Dear Community Members,
Salaamun Alaykum and Khushali Mubarak!
Alhamdulillah over the last few months we have managed to achieve a few milestones and I shall cover that in this update, along with providing information on what is planned. I wish to thank all those who have provided us with support and feedback throughout.
We have completed the first phase of the project, as many of you have seen, the mezzanine floor offers the Community additional and much-needed space. I will share the final costings of this at the upcoming AGM, but the feedback from various factions of the Community has been positive and I would like to thank people for the kind words.
WF Capital Projects Process
One of the key pledges I made was to follow the World Federation Capital Projects Process and an AGM motion of notice passed ensured that this was something the Community wanted the Building Committee to complete. This was a mammoth task as The World Federation (WF) requires a significant amount of information including a detailed needs analysis, costings and fundraising plans. The document that we submitted was 136 pages in total which gives you an idea of the level of detail that is required. It took the Building Committee months to compile.
Compiling the document was only one of the steps involved. We also had several meetings with the Office Bearers and Capital Projects team at CoEJ who were responsible for analysing the detail of the document that we submitted. With their guidance and feedback, we were able to improve upon the document that we originally submitted. This revised document and our plans were subsequently presented at the Extraordinary CoEJ Executive Council Meeting, which was held at our very own Abbasi Islamic Centre in November.
At the meeting, the project was scrutinised by the Councillors. One of the key points that came up was regarding financial feasibility. In response, we explained the approach that we are pursuing whereby we have divided the project into phases to ensure that we do not overstretch ourselves as a Community. This was praised by the Councillors who stated that a phased approach was unique and ensured financial responsibility. When requesting the CoEJ Councillors to call the meeting, our objective was to obtain Agreement in Principle to pursue phase 2 of our project i.e. the multipurpose hall that is to be built on the site of Mr Clutch. Alhamdulillah, when it came to voting, this was passed unanimously.
WF Council Meeting in Reunion
Thereafter, once the project was passed through the CoEJ process, we attended the WF Executive Council meeting in Reunion in December and presented the project to them in order to get their blessings and approval. Again, the project was very well received and everything went through without a hitch. One of the most positive points to come out of the meeting was in relation to using Khums for the multipurpose hall. I know that in the past questions have been raised as to whether this would be possible given that the multipurpose hall will be used primarily for sports. To this Al Haj Dr Asghar Moledina responded that Ayatollah Sistani has given him as the Ijaza holder the ability to use the Sehme Imam portion on any projects that will keep our youth within the Community. Finally, we also got a chance to network with other Community members from all around the world and build a link that will help us to raise funds going forward.
I am grateful to The World Federation and CoEJ for putting our project under such scrutiny as it shows we have a viable plan that meets the needs of Birmingham’s vibrant and growing Community.
The rationale for phase 2
Following on from the first phase and the Capital Projects Process, we have now begun planning the second phase, the multipurpose hall. This is a very exciting element of the project as the primary use will be as a Sports Hall, which by the way will be built to Sport England standards. This is important because it will bring in our youth through social interaction. We have two thriving sports clubs and it is important the Community looks to bring this vibrancy into the centre. Attending the centre is a habit and so it follows that the more reasons we give people to attend the centre will ensure that more people attend and create an unbreakable bond between themselves and with the centre.
In addition, the hall will help us to achieve our goal of making the new centre financially viable because it will be flexible enough to be used as an overflow facility during the overcrowded months of Muharram and Ramadhan. We will be able to utilise the entire space to accommodate around 500 people sitting comfortably. We hope to share the detailed designs at the AGM and will be going out to tender on this part of the project in due course. Given that the next phase of the project is a huge undertaking, we are planning on arranging a few roadshows that will be open to the whole Community in due course.
We need your help
I also wanted to inform you that we are now advertising for voluntary roles within the Committee. Volunteers are truly the lifeblood of our Community and to be honest, this kind of Capital Project can only be completed with our blood, sweat and tears. We are indeed a talented Jamaat and as we enter a key phase of the Abbasi Islamic Centre Project, we are looking for individuals to join the Project Team in the following roles;
- Project Co-ordinator
- Marketing Manager
- IT Systems Analyst
- Audio Visual Engineer
- Energy Engineer
- Interior Design
Kindly click here to view the roles and application form.
I really hope that as many of you as possible will come forward take part in this noble cause. As the saying goes: “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
In addition, we really need your donations in order to make sure that we can start the next phase of the project as soon as possible. Please visit the Jamaat website in order to make a donation or use the attached form in order to set up a regular donation.
With Salaams and Duas