Muslim group seeks greater role in national development
Guyana Chronicle
August 3, 2004

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A LEADING Muslim organisation wants the government to more fully involve civil society groups in key areas of national development and to help them in the struggle to arrest the rapid decline in moral standards.
The call came yesterday from Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) President, Mr Fazeel Ferouz, at the body’s 26th General Council meeting.

The meeting took place at the organisation’s spanking new three-storey building on Woolford Avenue, Thomas Lands, Georgetown.

More than 2,000 representatives from some 90 jamaats throughout Guyana gathered to renew their commitment to the CIOG, while rededicating themselves to the realisation of its founding objectives, one of which is the organising of all Sunni Muslims in the country into one central body.

Ferouz in his address said that as the organisation works to build the Muslim community, it must also be mindful of the wider needs of the nation.

He said that the management of the CIOG has so far fulfilled its promises to maintain the Zakaat (giving charity to the needy), orphans and other social relief programmes and provide support for the Madarsas (schools).

He added that the organisation can now look back at 26 years of transparency, accountability and political neutrality in Islamic work.

He also called for financial assistance from the government in the running of the many Muslim schools in Guyana.

CIOG Treasurer, Mr Aslim Rahaman, in his presentation on the Auditor’s Report, the Revenue Accounts and the Balance Sheet for the year ended December 31, 2003, said the calculations were made in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and included tests and procedures considered necessary by the Chartered Accountants, Deloitte and Touche.

He said that in common with many organisations of similar size and nature, the CIOG’s systems of internal control depend on the close involvement of the executives.

“Where independent confirmation of the completeness and accuracy of the accounting records was therefore not available, we have accepted assurance from the executives that all the organisation’s transactions have been correctly reflected in the records”, he explained.

Ms Alima Pandor, Deputy Ameerah of the National Committee of Sisters Affairs (NACOSA), the women’s’ arm of the CIOG, in her report, spoke of activities carried out both regionally and nationally for the year 2003.

She said that while there was some organisational restructuring at the national executive level, which opened key positions, members consistently tried to achieve their overall objectives and their calendar of activities for 2003.

“Annual Sisters’ vocational and summer courses were conducted in all three counties of Guyana, where students graduate and return their services to the community…NACOSA hosted seminars, workshops, meetings and conferences on a monthly and quarterly basis”, she reported.

She said members were trained by NACOSA in sewing, handcrafting/knitting, cake decorating and other areas and noted that they also participated in television and radio programmes.

Executive Member of the CIOG, Mr Moen McDoom, Islam scholar, Maulana Siddiq Nasir and religious leaders of the CIOG, Shaikh Qays and Shaikh Moenul Hack were among those at the meeting.

Awards for outstanding performance in promoting and preserving Islam were given to Abdul Ghanie Khan, Safiyya Ahamad, Insan Ally, Halim Bacchus, Mohamed Ispahani Haniff, Shazad Khan, Latiff Mohamed, Mustapha Ali and Bibi Khatoon Shariff, who travelled from various parts of the country to attend the meeting.

Before a Quranic recitation, translation and exhortation commenced, the representatives were given booklets detailing the organisation’s activities, achievements and accounts for the past year.

Since its inauguration on August 1, 1972, the CIOG has become a household name in Guyana and in many countries of the Guyanese diaspora.

It has represented Muslims of Guyana at many international Islamic fora and conferences abroad. (RENU RAGHUBIR)