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Memo to Canadian Muslim Leaders

From: Muneeb Nasir

Date: March 2, 2011

Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh.

I hope this memo finds you all in good health and enjoying the Mercy, the Protection and the Grace of Allah. May Allah reward you for your continuing efforts in the service of the Muslim community.

I am writing this short memo to bring your attention to a serious matter that will affect the future of the Muslim presence in Canada and I would humbly invite you to consider this as a priority task for your organization.

For the last three decades, with your leadership, we have been able to organize ourselves and establish many mosques to serve the spiritual and social needs of our community and have, to a great extent, been able to provide religious education to our children through part-time and full-time schools.

However, we are at a point when we need to look to the future of Islam in this country and I fear we have not planned well in this regard.

Most of our organizations and mosques continue to be led by first generation immigrant Muslim men although our community is blessed with many second and third generation women and men who are capable of leading our community into the future and well suited to assume leadership roles.

The Muslim community in Canada is at an important juncture in its development and I would encourage your organization to look at instituting a process of succession planning.

Succession planning is more than passing the reigns of leadership on to today’s generation who will lead the community forward.

It is an ongoing and dynamic process that will help your organization to align its goals and its human capital needs.

It also will also ensure that your organization will keep pace with changes in our community and today’s society.

Our situation is of such seriousness that if we do not engage in this process now many of our institutions and mosques that were established through great efforts in the last 30 years will cease to exist in the very near future.

About The Author

  • Jabal_ul_tariq

    My advice to 2nd and 3rd gen : Be actively involved in the community organization and the baton will find you insha allah. Come up with ideas and start implementing them.

  • There are alot of enthusiastic community members in the second and third generation – but those organizations that began in the seventies and eighties continue to maintain the leadership that started them and its very hard to take over. The key is to start a new organization that speaks to our generation because getting the seniors to retire is impossible and they do need one another and have made a great contribution and continue to do so. Also if our values are slightly different maybe the old organizations don’t represent us. It is not easy but it is possible. Anything is possible. Salaamualaikum. Shahla Khan Salter, MPV Canada.

  • Excellent remark, but lacks practicality and reality. For example we have a youth position in Saskatoon. It is usually hard to make it as active as the “seniors” hope. Most Muslim organizations focus on establishment of faith and therefore leaders are chosen on this very basic requirement. We do not have the number to establish organizations to serve other goals, as the primary responsibility. Our youth prefer to participate in other organizations rather than presenting these new domains into the current Muslim organization. The real problem is the youth absence which gives a chance for hard core ideologists to maintain their leadership. My message to the youth is come and vote these people out rather than complaining and expect the glad tidings. Please remember that the old fox” first generation” works for you at their best, which may be outdated. Otherwise you would have never found Muslim schools all over the country.

  • Amin Elshorbagy

    My comment is regarding what Dr. Ahmed Shoker said. I agree with him, but I have a different feeling when it comes to doing things for the youth. As a father, I feel that we established Muslim schools for ourselves, not for our children. Many of us were, and still are, scared that we will not be able to raise our kids in public schools, and we wanted a short cut….somebody else to raise our kids for us. So, we chose to pay for the Islamic school to save ourselves as parents, but the question is, did we really save our kids?
    so, was it a move for our kids or ourselves?

  • Excellent memo. Hopefully it won’t fall on deaf ears.