Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) says it has registered several achievements over a period of a year in which a committee led by Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad was ushered into power.
Secretary General of the association Sheikh Doctor Salmin Omar Idrus made the remarks in an interview with the Malawi Muslims website.
He cited the creation of the MAM’s strategic plan and the review of the constitutions as some of the achievements.
“Since this association was established several decades ago, there has never been such an important document aimed at guiding it in terms of its operations.
“Therefore, after our committee was given a mandate to lead the Muslims in the country, we thought that it was of paramount importance to have a plan that will make us to be effective hence not losing track,’’ he said.
The secretary general added that previously MAM had faced numerous challenges because it lacked the plan that could have made it remain focused on its operations and that “this document will assist us to see which areas we should prioritise in uplifting the welfare of Muslims in the country.”
MAM also has reviewed its constitution that now gives power to the trustees to call and oversee its election.
The Muslim mother body according to its secretary general has taken this stance in order to avoid what occurred prior to last year’s election when the then leaders were reluctant to call for the polls even their mandate of staying in office was over.
‘’So we want our board to have that responsibility of calling for election when time of those staying in power has collapsed in order to avoid unnecessary squabbles,” explained Dr Salmin.
“The new review also has allowed us to put in place measures on how to deal with elections. We all witnessed how the campaign was been conducted for MAM polls reaching the extent of insulting each other. So we do not need to see that occurring in the future elections since ours we are a religious organisation and that we should not tolerate acts which are also against Islam.”
Sheikh Salmin also said that MAM has managed to liaise with Turkish government for the provision of Scholarships to Muslim students.
“Previously we have been sending six students to Turkey annually through Islamic Development Bank IDB scholarship. And those students are very few in regard to the Muslim population in the country, and our chairman during his visit to Turkey asked the authorities to offer us scholarships for Muslim students of which they responded positively.”
Asked on what the association was doing to make sure that the country has an Islamic University, Sheikh Salmin said that MAM in collaboration with other interested parties are working tirelessly on this issue.
“We have already identified land for the construction of the education facility and as of now we have already discussed with potential donors on how we will carry out the project.”
On part of Islamic studies, he said that during the past period MAM together with Al Barakah Charity Trust (ACT) and other stakeholders have managed to develop a syllabus to be followed by all Islamic learning centres across the country.
Apart from improving the studies, this development will eradicate the challenges, which Muslim children used to face when they moved from one Madrassa to another since most organisations that have Islamic learning schools used to follow different syllabus.
However, Sheikh Idrus said though they have made a better progress in a short period, the association has faced numerous challenges.
“The failure of hosting the annual event was really a big blow to us,” he lamented.
“We failed to conduct it because traditional donors of this event refused to honour their pledge because there were rumours that the state president gave us 6 million kwacha for the function. But that was not true.
“Some disgruntled people just fabricated so that Muslims should regard us as failures. Had it been that it was true that we received the money, then we could have been taken to task on how we have used the money,’’ he added.
He also elaborated that the other challenge was the blocking of 20 million kwacha funding from the World Muslim League by a certain Muslim Individual, which MAM intended to use towards assisting people in areas that have been hit by floods and drought such as Nsanje and Mangochi districts.
Last month Malawi Muslims website revealed on how Sheikh Dr Imran Shareef who is served as MAM’s secretary general blocked the funding.
During his tenure in office, Dr Shareef used to receive the funding from MWL through his personal bank account. He said it was so because the projects were personal and not for MAM.
But surprisingly MWL head of the southern Africa Division instructed MAM to liaise with Dr Shareef in order to get the money, a thing which did not go well with MAM.
Eventually, MAM lost the funding since the association refused to liaise with Dr Shareef saying they could not do so because the Chancellor College lecturer was no longer working for the Muslims’ mother body.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Salmin said there is a need for Muslims to be united for the Muslim community to register positive developments.
“Let us refrain from the spirit of retaliation, arrogance and jealousy. Let us stop using media sources as a way of expressing our anger because sometimes the stories give an opportunity to non-Muslims to tarnish the image of the true religion of God,” appealed the secretary general.
Reporting by Ali Blessings Idi, Chief Reporter