Fighting the Evil of Daesh

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Faith Associates
May 2016

Key Points to Cage report “We are Completely Independent” 

  • Sadly Cage’s report has tried to malign all our work with Prevent. Faith Associates (which was established before any PVE strategy) nor have any of its projects and campaigns have ever been exclusively designed with the ‘desire to implement the government’s Prevent strategy’. Our work is focussed on highlighting and promoting good practice and capacity building.
  • Mainstream Islamic voices have constantly worked against the deformist ideology of Daesh (so called Islamic State) and Imams Online used its platform to host these normative Islamic messages of our Scholars. These same scholars recently received a fatwa of death from Daesh that calls for Western Muslims to kill them for exposing their misguided notions of Islam.
  • We see the work we do as legitimate and increasingly important in order to build resilient institutions and amplify the presence of normative Islamic voices on media and social media as a means of engaging young Muslims and dispelling confusions and myths that surround the Islamic faith and Islamic Institutions
  • The words and sentiments expressed on the platform are wholly representative of the views and opinions of the authors, be they the Imams Online editorial team or the Imams and Scholars within our network,
  • We will continue to avoid attacking other Muslim groups, organisations and individuals and focus on building coalitions and constructive dialogue for the betterment of all

Official Response to CAGE Report.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Peace and Blessings upon the Final Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ)

This is Faith Associates’ official response to the report recently released by CAGE entitled “We are Completely Independent” which brings into disrepute the credibility of our organisation and the work we do with the Muslim communities in the UK and overseas.

As a basic Islamic etiquette it would have been helpful to avoid suspicion by at least asking our views or opinions on their assertions but unfortunately no attempt was made to consult us.

The report purports that Faith Associates, and its projects Imams Online and www.Madrassah.co.uk are knowingly being used as tools to manipulate the Muslim community and that the content being produced and published has been manufactured by external agencies and government departments.

This report has come out at a time when the Muslim community in Britain is at a crossroads. With the increase in violence across the world and the rising tide of Islamophobia, British Muslims are justifiably anxious and in need of clear leadership and direction. Within this context, we see the work we do as legitimate and increasingly important in order to build resilient institutions and amplify the presence of normative Islamic voices on media and social media as a means of engaging young Muslims and dispelling confusions and myths that surround the Islamic faith and Islamic Institutions.

Faith Associates

The report looks at Faith Associates and 2 of its subsidiary projects – Imams Online and Madrassah.co.uk.

Faith Associates was set up in 2004 and has been focussed on providing faith institutions with support on building capacity and good governance. This work was taking place for over 10 years prior to Faith Associates establishment, on an individual basis and by other team members as part our Islamic responsibility.

It is sad to see that the report has tried to malign all our work with Prevent. We would like to clarify that neither Faith Associates (which was established before any PVE strategy) nor any of its projects and campaigns have ever been exclusively designed with the ‘desire to implement the government’s Prevent strategy’ nor has Faith Associates institutional development work been primarily centred and developed around the notion of ‘safeguarding against extremism’. Our work is focussed on highlighting and promoting good practice and capacity building (something that the report alluded to as being important) as a way of ensuring or institutions remain relevant and sustainable for the future. We do not subscribe to the notion that extremism is exclusive to the Mosque or Madrassah but do appreciate that our institutions need support in implementing specific policies and procedures that will allow them to become thriving community hubs.

We would also like to clarify that neither Faith Associates nor Madrassah.co.uk has ever received support from Breakthrough Media to help with its content or design. Faith Associates receives support and its services have been commissioned from a variety of sources including, local authorities, charities, Mosques, Madrassah and private businesses. Madrassah.co.uk is independently funded by individuals and offers training and accredited safeguarding certification at a nominal fee paid for by Mosques, Madrassahs and Islamic Charities.

Imams Online

The Imams Online website was initially set up, designed and registered in 2011.

Whilst it is true that Imams Online was offered the services of the creative design agency Breakthrough Media, its contribution to our work has always only been on the design aspect. To assist with the promotion of some of our work against Daesh, it was offered the assistance of its partner PR agency ‘Horizon PR’.

The support offered was in light of Daesh’s massive online attempt to groom young Muslims to its cause. Mainstream Islamic voices have constantly worked against the deformist ideology of Daesh (so called Islamic State) and Imams Online used its platform to host these normative Islamic messages of our Scholars. These same scholars recently received a fatwa of death from Daesh that calls for Western Muslims to kill them for exposing their misguided notions of Islam.

In our struggle to protect the Muslim youth and Islamic Institutions we will work with all parties and organisations for the greater common good, freely and without favour as long as our Islamic principles are not compromised.

However, we would like to make it explicitly clear that the design and promotion process for any piece of work has never been completed or published independent of Imams Online team’s final approval. Every design aspect has always been rigorously critiqued by Imams Online to ensure that it is in line with the sensibilities of the Muslim community and the content itself has been authored by the Imams and Scholars themselves.

Imams Online would like to reiterate this point and state quite clearly that any campaigns it has run, events it has held or content it has produced for its website and social media feeds is independent of any external influence. The words and sentiments expressed on the platform are wholly representative of the views and opinions of the authors, be they the Imams Online editorial team or the Imams and Scholars within our network

Imams Online has always set out to be non-denominational in its Islamic outlook and adheres to promoting positive normative Islam and the positive work being done by Imams. We can confidently say that our working relationship with Breakthrough in their capacity as a design agency has never infringed upon this.

With the legitimate concerns that we as a community have against some of the approaches and language being used by government and the mainstream media, it is now more important than ever to come together as a collective body in order to effectively deal with the challenges we face.

The litmus test for us is how the authenticity of our work is perceived. We will continue to pursue a positive and constructive dialogue with anyone who wishes to support the efforts of Muslim communities or organisations for the benefit of society. We implore the Muslim community to be thorough in their critique of our work and judge it purely on its Islamic ethos. If you find it to be contrary to the Islamic understanding on a particular issue, we are open to hear your concerns and endeavour to rectify our mistakes.

We thank you for giving us this opportunity to clarify our positions and remove any misconceptions there may be around our work and online platform. We are ever grateful for the support we have received from Islamic scholars, leaders of Islamic institutions, local community and the wider non-Muslim community and endeavour to continue working in the same vein for Muslim communities in the UK and abroad.

We will continue to avoid attacking other Muslim groups, organisations and individuals and focus on building coalitions and constructive dialogue for the betterment of all inshallah.

Regards,

Shaukat Warraich
CEO – Faith Associates.

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2 Comments

  • abu shuaib

    Jzk khair for your considered and balanced response.
    Could you comment on the point raised in the report, that organisations have had to sign the Official Secrets Act. Is this true, if so, does this have implications for transparency and agenda? Have you, or others in your organisation who have worked on the various projects, signed this yourself personally?

  • abu shuaib

    Jzk khair for your considered and balanced response.
    Could you comment on the point raised in the report, that organisations have had to sign the Official Secrets Act. Is this true, if so, does this have implications for transparency and agenda? Have you, or others in your organisation who have worked on the various projects, signed this yourself personally?

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