Seven days till the MCB AGM: bovered?

As the Annual General Meeting of the Muslim Council of Britain (largest umbrella group of Muslim organisations in the UK) approaches next week, it is worth cultivating conversations so that we are better informed on the day. For there will be no campaign trail, nor will their be manifestos, nor corporate patronage. There will be the conversations that we have had, that might, or might not cascade into said proceedings.

Firstly, I think we need to finesse our way of looking at the Ummah and the MCB, and their ecology. Seeing things for what they are, rather than what they say on the tin can save a lot of hassle. The Ummah is a constellation of people, families, situations, relationships and ideas that operate with varying degrees of harmony. The MCB is structured more like a tree diagram, which sees itself governing, representing and being governed. The  technocratic tree diagram logic forces bureaucratic ways of being Muslim, which are hard to keep going with a straight face as nowadays, with terrorism capital and money to play for, there is a growing inducement for Muslim organisations to work that way, but better.

Its also important to respect and recognised why a lot of people do not officially affiliate to the MCB and probably never will, because of historical stuff.

Secondly, there is the problem of orientation. Which way to face? Towards white power or towards the communities? Amazingly, there are  many who hold a candle for government, even after all they have done to destroy the MCB and subvert our political wills and insert their own agendas onto our organisations. When you feel that you have a lot at stake to protect from govt violence/law, one tends to contract developmentia and (con)descend to bleadership and misleadership.

Thirdly, responsiveness and agility.  The rules of the MCB AGM are tuned to inhibit takeover from strange organisations who like to set up loads of fronts and over-influence priority setting.  These rules annoy folks from outside and inside the Mussalmass.

Case in point, two years ago at the last election, the normally sympathetic Madeline Bunting decided to write in the London Guardian how the result of the election was pre-decided, which wasn't very nice. However, her declared winner seemed to match the decision that was collectively taken over the course of the day by the risk-averse central working committee elected by the hundreds of affiliates on that day. The Tory Muslim contender (the only opposition) didn't even make it into the Central Working Committee. (probably because nobody knew/trusted him, these things take time, but i think it was because he was a tory and sounded scary)

The MCB is not a cultish love-in, its got a bit of everyone in there and its a site for cultivating an episteamology, meaning a cooperative culture of knowing. Its not like being in a well greased coherent movement with  leadership, discipline texts and tightness nor in a random group of people praying in all different direction, with no structure, brotherhood and meaning, not amorphous or crystalline, more poly crystalline.

Its like being in perpetual Coalition, which can drive you nuts. From Ismaili to Sunni, Welsh Pakistani to London Bangladeshi, African to Anglo. And some Arabs. The interesting people do interesting things, medics do the healthy thing, the press releasers do their pressing thing (bless), the leader makers to the leader maker thing, the finance people to the bismillah thing, the lovers of mosque histories do mosque histories, and the Islamic workers work in the space that's created for them for little but the sake of His Pleasure. The trick to not going mad it to realise the diverse capabilities, tastes and motivations for constituent elements of the ummahtic ecology who are in the MCB space. And its getting less London centric now too.

Clear as mud?

Let us see: growing recognition of the ecology of the Muslims here, a community-facing orientation and an agility trained into the MCB.

In terms of content:
  • Access to quality Islamic instruction for all
  • Legal and political backup for endangered (Talha, Babar et al)
  • Reform of 'halal' industries
  • Tawhesion
  • Deimperialisation
  • Deconsumerisation
In terms of leadership, I think leadership is (l)earnt from doing awesome things, translating high ideals into social goods, daring to face down and defeat an adversary, and crucially being able to take the lead as well as be compelled by firefighting situations. Anyone touching PVE funds can join the back of the queue and get out of our faces. We should be creating the conditions, the playground, and community integrity in which such qualities can be raised. At present, yes-men go far in the ummahstructure.

On the 3rd July we celebrate, learn and appreciate Algeria's Independance. Will the august Council share the good news?

1 comment:

Seeker said...

Interesting stuff but a bit sad that you aint have had the guts to mention me in any way!!! On a less serious note, cool ideas for debate, but in factulaising you missed that the election you referring to was three years ago, and the last election was last year, and next being next year. There were no elections this year. Also, next year would be first time that MCB AGM delegates will directly elect their leader from among those who would declare their candidacy long in advance and will be able to campaign!!