Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) organized its national convention in Bengaluru celebrating its 12years of eventful existence, with around 200 delegates in attendance from India as well as abroad. The theme of the Convention was AMP’s Mission, Engage, Educate, Employ and Empower.
The Chief Guest Mr. E. T. Mohammed Basheer – M.P. from Kerala & Organizing Gen Secretary, IUML, applauded AMP’s completion of its journey of 12 years said “I’m not only proud of AMP’s 100 chapters worldwide and its big list of Achievements rather what I am more proud of is their identity. That, they are a group of Muslims Professionals who are coexisting for the benefit of the Society and helping in Nation Building”.He also emphasized the strategic utilization of Muslims’ charity, Zakat, which is a divine tool for poverty alleviation. He discussed the idea of working in Northern India and assured for all his support.
Later Mr. Syed Naseer Ahmed, M.P. Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, graced the event. He got quite enthused with the activities carried out by AMP and promised his full support in spreading AMP across the 30 districts of Karnataka. He assured full co-operation and his availability required by AMP to spearhead its vision. He emphasized that Muslims need to get out of peripheries and help in reinventing our rich heritage to make the Muslim community culturally vibrant as well as relevant to the current Indian scenario.
Mr. Shabbir Ahmed Ansari, president of all India OBC who has been a pioneer of the OBC movement across India, especially in Maharashtra where he has been a crusader for the last 40 years. He’s been the driving force for changing the mindset of minorities to consider OBC as a constitutional right and as a class rather than caste. He also mentioned that any “Tahreeq (movement)” required lots of sacrifices and implored the AMP leaders present at the convention to not get dissuaded by difficulties in their path.
Padma Shri Prof. Jalees Khan Tareen gave an enriching insight from his vast experience tackling various challenges in the field of education and the current state of minority education in India. He presented facts and figures and the initiatives he has taken to overcome those challenges during his work. He emphasized the importance of pre-primary education in molding the child informative and its impact on later years. He pointed out an increase in dropout rates among minorities due to lack of connectivity with the external environment. His efforts in this area are commendable as it has created many achievers across various fields of professions.
Mr. Aamir Edresy, President-AMP, in his welcome speech said that this is a moment of celebration of the work AMP has achieved in its journey from being a non-entity to having a global footprint with presence in over 100 chapters pan India and 13 countries overseas. He also said that we need not be restricted within the circle of emotions but rather focus on our vision and be dedicated to our mission. He emphasized on having an inclusive approach propagating peace and striving for progress.
The Convention was organized at Indian Institute of Social Sciences in Bengaluru. The session was hosted by Mr. Syed Nashit, organizing sec. AMP.
The theme of session 2 was ‘School Education: Role in shaping the future – AMP Roadmap’ and this panel was led by Mohammed Aaqil (Group Head, ABB India Ltd), Mr. Md. Pervez Khan (Manager, Sir Syed Education, and Social Welfare Foundation), Mr. Syed Sultan Ahmed (MD, LXL Ideas) and Mr. Mushtaque Ahmed (Advisory Board. MFERD). While Mr. Aaqil set the stage by calling out that the need of the hour is to inspire the current education system to propel into Education 2.0, Mr. Parvez brought grass level community initiative to the discussion. Both in their own ways stressed on improving the foundation of education and called to adapt the current education based on community needs with an eye on the future.
Following this, Mr. Syed Sultan Ahmed, who has been an Advisor in various Education Boards on education policies in India and abroad, brought a different perspective to the discussion. He passionately challenged the current educational thought process and status quo. He said that education in current times needs to be relevant to the coming world order and should focus to include “life skills” along with technical skills. We need to move away from education being “getting a job for myself” attitude to it being a medium to “live a better life and to be useful to society”.
His speech was followed by Dr. Mushtaque Ahmed, who nicely tied all the aspects of the other speakers in the light of history. He mentioned that the Muslims should get out of the “victims of circumstances” mindset and look up to leaders like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and APJ Abdul Kalam, who have faced challenging circumstances but did not bow down. He ended the session by calling out people not to re-invent (were not needed) but utilize the existing work/platforms and collaborate among each other to be more impactful.
