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Posted Online on Tuesday, 20 June 2006 17:50 IST

Muslim Islamic NewsGuidelines for Islamic organisations

By Mike Ghouse (World Muslim Congress, Dallas, Texas, USA) 

The Milli Gazette Online

19 June 2006

Much of the maligning of Islam we see and read in the news papers stems from the speeches and the management of our Mosques, and it also fuels the talk show hosts. The best way to fix the problem is straighten out ourselves first.

The first battle field of change is our institutions. We need to plan long term and short strategies/ solutions to our issues if we have not already done it.

In the interest of our community's long term peaceful un-fearful co-existence, we may have to take up this topic and discuss it within our organizations. A national policy would be of greater value. Most of us are familiar with our problems, and as such I have not explained the background for each item, you can complete the list with your own situation. Here are a few solutions to consider. 

SPEAKERS/  SPEECHES/  MEETINGS

  • We must keep a record of what we say in public forums.
  • We must keep records of speeches or scripts to go on the website.
  • We must invite all the major media outlets, even if it is a vain exercise.
  • We must cultivate the habit of having the same speech in public and private domains.
  • We must have a formal system to appraise the values of our organization to <guest/ Imam speaker>
  • We must follow the Islamic tradition of good record keeping - every thing our prophet has said is recorded.
  • We must ask the new Imam speaker to present the scripted outline of the Khutba prior to speech
  • We must ask all our speakers to provide an outline to keep it as a record and perhaps put it on the website.
  • We must trust our speakers, but having a record of the speech is greater trust we owe it to the Ummah.
  • We must advise our speakers to open up the eyes and understand that they are not speaking to a monolithic group.
  • We must advise our speakers to cut down any kind of incitement, microphone will be turned off for violations.
  • We must let them know their boundaries - let it be in a manual, and every speaker has to follow the guidelines.
  • We must advise our speakers to be Women-sensitive and guest-sensitive (as non-Muslim guests attend Juma)
  • We must acknowledge that no one is above the long-term goodwill of our community.

ACCOUNTABILITY & ADMINISTRATION

  • A major overhaul needs to be considered in Administration of Mosques and Islamic Centers.
  • Who do we want to run our Mosques?
  • If we do not have a manual specifying it, it is time we develop it.
  • A Manual will keep the politics, favoritism, nepotism at a lower level.
  • Qualifications must be verified by a paid third party CPA for serious accountability.
  • All the financial transactions must be audited by a CPA.
  • Women and Youth must be represented on the board.
  • Board Voting must be confidential and un-identified to keep the freedom alive.
  • No one should run the Mosque like the Patriarch of the family does - i.e., no unilateral decisions.
  • The Board members must have the experience in management of professional, civic or community based organization, preference must be given to those who have served in non-Muslim organizations. We live in a real World, let's our actions be based on real world interactions.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

  • We need to hire a public relations firm on a part time or full time.
  • We need to verify all literature that is put out there.
  • We need to remove the Hilali Translation of Quran from our Mosques.
  • We need to learn to explain our Deen in more understandable terms, not the old English.
  • We need to make our mosques visitors friendly

(The above "guidelines" are laid down in view of the situation prevailing in the US today, but they have relevance to Muslim minorities in general - editor, MG)

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