I am highly delighted to welcome all the leaders of The Congress across four levels to the 2018 National Leadership Workshop (NLW), which has been designed to EDUCATE, BUILD, MOTIVATE AND EMPOWER delegates as the arrowheads of TMC at the grassroot, while struggling to actualise the lofty vision, mission and objectives of our beloved organisation.  Equally embedded into the NLW are presentations of star prizes to the winners of 2017 Essay Competition, as well as Award of Excellence to deserving activists and Leaders of the Muslim communities in Nigeria – Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola, Alhaji Musbau Oyefeso and Honorable Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef, Commissioner for Home Affairs.

Why NLW? The founding fathers realised that Islamic principles are eternally constant and unchanging, but the techniques for the implementation of these principles for impactful outcomes, depend largely on space and time. We have also observed that the approach, perception, understanding, engagement and responses of leaders of TMC to emerging issues have always been conservative, sensational and reactionary. We feel this should not be, because Times are changing, so should the methodologiesNLW” therefore offers a platform for learning new methods, strategies, techniques and tactics for responding and pursuing set organisational objectives. If you do the something in the same way, you will always get the same result.

Dear participants, every leadership course has its learning outcomes. For the NLW, the Transferable Learning Skills (TLS) include enriched knowledge on Islamic work, effective communication for people management, critical thinking for problem-solving & decision-making interpersonal relations, consensus-building, stakeholder/community engagement, and crisis & Risk Management. It is expected that the acquired skills would enhance the capacities of the participants to effectively manage their followers, well-wishers and other critical stakeholders for productive agenda in the Muslim community.

The theme for this year’s NLW is “Sustaining Community Work: The Role of Values Orientation & Strategic Management”. To do justice to the theme, a number of topics have been framed to be handled by competent resource persons. I seek your maximum cooperation, to listen with rapt attention, to our invited lecturers; they are personalities with uncommon wealth of experience and knowledge. Al-‘Ilmu Nur, Knowledge is light!

In the year under review, TMC faced a number of needless distractions especially social media attacks from mischief-makers and Salafi groups. These attacks are fuelled by jealousy, hatred for our organisational ideals and sheer ignorance about collective work in Islam. We ignored most of these distractions except where it became necessary and expedient to reply. The most recent is Oganija’s relevance-seeking.  We simply allowed the law enforcement agencies to handle the issue within the ambit of the law. The monster in him was tamed!

Dear participants, it is instructive to note that TMC is out to disseminate Islam using permissible methodologies derived from Islamic Orthodoxy – Qurán and Sunnah. We hope through that, to gain the pleasure of Allah, not praises from men. Therefore, when you read or see attacks against TMC on social media, do not reply on our behalf. We have accredited spokesperson – Amir and Secretary General. Rather, engage yourselves profitably reading Qurán, books and memorizing Hadith instead of wasting your time and resources on social media war and polemics. Remember, there are laws against hate speeches!

Be informed that, the Salafi is a global concern in view of the negative effects it portends for Islam’s political, social and economic development. The extremist postures of Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, Ash-Shabab, Boko Haram and Islamic Movement of Nigeria have cause serious setbacks to Muslims across the globe. The innocent Muslims like you and me are paying the price for the foolishness of few overzealous elements. We are deliberately profiled as potential terrorists; we are stereotyped, harassed, stigmatized and denied basic rights and privileges enjoyed by other people.

Before I conclude this address, I wish to comment on national issues in the nation. It is disheartening to hear that, the public hearing on denial of Firdaus Amasa the right to use Hijab at the Law School graduation has been postponed for the second time by the House of Representatives Committee sequel to the restraining court injunction obtained by seven Christians (lawyers possibly) who have no direct business in the Hijab case. They are neither representing the Law School or the Body of Benchers (BoB). It is a rude shock, a slap on freedom of speech and an abuse of constitutionalism and rule of law. Most of these Islamophobic elements claim to be contemporary and widely travelled, yet they are unaware that US, UK, Canada and other advanced democracies have embedded diversity and inclusion in various spectrum of their national lives. Diversity and inclusion policy is a conscious recognition, acceptance and respect for human differences spanning race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, social class, disabilities, religious or ethical values system and political beliefs in workplace and public places. Alas! It is lawful to wear hijab in law schools in US, USA and Canada, but it is not lawful to do same in Nigeria where Muslims constitute over 60% of the population.

It is no news that some unpatriotic elements are desperate and determined to discredit President Muhammad Buhari, an incorruptible Muslim, to gain upper hand in 2019 using diabolical open letters, religious propaganda and media agenda-setting. They are consistently setting new agenda leveraging – Dapchi kidnapping, Killer herdsmen, Amendment of INEC’S 2019 Election Time-Table, Aggressive voters registration, Peace Corps Bill, Formation of Third Force and Coalition for Nigeria of OBJ. Shine your eyes, the CN is CAN’s agenda setting and politician think-tank platform under OBJ, a political juggernaut with PhD in Theology. To put these unpatriotic elements to shame, I wish to APPEAL to you all and other Muslims in Nigeria to get your permanent voters’ cards (PVCs), and prepare to vote for competent and God-fearing politicians at the opportune time in 2019. Be concerned about who govern you – don’t leave the political space for those inferior to you.

Once again, on behalf of the National Executive Council I welcome you all and wish you fruitful deliberation and knowledge-sharing on the path of Allah. Whenever we decide to leave, I beseech Allah grant us journey mercies back to our respective places of abode. Amin.

Intansurullah Yansurkum.

As Salam Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu

Imam (Dr.) Luqman AbdurRaheem, FAAE, FIFP, FCEnt, MNIM
Amir, The Muslim Congress

Download Papers Presented below:
The Community Worker: between his tasks and his survival -Saheed Aderogba Gbadebo
Download here

Community and Stakeholders’ Engagement: Processes and Requisite Skills -Abu Baraa
Download here

Download here

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