Post-lunch, the theme moved from foundational education to ‘Employment & Skill Training of Youth – Vital need to Progress’. This session was paneled by AK Mohammed Azad (Sr. Director, Mirafar Technologies), Mohammed Hussain (Co-founder, Collabu Technologies) and Mohammed Farouq Khan (Group Head-TCS, South India). The session was started by Mr. Azad who demonstrated with his day to day experiences on how skills are important in creating impact and why career guidance is crucial to channelize the youth in the right direction. He also emphasized that one should have single-minded focus and needs to go through the whole process of skill development with outcome-based
efforts and to have a full perspective of one’s career. Continuing on the same theme, Mr. Mohammed Farouq Khan said that leadership skills involve the ability to tell stories and experiences in a relatable manner. Mr. Hussain along with Mr. Azad mentioned the need to encourage incubators and start-ups that are passionate about building technology to assist society as a whole. This session was concluded by Mr. Aamir Edresy, who highlighted AMP’s work on skill development, employability programs and its focus on bridging the gap between “required skills” and “acquired skills”
The next session was on the mandatory charity contributions for Muslims titled ‘Prophet’s Vision of Social Equality – New models of Collective Zakat’. Mr. K. M. Riyazuddin, Retd. DGM-Finance, BPCL and Project Head, AMP Zakat Fund, hosted the event where he gave a brief introduction on the topic and its relevance for removing social inequity. Mr.H. Abdul Raqeeb, General Secretary – Indian Centre of Islamic Finance (ICIF), speaking about the awareness of Zakat, pointed that Muslims know much about the mandatory Salah (5 times prayers daily) & Saum (30 days fasting in a year), but according to a survey carried out by AMP, about 60% do not know about Zakat’s mandatoriness and its significance. He said that since there are so many tech-savvy professionals in AMP he discussed how they can work upon FinTech to revolutionize institutionalized Zakat Collection & Distribution. He gave the reference to ‘Bait-Ul-Mal’ used in earlier times for the institutionalizing distribution of Zakat during the time of the Sahabas, the companions of the Prophet (PBUH).
Arshad Mirza, Director – ECW Consultants Pvt Ltd, encouraged the participants to study the various models of Zakat Collection and Distribution as practiced in Islamic as well as non-Islamic countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. and see what can be utilized in the best manner. He too emphasized the focus on FinTech and with the availability of various technical as well as regular models, he urged the participants to come forward and use it as a pilot project to see how best it could be implemented.
There were 3 international speakers who joined in via video-conferencing, one from Malaysia – Dr. Ziyaad Mahomed – Dean & Professor, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance and two from the UK, Jilu Miah – Founder & CEO at MuslimGiving plus Mufti Faraz Adam – Managing Associate, National Zakat Foundation Worldwide. They presented their models of Zakat which are being followed in their respective countries and how we could learn from them.
One of the most important sessions of the day ‘Challenges to the Constitution – Role of Muslims’ was next. The session was hosted by Mr. Syed Najeeb-Ur-Rahman. The speaker for this session was noted writer and columnist Mr. Aakar Patel who has been an editor and worked with various publishing houses.
Mr. Patel offered a deep insight into the current scenario and what are the threats faced by the constitution due to the present regime. He applauded the stance taken by Muslims and admired the efforts especially of Muslim women who have been diligently, peacefully and rightfully protesting. He said that Muslims today are not asking for any favor or fighting for any reservations or such, rather their valid demand is to retain their rightful place as provided by the constitution. He urged that Muslims should fight relentlessly and never give up against any injustice meted out against them in a lawful, civilized manner always and using legal recourse. He further said that the present threat due to the NPR, NCR, and CAA is not just to the Muslims but equally serious for more than 80% Hindus who do not subscribe to the majoritarian brands of thoughts and principles. He appreciated the Professional Muslims of AMP, who have gathered together for the cause of Community Upliftment and National progress.
The next session titled ‘Afraad-Saazi – Moulding the leadership thought process’ was hosted by Mr. Syed Nashit and the Speaker was Dr.Taha Mateen- Chairman & MD, Accura & HBS Hospital.
Dr. Taha Mateen gave an impactful speech on creating and developing leadership within the organization. He said that in order to become a good leader one has to first develop a good character, understand one’s self first and understand the reason for one’s existence in this world. He elaborated in the light of teachings of Islam and gave examples since the times of Sahabas on how children were groomed for leadership from a young age. He emphasized that good parenting played a key role in instilling good qualities and building great character which leads to developing a good leader.
The end of the session was a video conference between the Leadership Team in the Conference and AMP Leaders across the world, which included Mr. Abdullah Thakur – CEO, Dhow Capital and a strategy advisor to big business houses in Gulf. The points discussed included boosting the growth of AMP and consolidating its position across the world including all developmental projects and activities to be undertaken keeping in mind the different countries’ local legislations and work environment.
The program is being organized over a period of 2 days, on Sat 22nd and Sun 23rd Feb. 2020, where the role of Professionals in Engagement, Education, Employment and Empowerment of the Community and the Society were brainstormed and discussed at length. The Second-day report will follow.