The technological platform of iCommunity provides a set of services. These are currently available on the iCommunity technology platform. More services will be added as need for them arises from within the community, and resources become available.
The overarching principle for providing these services is to bring the community on one platform, and to encourage an open intra-community dialogue. The dialogue is towards a unified stance to commit to a forward looking proactive action plan. These objectives are collectively referred to as the Sociological Platform of iCommunity.
The action plan for the Sociological Platform has the following objectives:
- to empower the community within the context of the US mainstream geopolitics,
- to have its own representatives in the House and the Senate, and at the State and Local levels.
- to capitalize on Islamic oriented businesses,
- to establish a mutual support system of welfare within the community, and
- to spread prosperity within the community and beyond.
It is a tall order, and we have begun the necessary steps towards accomplishing it. The process is two pronged: thought oriented and mobilization oriented.
For the thought orientation we establish a “Think Tank” of the community, by the community, and for the community. This think tank analyses the community needs, resources, possibilities, risks, and opportunities.
For mobilization of the community we analyze the community membership and bring them to a platform for the purpose of actualizing the opportunities and mitigating the risks.
Below we explain how the Think Tank will come into being, and how the mobilization of the community will take place; and how The Muslim Planet Project plays as the enabling catalyst.
The Think Tank
The services on the iCommunity platform constitute the backdrop for the community to coalesce as they come together to
- start interacting,
- develop common understanding,
- adopt unified positions, and
- agree to a dynamically proactive action plan.
The services act as attractors for the community to gravitate with cohesion. The dynamics of the intra-community interactions begin to serve as a “Virtual Think Tank”. Out of this “virtual think tank” will gradually arise a group of individuals who will organize to rise to the occasion. This will morph into a physical Think Tank. They must come together with great commitment, energy, passion, resources, extraordinary capabilities, and the magic of inclusiveness and teamwork.
This think tank can over time begin to formulate the long-term and middle-term goals for the Muslim Community in USA.
The think tank needs to represent the entirety of the community. As is generally true for any community, the Muslim community also consists of constituent population groups. The man in the street generally prefers to be in a supporting role for those who end up taking a lead role. Thus there are those individuals within the community that end up playing a lead role, and the others that end up playing the support role. This generally depends upon individual temperament, education, experience, and the role that an individual plays in the society.
Among the Muslim community, each of these groups further divide into two broad segments. Roughly speaking, one segment is college educated with scientific bent of mind, and the second segment is religiously oriented madrassa graduated with theological bent of mind. These segments exist among those who lead as well as those in the support role.
The Think Tank needs to take this diversity into account, and do so most respectfully.
The Think Tank reflects an understanding of the Muslim Community in USA, and a way for the community to grow into a coherent body that sets and achieves its own objectives using its own resources, in a self contained and independent manner.
The community mobilization is set in motion via the Think Tank. There are practical steps that are taken to move the mobilization forward. These steps are according to the needs of the various segments of the community, with an objective to bring them all to one platform to work for the prosperity and dignity of the entire community.
These steps are discussed below together with the segments of the community which they serve.
The mosques incorporate all parts of the community. However, the imams in the mosques largely represent the population with religiously oriented madrassa type background. Because the imams deliver the sermons, they are in a position to influence the community in accordance with their own background, education, training, and capabilities.
The imams are numerically small in number though their influence on the community is very significant. They already constitute sort of a think tank to influence the community.
It is therefore important to establish a dialogue between the imams and the rest of the community. The mechanism invented for this purpose is a News Journal that we have been writing and delivering to the mosques in USA.
The News Journal invites the imams, and the community in general, to a more encompassing community platform. This platform addresses all needs of the community: religion, humanity, jobs, schools, roads, courts, immigration, economy, business, and politics. It addresses all such aspects nationwide. It invites the imams to think of the needs of the community in today’s context to encompass all such dimensions. The mosque need to become more relevant to all segments of the society. The mosques are a biggest asset of the community and can be used in the service of the community in all facets of life in the modern times.
We urge the mosques and imams to consult the News Journal and contribute to it through their real life experiences, progressive ideas, and effective solutions.
The college graduated progressive segment of the Muslim community are very significant in numbers and resourcefulness. However, they exist only in their roles as professionals, and unlike the imams, they do not constitute a think tank type capability. Therefore, they do not significantly influence the community, except through donations to the mosques and other causes. Their true potential for the community remains untapped.
There are academicians among them who regularly do research and publish their findings. We invite all of them to research their experience with the Muslim communities, focusing on the cultural and civilizational aspects. They shall apply the findings to resolve the modern life situations experienced by the Muslim community in USA.
We invite the community members to submit their research results to our peer reviewed Journal of Muslim Culture. This will enable the community members to discover another dimension to their professional lives. It will also give rise to a recognized community of intellectuals, scholars, and subject matter experts. In this way, the intellectuals and professionals in our community can form a specialized think tank type capability that allows them to contribute to the community at large in a systematic and meaningful way.
We urge the community members to take advantage of our Journal of Muslim Culture and contribute to it through their analytical insights and resourcefulness.
We have described the following three types of specialized think tanks.
We have a “virtual think tank” that exists in the cyberspace using our iCommunity platform. Everyone can participate in it. It is the grand bazaar of our community.
Next we have a specialized think tank that consists of the imams within the mosques and the Islamic centers. Generally speaking, only the traditionally oriented madrassa educated members can belong to this think tank. It may not have to be so but our mosques are thus formatted.
Another specialized think tank emerges from the highly educated professionals like the scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and businessmen.
The Think Tank for the entire Muslim community in USA presumably arises out of these. For that to happen, there is a strong need to bring these specialized think tanks together on one platform.
The Annual Conference of Muslim Mosques and Intellectuals is designed for this purpose.
This conference would have participants from the mosques and from the professional intellectuals within the community. The participants from the mosques would include imams, members of the boards of directors, executive presidents, and other prominent members. The participants from the professional intellectuals would include scientists, engineers, doctors, economists, politicians, and business owners. The latter group of people would become visible through contributions to the Journal of Muslim Culture.
This conference would have a technical aspect, and it would also have a strategic and tactical planning aspect.
The technical component would be like any other professional conference, for example containing plenary sessions and the parallel sessions on focused areas. The planning component would look at the short-term and middle-term goals for the Muslim Community in USA. They would evaluate if the short-term plan is being implemented satisfactorily. They would look ahead for the next cycle of short and middle term plans, which constitutes the long-term strategic planning. In the light of the long term planning, they can recommend surgical adjustments to the current middle-term plan, as a course correction maneuver.
The body that performs this planning function is the Think Tank for the Muslim Community in USA. Naturally, this body would be elected presumably from the participants of the conference.