Transformative Thought Leadership
The burning issues of Persecution, our marginalization as a Community, and a muted voice in world affairs are all symptoms of an underlying cause – the paucity of Thought Leadership (TTL). This is arguably one of the most critical challenges faced by the global Muslim Community today. Unless there is a concerted effort to create an enabling platform that can nurture Thought Leadership, the Global Muslim Community will continue to meander from cause to cause, initiative to initiative, and even worse, crisis to crisis making it more and more irrelevant in shaping world affairs. We need to candidly accept that there is a vacuity in our vision and that we have been unable to articulate a strategy for an effective way forward. This has led to cognitive dissonance and has largely dissipated the good efforts of many well-meaning individuals and organizations.
Religious, civic and political community leaders across the globe seem to have fallen short of being able to articulate a clear strategy that can help the Community be an engaged Community as an active participant in global society. In the wake of 9/11, this past decade our discourse has been limited to a negative narrative of what we are not – NOT violent, NOT terrorist, NOT extremists …. and the list goes on.
Is it not about time, that we move on from those defensive positions to a positive narrative of Islam and in particular the school of Ahul Bait (AS) can be an exemplary civilizing force for humanity? The Quran is very clear on our responsibility:
We have created you a nation most-balanced (Ummatan Wasatan) that you may be examples for mankind. (Q 2:143)
The hour of action has arrived that we talk about what Islam is, as opposed to only what Muslims are not. Time is opportune for us to take a lead on illustrating the unique and authentic contributions Islam can offer to the global institutional table, amplifying the significant contributions Muslims can make in Academia and Civil Society. As a Community, we must articulate strategies that can help forge a path towards an engaged Community as a participant in global society.
We believe that the need of time is to develop effective channels for Thought Leadership and the vision for this endeavor is not just about change, but transformation.
Transformation is much more than just change. With transformation— like the caterpillar becoming the butterfly – it is unrecognizable, and that it will never be the same because of that metamorphosis. Transformation is never easy. In order to survive, the eagle has to go through the transformation process, which is very painful, such as: plucking its talon and waiting for the new to grow, and knocking its beak upon rocks. After this painful process, it can fly again and hunt with the same dynamics. That is the quality of those who want to keep soaring above the mundane and mediocre
Create Intellectual Space
Recognize that to create an intellectual space for new energy to emerge to encourage the voices of emergent generations of Muslims who hitherto has been conspicuously absent in our national and international leadership cadres
Engage Upcoming Generation
Recognize that we actively seek out and engage a generation of Muslims who have come of age in an environment where they are fully acquainted with modernity, free speech, pluralism and human rights
Our Tryst With Destiny
We will need to meet the challenges of the day, not with an unquestioning observance to convention nor with the fascination of the novel – but with a spirit of revitalizing pristine Islamic values and traditions. We must seek to actualize this initiative through concepts that derive their nourishment from the spirit of Islam which are at the same time fitting to the needs of the time. That must be our tryst with destiny in this era.