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Published in the 1-15 July 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

SPECIAL REPORT
Gulf NRIs launch Indian Muslim Initiative

Gulf NRIs launch Indian Muslim Initiative, Dr Noorwali (right) making a point

A general view of the meeting

Under the theme "Working Together for the Development of Muslim Community in India," a group of NRIs living in Saudi Arabia organized a brainstorming session in Jeddah during 16-18 June on the ways and means of improving their community's situation in India. 

About 25 participants from different cities of Saudi Arabia as well as some from India who were specially invited in appreciation of their good work for the community, deliberated during the three-day meet. The four key sectors identified during the workshop that needed special attention and hard work were educational development, economic upliftment, an effective presence in the media and improvement of the condition of Muslim women. 

From left to right: Dr Hasan Reza, Dr Rahmatullah, Mr Abu Bakr, Maulana Mujaddidi, Maulana Shabbir Salooji

From left to right: Dr Hasan Reza, Dr Rahmatullah, 
Mr Abu Bakr, Maulana Mujaddidi, Maulana Shabbir Salooji

Participants of the workshop mostly belonged to NGOs working in these fields. As the long term goals (2020) of the Initiative, they decided to work to bring the Indian Muslims above poverty level, increase the ratio of their literacy to 80 percent, strive to secure an effective presence in the media and restore to Muslim women their due rights. 

At the conclusion of the meet they agreed to meet again in New Delhi during the next three months inviting more persons from different parts of the country to devise a detailed strategy how to achieve their objectives through launching a new body to be called "Indian Muslim Initiative" (IMI). This will compose of people from different sects, organizations, fields and regions who agree with the objectives of the initiators and are prepared to join hands to achieve those objectives. The body is to be registered in India as an NGO.

From left to right: Drs Ataat, Durrani and Taha Mateen

From left to right: Drs Ataat, Durrani and Taha Mateen

The participants of the workshop took cognizance of the huge potential of NRIs and the PIOs who were serving in different countries and were keen to participate in any initiative that could lead to the betterment of their compatriots back home. It was further emphasized that the democratic and secular character of India together with a judiciary that was keen to oversee observance of the Constitution and laws in letter and spirit offered immense opportunities for all citizens to avail of resources, facilities and schemes offered by the country for the progress of those lagging behind. 

Among the participants were educationists like Maulana Fazlur Raheem Mujaddidi of Jamiatul Hidayah (Jaipur), Maulana Salman Husaini of Nadwatul Ulama, media persons like Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, editor of The Milli Gazette, and Maqbool Seraj, executive editor of Islamic Voice (Bangalore), community development activists like Dr Rahmatullah of All India Council for Muslim Economic Upliftment (AICMEU), Mr H Abdur Raqeeb of the Islamic Foundation Trust (Chennai), Dr Hasan Raza of Ranchi and Dr Taha Mateen of Bangalore. Prominent among local participants were M H Zulqarnain of the International Council for Islamic Information who acted as the moderator of the programme, Dr Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim of the University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Dr Ausaf Ahmad and Dr Mansoor Durrani of IDB, Dr Ataat Khan and Engr Saeeduddin.

Hospitality for the meet came from individual NRIs as well as forums like Gulf NRI Forum and Indian Friends Circle of Riyadh. Technical support for designing the workshop was offered by a local NGO, the Future Research Institute (FRI).

MH Zulqarnain, Jeddah

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