Bismillah. A brief summary of events, with the Arbitration Report appended at the end – the latter is legally binding, and the people who have changed the locks at the mosque and are attempting a total takeover are in violation of this agreement.
10 May 2012: First arbitration meeting.
17 May 2012: Second arbitration meeting, resolving the dispute for the time being and appointing a 6-month interim trust.
11 May 2012: In the meantime, the Charity Commission opened its statutory investigation into extremist and terrorist links around speakers at the mosque, a serious step that is never taken on the basis of an individual complaint, as is clear from the Commission procedures on their website. They wrote to various people at the mosque about this almost 2 weeks’ later.
The media got hold of the story, and I did a half-hour interview with BBC London (aired 7/6/12) to attempt damage-limitation using conciliatory language about the mosque congregation and trust together dealing with this crisis. Although the TV & website pieces were quite accurate, the TV piece misrepresented me as being “openly critical of the mosque,” for which they have apologised to me personally. The conciliatory language is also clear from my interviews to the Independent and the Evening Standard on 8/6/12, and from the piece on the BBC website.
More background in the next blog post, but please note:
* The Charity Commission does *not* endorse the list of trustees under any trust on its website, since this is entered by trustees themselves and not checked by the Commission.
In 2011-12, it has become clear that the attempted extremist takeover at the mosque involves supporters and sympathisers of Awlaki, which is no doubt why the Charity Commission investigation has terrified them. Some people have tried to claim that I am somehow responsible for Awlaki’s visits (I did not organise any of them). The truth is that whilst I have been outspoken against extremism and terrorism for many years by the grace of God, it is people like Saleh Patel who promoted Awlaki until as late as April 2009 in London (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/higher/rosie-waterhouse-universities-must-take-action-on-muslim-extremism-1922730.html ); as did Cage Prisoners (see Hitchens’ report on Awlaki, http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/files/1289579667_1.pdf ), for whom Saghir Hussain, the lawyer, worked for several years; as did Islam Channel until 2010 (http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/images/stories/islamchannelreport.pdf ), for whom Talat Sultan works. In contrast, I publicly criticized Awlaki’s extremist views as soon as I learnt about them, e.g. at the City Circle meeting about the Gaza crisis in January 2009. And about a decade before that, it was my father who forced Abu Qatada out of the mosque by the grace of God.
MUSLIM ARBITRATION SERVICE
In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful
The Trustees of Masjid & Madrasa al-Twhid, 80 High Road, Leyton, London E15 2BP, who have been in dispute over the running of the Masjid for a long time, had agreed in writing to submit their dispute to Nizar Boga BSc LL.B(Hons) DMA FRSPH MCIEH JP for arbitration. They have authorised him to be the sole Arbitrator of all issues and conduct the arbitration procedure as he considers fit and proper and make decision which will be final, binding and not subject to appeal in any court of law or tribunal.
Two hearings were held at Crown House, North Circular Road, Park Royal, London NW10 7PN
At the start of the first hearing session on 10 May, Nizar asked all the Trustees to take an oath by holding the Quran in their right hand and swear by Allah to speak the truth and nothing but the truth. All the trustees complied.
Resignations of the following trustees were offered voluntarily and pronounced without conditions. They will sign resignation documents in due course and the same will be transmitted to the Charity Commission.
Dr. Usama Hasan
Interim Administration for 6 months starting from 17 May 2012 to 17 November 2012 was constructed and announced as follows:
1. Dr Suhaib Hasan – Chairman for the first 3 months and Vice Chairman for the remaining 3 months
2. Mehmud Patel – Vice Chairman for the first 3 months and Chairman for the remaining 3 months
3. Mohamed Patel – Treasurer through out the 6 months
4. Liaqat Ali – Secretary through out the 6 months
The following Trustees were appointed to serve in the Interim Administration for 6 months. All the 10 Trustees may be re elected under the new constitution.
5. Mrs. Nazima Shaikh
6. Mohammed Tahir
7. Raja Wali Mohammed
8. Muhammad Sethi
9. Talat Sultan
10. Zahid Ahmed
The Trustees, who were appointed during the period of dispute by both sides, will step down permanently but will be eligible for consideration as members of the new charity and administration in future.
It is my sincere desire that all the 10 Trustees will act as one body of Trust to oversee all the functions and responsibilities of managing the affairs of the mosque during this crucial period of six months which will take us pass the Ramadan, Hajj and Olympic period and I request all the mosque users to help and support them in their individual as well as group capacity.
During this period, I would be working closely with the trustees to bring up options for new charity scheme in which I hope to have your input. I hope to consult you regularly in person and through email. Please feel free to talk to me when I visit your mosque, or send me any feedback/comments over the interim period.
OR send me a letter to 70 Friern Park, North Finchley, London N12 9LA
Let us all pray to Allah (swt) to give us the courage and wisdom to work together as brothers in Islam and help our community
ARBITRATOR – Nizar Boga BSc LL.B(Hons) DMA FRSPH MCIEH JP
17 May 2012