Living where we don't make the rules
A Muslim Minority Leaders Colloquium
The World for all Foundation is born out of the South African experience where millions of people were oppressed and discriminated against by a system of white supremacy called Apartheid. The World for all Foundation also carries within it the many lessons that emerged out of the difficult, yet peaceful, transition from Apartheid to a non-racial and democratic society, in which there is almost a unique co-existence between the former oppressed and oppressors. More specifically, The World for All Foundation is witness to the successful, and ongoing, process to build an inclusive, humane society where human dignity is paramount, irrespective of race, language, religion, culture, and gender.
It is against this background, and with the optimism that we can improve the world, that the World for All Foundation has engaged a number of organizations and individuals recently to discuss how we can overcome the many divisions, tensions, conflicts, misunderstandings and suspicions which dominate the global discourse. The particular strength that the World for All Foundation brings is that it has played an important role in the faith discourse – the site of much debate – and is born out of very specific ways in which a Muslim minority in South Africa has emerged from severe challenges to become equal and dignified citizens in South Africa.
The World for all Foundation believes that if we put our heads together, specifically as Muslim communities who constitute minorities, we can share many lessons – from South Africa and elsewhere – so that we do not repeat each other ’s mistake, follow each other ’s long and painful paths to dignity and inclusion, and exacerbate tensions and conflict in our quest for full citizenship wherever we are.
It is out of our analysis of both the global context and specific situations in which Muslims are, that we have begun to identify challenges that require coherent and implementable responses. For this to happen, we need to be talking to each other, sharing mistakes and successes, strategizing broadly for approaches and solutions, and pooling resources-material, human and intellectual – for an implementation plan that can create inclusive and shared societies.
The World for All Foundation is, therefore, proposing a Colloquium of Muslim leaders, scholars and activists, drawn primarily, although not exclusively, from minority contexts, as a platform to engage each other, and as the springboard for a programme of work that can undo tension, suspicion, conflict and misunderstanding, while constructing an atmosphere of understanding, inclusion, co-existence and co-operation for good. This work is urgent, and we need to create a network of structures and people to commence with work urgently.