The World Federation President, Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi, has visited Madagascar, where he gave an inspiring speech and visited a pioneering housing project.
He attended the 35th Ordinary General Assembly of the Conseil Régional of Madagascar from Friday 29th to Saturday 30th March in Antananarivo. The CROI, Counsel Regional of the Indian Ocean, is a member of the African Federation (AFED).
The President addressed the Assembly on the 29th, attending with AFED and CROI office holders. Many important members were present, such as Alhaj Naushad Mehrali and Shk. Safder Jaffer, from the WF and Islamic Education, and AFTAB Chairman Seyed Hassan Naqvi, who is leader of the Madrassah Centre of Excellence (MCE) for AFED.
Strengthen and promote unity
In his speech, the President made a number of important points. Taking note of geopolitical developments and economic downturn, he urged ‘us as a community of learned people to be more alert and mindful’ of the impact of these on the Khoja community.
He appealed to all the community, and especially the leadership and respected scholars, to ‘strengthen and promote unity’ and ‘better understanding of the religion of Islam and our faith.’
Mr Dharamsi drew attention to the difficulties that Muslims especially face all around the world, as well as the challenges within ‘our own organisations’, and encouraged pro-active contentious and pragmatic action to resolve these, to preserve the ‘unity and fraternity’ of the community.
Misuse of social media
The biggest challenge is misuse of social media. He said it was responsible for ‘spreading rumours, bad mouthing and undermining our leaders, volunteers and social workers is causing huge damage to our community wellbeing’, and he encouraged education of community members in the dangers of such behaviour.
He then outlined some of the core activities of the World Federation. The MCE programs, for example, are some of the most important projects, and are taken in close collaboration with the Regional Federations. He also highlighted the Islamic Education department, the Khoja Heritage Project, and the WF-AID initiatives.
He stated that his key objectives as President were ‘economic upliftment and strengthening our members to build a stronger and more progressive community.’ He stressed the importance of providing the community with long-term support to bring it out of the cycle of poverty. To this end, the WF would ‘focus inward for our Khoja Community worldwide for their long-term developments.’
Mr Dharamsi said his emphasis was to ‘economically develop and to eradicate poverty in our community.’
Pioneering housing project
As an example of collaboration to meet these goals locally, the President visited an exciting housing project in Antananarivo.
It is a Rent to Own scheme for Antananarivo Jamaat members, in collaboration with CROI, AFED and WF. He visited the site with AFED, CROI and local Jamaat officials, and AFED Housing Development Board members.
Beneficiaries pay a deposit of about 20% of the cost of an apartment. The rest is paid monthly in rents over 12 years, and once fully paid, the renter then becomes the owner of the apartment.