My Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

Salaamun Alaikum,

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and in this very first email from the Building Committee I would like to outline the first few steps that Inshallah will result in a journey that ensures that the community thrives for the next 30 years plus.

The Team 
I have started forming my team and am pleased to inform you that so far, the community can now come to count on Murtaza Master, Abaas Bhimji, Gulamabbas Peera, Sajjad Hassam, Kasim Sumar and Mehdiya Jaffer to work on it's behalf. As the Mehfil-e-Abbas project and the community's investment programme progresses, we will naturally need to add more members to the team. At the moment, we are looking for a volunteer to join the team and take on the role of Project Accountant. If you are interested, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We intend to work very closely with the Executive Committee of the Jamaat and the trustees as well as the community at large.

Investment Portfolio 
The Building Committee has two functions at the moment. The first is ensuring the Investments the community have receive the maximum return. The vision that I have set for the team is to make our Jamaat financially self-sufficient and support the upliftment of its members.  We should aim to create an investment portfolio that ensures the community no longer needs to rely on handouts from generous community members but can stand on it's own two feet.  I have asked Murtaza Master to work towards this goal and he is working on a baseline assessment and subsequent detailed report on all of the assets held by KSIMC of Birmingham. In the short term, he will also be working with the Project Accountant (when recruited) on how the income from these investments can be incorporated into the Jamaat's affordability analysis.
As part of the working towards the self sufficiency of the Jamaat and analysing the affordability of a new centre, we are looking at various other investment opportunities that could be incorporated into a master plan for the new centre. We are therefore looking for people with relevant experience in order to analyse the viability of the following facilities:• Hospitality, Leisure and Catering– Hotel, Restaurants, Banqueting Halls and Sports centre• Commercial– Offices, Businesses, Conference centre and Industrial Units• Residential– Housing, student accommodation and apartments• Health– Medical centre, assisted living and clinics
I would like each of the taskforces to create a business plan for the facilities outlined above. If you are interested in being part of a taskforce, I would be grateful if you could email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me on 07830326475.

The Mehfil-e-Abbas Project Vision
To create a space where community members can develop their potential and serve wider society.

Initial Strategy
As some of you would have seen from my presentation on Wednesday, the Building Committee have outlined the initial strategy that will take us to point of implementation. This is a four point strategy as outlined below:

1) Needs Analysis: 
My team will be completing a thorough needs analysis to ensure the Mehfil-e-Abbas Project when completed satisfies the needs of the community for the future. We will do this through two mechanisms. Firstly, Sajjad Hassam and Gulamabbas Peera are currently looking through the results of the last census and the results of previous consultations that were done with the community in order to identify trends and requirements for the Community.
Secondly and this is where the entire community can play a key role: it is to apply to join the Consultation Panel that is being set up. I mentioned this in my speech on Wednesday and hopefully you will have seen the poster on the noticeboards. The role the Consultation Panel will play, is that it will InshAllah steer us in the right direction ensuring that we reduce the chances of mistakes being made. One of the Committee members, Abaas Bhimji, has a wealth of experience at the highest level working on multimillion pound construction projects. He is the person who pointed out that large projects that have an impact on a community have such a group in place to ensure that the project meets the needs of it's people. The first meeting that we have with the Consultation Panel will have the objective of making sure that the Committee has identified the correct needs for the Community. 
If you would like to join the Consultation Panel, please speak to Kasim Sumar (Tel No: 07711649407) or Mehdiya Jaffer (Tel No: 07702737901).  Alternatively, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2) Options Analysis
Here we will seek expert advice from our architects and a quantity surveyor to cost the various options developed during the needs analysis. This will result in detailed reports that will be used in the next step of the strategy. 

3) Community Referendum
As the majority of the community voted for in the recent AGM, our members want a say in whether we stay at Clifton Road or seek to build a new premises elsewhere. Whatever the Community decides, I will ensure, with the help of the Almighty that my team strives to deliver a project that meets the needs of the community. The motion for a referendum on the matter was something that my team pushed for during the AGM. This is because I believe that all of you that, given the relevant information, will vote for the correct decision. The referendum will ensure that this journey's first step is a step taken in the direction the community sets.  We hope to call the referendum towards the end of September 2012 Inshallah.
I do not think this community has ever had a more important vote, the result of which will directly affect our community for generations to come. We will utilise the information obtained from step one and two to present detailed, unbiased presentations on the pros and cons of staying and moving. As a Committee, we will do everything possible to provide the Community with as much information as possible, with nothing held back so that you can make an informed decision. I urge you therefore to participate in the debate within the Community and to attend the vote once the date is set.

4) Implementation
Once we have a result from the referendum, my team and I will get to work on completing the Mehfil-e-Abbas Project. I want to stress that whichever way the voting goes, it is important that we put our differences aside and move forward together in unity. I have so much faith in this community to work together for the betterment of Islam. This will be a long journey, but if we move forward in unison, pray sincerely to the Almighty, I know that the Mehfil-e-Abbas Project will be something we will all be proud of.

The Committee has been asked whether people should continue donating lump sums and signing standing orders. The simple answer is yes please! Any donations, whether small or large are welcome. The more funds we raise, the closer we will be to raising enough funds to build the new centre. Furthermore, the more donations that we receive, the lower the bank loan that we may have to take will be. 

Closing Note
I am very keen from the offset of my term as Building Committee Chair to set the correct tone for the Mehfil-e-Abbas Project. Previously we have all referred to it affectionately as MAP. On reflection I feel that on doing so we are overlooking the beloved personality the project was named after. On Imam Hussain's (AS) darkest day, when he watched his entire family and companions being mercilessly slaughtered, he chose this beloved character to be the flag bearer. The fact that we have chosen to name our centre after such a beloved soul should not be taken lightly. Whilst embarking on this journey let us use the experience to become more attuned to Hazrat Abbas (AS) so that we ensure that we are not simply naming a centre but trying to aspire to something greater. We are all flag bearers of a centre that encapsulates the essences and the spirit of the Ahlul bayt (AS). In this way we are not simply creating a centre of bricks and mortar, but using the journey to grow spiritually also. InshAllah the Building Committee will through the term of the Mehfil-e-Abbas Project creation inspire the community to move forward in unity. Thank you for taking the time to read the Committee’s update. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ring me on 07830 326 475.

With Salaams and Duas,