CWSC Executive Director reflects on four years in office
Reflections and looking to a new year
Commenting recently to CWSC Public Affairs on the collective spirit of our community life, Mukhtar Muhammad, the Executive Director for the CWSC or Community Wide Shuraa Conference, reflecting on the end of 2018, the CWSC End-of the Year Telethon on AM360.org, the final Friday Jumah Roundtable Year-in-Review and his tenure in office now approaching the fourth year, and the tremendous progress some have called phenomenal, that American Muslim 360 and the entire CWSC has made:
“Well I’m really just a small part of a very big group effort.
I think CWSC and AM360 and our entire intelligentsia operations are experiencing the same wave of progress and confidence that we’re seeing in some of our other institutions in our Association around the country.
I think a big difference for us all collectively now throughout the country, Insha Allah, is we have come into a better season or climate of our shared freedom space, and it comes from having taken some time to reassess the role of personal responsibility for our future in this country and the world.
Freedom demands responsibility on all—those standing in front of the assemblies on Friday and those sitting in the musellas looking up. When the prayer is complete, we have to look at one another at eye level to have the correct vision together.
I remember a movie many years ago called Soul Food with actress Vanessa Williams about an African American family who loses their matriarch. The movie reminded me of us.
To make a long story short, the youngest in the family, just a little boy is the one who helps each family member come into the realization that “Big Mama” is still in each of them and now they have to accept greater personal responsibility for what Big Mama used to do in order to move forward, both individually and collectively with a mutual respect, organization and faith in G-d; and very important also is to move forward with a greater level of faith and trust in one another.
Speaking analogously in reference to our Association, the little boy is the group intellect finally realizing that we had to stop the blame game and dysfunctional overdependence upon one subset of believers as having essentially the sole responsibility of charting a course for our future; we simply cannot make sufficient progress like that. Freedom demands responsibility on all—those standing in front of the assemblies on Friday and those sitting in the musellas looking up at the one standing. When the prayer is complete, we have to look at one another at eye level to have the correct vision together.
And really, that same freedom and responsibility have to happen all over the world. With freedom comes responsibility. Leadership at all levels has to remove the obstacles that deny the full participation and contribution of all the group’s members; at the same time, supporters of government and institutions have to be actively engaged in supporting and helping to lead.
Equality in Al-Islam means we cannot abdicate our personal responsibility to someone else…not even an imam. In Al-Islam we call participative democracy Shuraa, but Shuraa is actually a necessity all over the world.
Another way of putting it…while government is responsible for making sure funds are allocated to opening and staffing a polling facility for example, each one of us is still responsible for casting a ballot, being informed on the issues before we cast that ballot, and then doing something about the issues after we cast that ballot…that’s a personal responsibility that falls on each of us…government can’t do that for me and you—neither can another person.
More than anything, I believe that’s what CWSC has been able to contribute most—a greater appreciation for the role and value of interdependence.
So I think this new shared freedom space that exists now in which the individual believer has to take on greater personal responsibility regardless of whether initials are in front of or behind our name, will continue to drive progress. The degree of progress we make will be directly proportional to the effort we expend continuing to remove contaminants and pollutants that in the past necessitated carrying around our own “breathing and survival gear” as we made our way through what was supposed to be a comfortable and clean shared freedom space.
Praise be to Allah (SWT), we have a much cleaner and kinder environment where we can take off our bulky helmets and suits and connect with the warmth of one another’s intellect and spirit, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and toe-to-toe at the table of Shuraa Baynahum without anyone feeling threatened.
CWSC has always been committed to doing its part to contribute to an excellent shared freedom space that invites the group intellect in to be responsible for community life all the way from the local to the global level.
I think the argument is clear; our future favors a collaborative autonomy that respects the value of interdependence along with the freedom, respect and responsibility that must be accorded to the group intellect.
We can be together with one another independently, yet with a greater appreciation now for what interdependence can do for each one of us individually, institutionally and collectively. More than anything, I believe that’s what CWSC has been able to contribute most—a greater appreciation for the role and value of interdependence.
These past four years leading from this office of responsibility and having had the opportunity to share with believers around the nation, have shown me that we’re longing to finally leave behind the vestiges of an exaggerated autonomy and hyper-independence that characterized our institutional and community life for many years as part of a necessary evolution.
But now I think the argument is clear that in 2018 and now moving into 2019, our future favors a collaborative autonomy that respects the value of interdependence along with the freedom, respect and responsibility that must be accorded to the group intellect. That’s the future I am grateful to help usher in as Executive Director for CWSC.
Tools like the Model Communities National Resource Directory (MCNRD), the Volunteer Human Resource Network (VHRN), and Faith-based Collaboratives (FBCs) are a reflection of the type of thinking that values the interdependence of the group intellect.
As we look ahead to 2019, we look to see an expansion of MCNRD and VHRN and other collaborative concepts to help the group intellect assist communities and institutions nationwide and for those communities to utilize the MCNRD and VHRN to help themselves and one another Insha Allah.”
Community Wide Shuraa Conference, Inc. (CWSC) is a national tax exempt public charity and does not discriminate on the basis of color, race, religion, ethnic or national origin in its community outreach. To explore leadership, community service and other volunteer opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (910) 317-0297…Together we can remake the world.