Controversial former Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) Secretary General Sheikh Dr Imran Shareef says any Muslim is free to form organization provided the grouping has no ulterior motives apart from assisting Muslims in different aspects of development in the country.
This follows a rebuff which he has suffered from Assalam Mualim in Mangochi when the Supreme Council of Ulama, an organisation which he leads wanted to present research papers on the impact of shiaism in Malawi.
The sheikhs described Shareef as an opportunist who formed his organisation out of frustrations after losing MAM’s elections in 2011 and that he could not be accommodated.
Sheikh Dr Imran Shareef wrote a letter to Sheikh Abdullah Muhammad Ballah of Assalam Complex requesting a venue for his function.
But before allowing him to use the facility, Ballah thought of consulting sheikhs within the Complex who said they were aware of the event but resolved shunning away from it saying they do not recognize Supreme Council of Ulama.
The sheikhs then later advised the Director not to allow him conduct the function in fear of bringing confusion among Muslims in the country. They argued Malawi has one legitimate council of Muslim Theologians called Ulama Council of Malawi.
However, Dr Shareef was shocked with the development and accused the sheikhs of violating his freedom of forming an organization.
Dr Shareef said he just exercised his right by forming Supreme Council of Ulama and that he had no any other purpose apart from complementing what other Islamic organisations are doing in the country.
The former MAM Secretary General also added that he is failing to understand some people who still think that Muslims should be represented by one organization such as Muslim Association of Malawi.
“I am not saying that I do not recognize Muslim Association of Malawi or any other Islamic institution, but my argument which many people seem don’t to understand is that it is high time Muslims formed different Islamic bodies involved in different things for the benefit of our Umma.”
“We will be making a very big mistake by thinking that all of us should be represented by one organisation. Muslims should realize that in so doing their representation will be limited elsewhere. But when we have more Islamic organizations with similar objectives our representation will also grow,” he said.
Dr Shareef has since called for dialogue with the sheikhs in order to discuss with them about his organization’s objectives.
But reports indicate that the sheikhs have meanwhile rejected to have a dialogue on the issue.
“I received a call from them that their position remains the same that they do not recognize my organization hence the refusal to have our organization not conduct a function at the complex.
“May be some of them are acting ignorantly. My suggestion was that we should meet so that we should sort these differences, but they also refused. I was told that no one is even interested to meet and discuss with me on this matter in particular and with any matter originating from me,” lamented Dr Shareef who is also a lecturer at Chancellor College a constituent college of the University of Malawi.