go beyond party manifestos. Mr. Khalid Saifullah, the next speaker and COO of Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy, New Delhi, spoke on the issue of missing voters among Muslims and backword communities. The last speaker of the Day, Mr. Kanwar Danish, Secretary General of Janata Dal (S), spoke on the shared responsibility of the Indian Community for the current state of the Country. He proposed alliances between Secular forces to fight against the Communal powers to strengthen Indian Democracy.
The Day 3 of the Summit covered topics like the Destination for the Next Generation, Regaining Harmony, Fake News and Hate Politics: Should Media be made as Public Good? and the Valedictory Session.
The opening session Destination for the Next Generation, dealt with the goal setting for the next generation, which was moderated by Miss. Rukhsar Saleem, a Sr. Journalist, who spoke of focussing on young urban women and the need to guide and help the learning youth. Prof Rihan Khan Suri, TPO - Jamia Millia Islamia spoke about the necessity of youth to gear up for future against technological advancement and changing pace of time. He also highlighted on the 9th goal of sustainable development with special mention of innovative approach to incubation for entrepreneurship and employment. The next speaker of the session Mr. Ameen e Mudassar, CEO - Cigma Foundation, emphasised the need to sensitise today’s youth for Social responsibility and Community feeling and promoting Social Careers as an effective antidote to the issue of drugs, disillusionment and lack of guidance.
Prof. Ali Khan Mahmudabad, Spokesperson – Samajwadi Party said “We have to motivate the youth to ask questions, whether to their parents, teachers or the Government. Asking questions may not lead to answers immediately but it would set each one thinking about the issues at hand. The youth needs to avoid the trap of goals set by others and not fall in the rat-race for chasing materialism, leaving behind our Islamic values and spiritualism.”
Miss. Afreen Fatima, the young President of Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) Women’s College Students Union said “In the last few years, the Idea of Indian Muslims has been created as ‘The Others’ in the Country through a distorted narrative of History. There is a need to remove this objectionable idea by creating a counter-narrative by strengthening our Education and engaging in Dialogue.”
The second session was on the topic ‘Regaining Harmony’ which was moderated by Mr. Navaid Hamid, Founder – MOEMIN and President – All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat. Prof. Purshottam Aggarwal, Member – UPSC, pointed out the prevalent ‘Intellectual Terrorism’ and the undermining of intellect of people, which needs to be tackled effectively and strongly. He mentioned about the imposition of Religious Beliefs, justification of the same and not leaving those open to question. Underlining ‘Harmony’ as an intrinsic part of nature, he emphasised on accepting ‘Diversity’ as key for the same. Finally, he spoke about the importance of Humanities in education, equal Representation in society and empowerment, both at the Community and National Level.
The next session was an important one on Fake News and Hate Politics – Should Media be made a Public Good? This session was moderated by Miss. Arfa Khanum, senior anchor from The Wire, who spoke about the role media plays in propagating fake news and hate politics. She mentioned that a section of the media legitimizes fake news, blurring the line between the truth and lies. She spoke about how the current Government has centred their discourse on the gender-based issues to target Muslim men. The first speaker of the session Mr. Shesh Narain Singh emphasised on the dangerous impact of fake news on the society and on the responsibility of Public to develop the confidence to challenge the lies being propagated and to stand up for themselves.
Mr. Urmilesh Urmil, Former Editor of Rajya Sabha TV said “Fake news is not part of poor Journalism but a product of Society, its Politics, Culture and the Economy. It also reflects the lack of Diversity within the system which portrays the necessity to bring the voices of the subaltern to the mainstream platform.” Mr. John Dayal, next speaker, a Senior Journalist and a social activist also stressed on the dangerous process of creating ‘The Other’, which has created low representation of the backward classes and minorities in the media. He stressed that it was high time to challenge the popular narrative and break the hegemony of a biased section of the media.
Mr. Prashant Tandon, former Executive Editor of India TV said “Fake or Hate news is a tool for manufacturing ‘Consent’, dominating our human consciousness and opinion mobilisation. However, there is a rise of a new Middle Class post year 2000 AD, which is inclusive in nature and has triggered a countering narrative to the extremist and communal politics in the form of fake news and spreading hatred.” The last speaker of the session Mr. Zaheer Ali, Managing Editor – Siyasat Urdu Daily, said “The news media and members of the media community have been bought over to silent the voice of dissent and truth. There has been a hegemonisation of the Media by Corporates for whom the TRP ratings are more important than reporting the Truth in an unbiased manner.” He further said that it was important to identify the enemies within who are propelling hate and also to identify friends outside who are working to tackle fake news and present the Truth.
Finally, it was time to end the 3-day Summit and the Valedictory session was first addressed by Mr. Abdul Rahim, Trustee, The Sirri Saqti Foundation, Kolkata. He said “We need to look at the basic messages on peace and harmony in Islam and as propagated by the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) with other Communities. We should display ‘Sabr’ or Patience as mentioned by the Holy Quran as a way of striving for positive action without personal grudges coming in the way. We need to connect with people through ‘Khidmat’ or Social Work for Relationship Building, Health & Education services and for peaceful and harmonious co-existence.”
Mr. Noorullah Khan, Chairman – Great India Foundation emphasised on the need to be socially and politically responsible so as to be aware of our environment and act justly. He emphasised on the need for both, the worldly education as well as the religious education to understand the true message of Peace and Harmony in Islam. Finally, the session concluded with Mr. Akmal Sharif, Trustee, Islamic Relief Worldwide, who focused on the importance of Social Leadership, the need to create space for dialogue to impact larger audience and building of more social institutions. He also stressed on the re-orientation of resources in a productive manner and to improve the quality of governance.
The Summit ended with a vote of thanks proposed by Mr. Aamir Edresy, President – Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) to the participants and the speakers for sacrificing their time and efforts respectively and making the Summit a very productive one.