Allow all JAOCT members to elect upcoming officials.
￼January 2nd, 2012
As members of the community at Jafaria Association of Connecticut, we would like to express our grievances in regards to the planned election for February 5th, 2012. There has been an injustice done to the youth of our community, which composes much of the population of our beloved Imambargah. Due to sudden and dramatic changes brought upon by turmoil and adversity, youth members of our Center have lost the right to voice their opinion in the form of a ballot. Youth members, who have paid their posted dues for the year, were not given the opportunity to express their concerns in the debate regarding elections.
The value of including the youth in the workings of our Imambargah is priceless and cannot be overlooked. Over time, we have played an essential role in our community by organizing events and projects from which all benefit, but our ability to continue is in question. Successful service activities such as the Pakistan Flood Relief drive were solely enacted by members of our generation, which solidifies our longstanding role in this community. Time and time again, we are told by adults that we are the future of our Imambargah, and need to increase our involvement in its doings. We agree with that implication, and have taken strides to better ourselves as future leaders, but one question remains after revoking our right to vote. What message does this send to our youth by determining we cannot vote? What role do we really have remaining, at this point in time? Do our opinions not matter?
Votes are to be cast on the basis of who will benefit and bring this religious institution to higher levels. Members of our community, both adults and youths, should make ethical decisions when voting for the next political leaders of our Imambargah. Votes should only be given to certain candidates on the basis of their platform, and their vision for the Center. Political games played by adults have served detrimental to our association, and cannot continue. Politics are creating divides among our Shia community, which is impeding the ability of Jafaria Association of Connecticut to do what it aims to do; that being to spread the proper teachings of Islam and its leaders.
What comes of significance is our inability to voice our opinion. In previous elections, we were given the ability to select who we felt was most beneficial for our Imambargah, by casting an ethically and morally sound vote for candidates. There should be no distinction between a regular member, and a student member. From our understanding, our youth population was offered membership at a discounted rate, in an effort to involve them in discussions. If the intent of creating such a membership rate for students was pure, we see no reason to discontinue this effort at this time.
In solidarity, we, youth members of this community, ask you to reconsider the wrongdoing to our population. We have beliefs that will prove beneficial in the near future, but we need our voices to be heard now. We ask that the upcoming elections be done in a proper manner, in accordance with the standing constitution, which includes the continued extension of voting privileges to all due-paying members.
Youth Members of Jafaria Association of Connecticut
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