Every two years the MCB appoints its office-bearers for a two year term: a Secretary General (SG), a Deputy Secretary General (DSG), a Treasurer, three Assistant Secretary Generals (ASGs) and a Deputy Treasurer. For the first time on Sunday 15 June 2014, the SG and DSG will be directly elected by the affiliates’ delegates present. After this, the delegates will elect 40 members of a National Council, also supplemented by representatives from each of the MCB’s National and Regional affiliates. The National Council then selects the additional office bearers after a process of consultation and evaluation. There is a quota system to ensure that at least eight women are amongst the elected National Council members. The elected members also include 12 geographical zonal representatives, to ensure every part of Britain has a say in the organisation’s decision-making.
On 3 March 2014 the Election Commissioner of the MCB, Judge Khurshid Drabu CBE, issued a call inviting individuals to come forward as candidates for the post of SG and DSG.
The MCB’s Constitution defines the SG’s role as its “official spokesperson”, with responsibilities including convening the General Assembly, directing the work of the National Council in implementing the policies set by the General Assembly, presenting a report of activities to the annual meeting of the General Assembly and convening and chairing meetings of the MCB’s Executive Committee. The DSG’s role is to deputise for the Secretary General in his or her absence and providing assistance to the Secretary General in the performance of his or her duties.
The MCB has had four SGs since its inception, captured in this photo taken at the recent World Islamic Economic Forum meeting in London in October 2013.
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The MCB’s media desk recently interviewed Sir Iqbal Sacranie and Dr Muhammad AbdulBari, seeking their views on the challenges that will face the next SG and also their assessments of skills needed and the demands of the post.
Q: Sir Iqbal and Dr Bari, what are the key challenges facing the MCB and Muslims in Britain in years ahead?
- Redefining and reprioritising MCB work and projects in order to keep the body relevant for the community in a rapidly changing environment – internally and externally, politically and demographically, socially and economically
- Engaging with all, particularly the Muslim youth, to strengthen MCB as an inclusive national body and raise the standard of the Muslim community
- Increasing the affiliate membership base, particularly from unrepresented sections of the community
- Raising finances and developing the infrastructure required to meet expectations and the mandate
Q: You have a combined experience of 10 years at the helm of affairs at the MCB. What do you think are the key attributes and skills required by the MCB’s SG for 2014-2016?
- Follow the core Islamic practices consistently and possess integrity and good character
- Championing the interests of Islam and the Muslim community through a proactive approach, but within the Islamic principles of moderation and wassatiyya
- Loyalty to the MCB and passion for its work for the common good of all in our society
- An understanding of the Constitution and Regulations of the MCB
- A team player with interpersonal and networking skills
- Possess a good political antennae and an ability to deal effectively with media
- Communicate effectively – internally within the MCB team and its affiliates, as well as externally with the whole Muslim community and mainstream society and establishments
- A good understanding of the evolution, dynamics and complexity of diverse Muslims, as well as the challenges and opportunities in modern, pluralist and secular Britain; possess a strategic vision for the community
- An ability to reflect and analyse the issues in a broader, non-sectarian perspective
Q. What demands does it place on the individual?
- Be ready to face high expectation from affiliates and the Muslim community, but insufficient institutional capacity
- Be ready to face sudden pressures and grasping the burden, challenges and complexity of the job
- Be prepared to concentrate 100% of one’s concentration needed for the job and give up all other non-essential or voluntary commitments elsewhere
- One should plan and look after one’s health, family and financial survival for the tenure
Q. Finally, what sort of past experience is essential?
- Track record in voluntary and community work with diverse groups of people
- Proven liaison, negotiation and conflict resolution skills
- A leadership role for 3-5 years in a Muslim organisation, mosque or grass-root Muslim body
- Dealing with local or central government, civil society bodies or statutory bodies like schools or hospitals
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Individuals interested should respond by 25 April to the Call for Candidates issued by Judge Khurshid Drabu CBE on 3 March 2014, in the first instance emailing him at this address
Each prospective candidate should provide him by this date (i) evidence of British citizenship or indefinite leave of stay (ii) a ‘manifesto’ of up to 750 words outlining their experience of service in Muslim community institutions, why they consider themselves suitable for the position of SG (or DSG) and their assessment of the challenges facing Muslims in Britain. Judge Drabu notes, ” Subject to receipt of this information I will announce the candidates eligible to stand by 1st May 2014 and their manifestos will be published on the MCB website. Additionally I will require candidates to furnish me, before the AGM date, with evidence from a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check. Discharged bankrupts are also disqualified.”
This is a unique opportunity for individuals to come forward, provide leadership in service of the community.