It's time for a change this Ramadan. A new board of trustees for the East London Masjid!
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This petition calls for a new board of trustees to be elected without delay and the dismissal of the current trustees who are damaging the name of our beloved masjid. Please sign this petition and share it with your family.
Recent controversies at the East London Masjid have made me think as a local worshipper who has donated for and supported this House of Allah that we need better for our community. This masjid represents the aspirations and hopes of the entire Muslim community in the UK, who have supported it over the years through donating millions of pounds.
The masjid’s chairman, Habibur Rahman was questioned by a local brother (Janu Emani) recently, during a typical fundraising session interrupting prayers. The brother was raising his concerns that he has, as do many other brothers and sisters in the community about some of the trustees of the masjid and its activities. Instead of being dealt with in polite Islamic manner, Janu was belittled and made to feel small, at which point he made a social media video that then went viral! He was not "ranting" as some trustees have claimed, but giving sincere advice the best way he knew how. Yes, he sounds a bit ghetto, but he makes valid points about transparency. It takes courage to stand up to leaders in some cases. Janu's video is online here: https://www.facebook.com/janu.emani/videos/1288619931285325/
Some of these concerns that Janu raised go back to the relationship between the now-defunct Islamic Forum of Europe (now called Muslim Community Association) and the East London Masjid. The relationship between IFE/MCA has been too cosy, and individuals that are the trustees or staff of one entity should not unduly influence the activities of another, especially if those decisions are not being made in the best interest of the masjid or the community. We already know the IFE/MCA executive influences the masjid's AGM elections, and anybody that says this isn't untrue is lying, astagfirullah. This votes are rigged, hence why some people have retained their positions for many, many years!
Businesses spaces have been given to people who have had affiliation to the IFE while other members of the community have been blocked out.
There are particular individuals who are currently serving as trustees of the East London Masjid who have behaved in a manner that is damaging to the good name of the organisation and the masjid that we love. These individuals include the following people:
- Mohammed Habibur Rahman (former president of IFE, chairman for the last 6 years at the masjid and member of the masjid trust for 30 years or more!)
- Ayub Khan (secretary of the masjid for over 10 years and member since 1982!)
- Sirajul Islam (trustee over the last 5 years or more)
- Dr Muhammed Abdul Bari (former chair, current trustee, a president of IFE and ex-trustee of Muslim Aid removed by Charity Commission investigation)
- Shafiur Rahman (trustee and a former director of IFE)
These individuals named above forced a new chief executive officer position into the masjid in 2017 at the cost of nearly £70,000 a year, even though the organisation still had its executive director (being paid £45,000), who was then subsequently demoted into a lesser role. The executive director was doing his job properly and never treated anybody improperly, however the new CEO, did, on the say-so of the trustees. I have spoken to masjid staff members who have all complained that they were treated with disrespect. Staff members have never been given a pay rise to match inflation, yet the organisations the masjid's trustees work for including council, housing associations and universities benefit from this no doubt. This in itself is hypocritical and an injustice. When brothers and sisters serve the house of Allah, day and night but are not looked after for the service they provide and their good nature is exploited. A security guard for the masjid was also fired when he raised questions about the masjid's IFE relationship.
Nozmul Hussain, who is now the ex-CEO of the masjid after barely surviving a year in the job wrote a damning resignation which was leaked a couple of days ago. Although, we can't see any benefits of having Hussain as a CEO, he raised some dangerous allegations about the trustees of the masjid, main concern being this: “I have on many occasion come across circumstances where in my mind there were clear conflict of interest amongst many people associated with this great institution, where people were taking more benefit from the organisation than they were giving, almost enshrined as an acceptable norm- one that was not to be challenged and certainly not to be changed.” View the full letter here: https://www.scribd.com/document/409293382/Letter-of-Resignation-1-Copy
We the community find this unacceptable. Questions must now be answered in relation to this leak as it has no doubt came from a concerned person from within the masjid, who wants to expose all the issues.
I work as a teacher in a school, and no governing body of a school would ever recruit another headteacher if it already had one that was doing a good job. This is exactly what happened at the masjid. The trustees tried to play politics in the house of Allah, and oust a good brother (the executive director), who was doing his job and bring someone else in who wasn't suited for the job nor been part of the community for a very long time.
Our community; fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters deserve better than trustees playing their little games, while we suffer in Ramadan because of their actions and made to think twice. The fact is, this is the end of the road for these trustees and the whole board needs to resign and a new one elected that will serve the people and listen to our concerns. It happened with Muslim Aid and it will happen with the masjid inshaaʾallāh.
While the masjid’s trustees released a statement against what it calls “slander” and “lies” attacking Janu, can they explain what their relationship to the IFE has been in the past 20 years or more? It’s easy to claim transparency and point to the charity commission and claim innocence when they haven’t actually declared hidden personal conflicts of interests. However, we the members of the community are well aware. Favouritism has run ripe in the masjid, and it's time for that to come to an end.
- Will the masjid’s trustees now put their hands up and explain which one of them have been influential leaders in the IFE, and how they including IFE have used the masjid?
- What actual leadership has been shown by the trustees in the last decade? What have they achieved apart from building buildings for the sake of it?
- Where is the Maryam Academy girls school that was promised to the community?
- Why has the extension of the masjid's main prayer hall now left hanging and what is the masjid's connection to the developer of the land next door?
- Does the current president of IFE/MCA, Dr Emranul Haque influence the masjid's activities? What is his relationship with masjid?
- How many trustees and members of the masjid are part of the IFE/MCA executive? (Ayub Khan, Habibur Rahman, Abdul Qayum, Abul Hussain, Dilowar Hussain Khan are all Majlis-ash-Shura members.)
- Why is the masjid's Imam Abul Hussain also a treasurer of the IFE/MCA?
If they cannot answer these questions, then we demand they all step down immediately to save the community and masjid we love from harm. Or the community will eventually forcibly remove them from those positions in disgrace. The time for talk is over, now is the time to act!
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