This episode of The Call Out will be the first of an ongoing series that will look at The Australian Federation Of Islamic Councils (AFIC), its history, effectiveness and future.
What we seek to do in this focus on AFIC is not to look at the behaviour of any individuals per se but the organisation itself. Further, we will put forward recommendations that we believe can be used to start a genuine process of review and reformation of the organisation.
While there are differing opinions on whether such a body is needed or not, our view is in the camp that says it is. Often it is the historical failures of AFIC that lead people to suggest we can get by without it. That is certainly true of the organisation as it has been but a properly functional and representative national body for the Muslim community we believe would bring significant benefits.
In this episode we essentially consider three aspects of the AFIC situation. Firstly, what is the purpose of a national peak body and how effective has AFIC been in recent years in meeting that purpose. Secondly, we look at the Structure of AFIC, explain the key components of how it operates and highlight some of the problems with the current situation. Finally, we discuss some important issues with respect to Governance. In each section we then provide recommendations to start the conversation off.
A summary of the recommendations we make in this episode is listed below:
Purpose of AFIC
The principle role of AFIC should be to
- Represent the interests of the Muslim community in respect to those matters that impact on the ability of Muslims to practice their faith in freedom and safety
- Foster an environment that allows Muslims to demonstrate the value of Islamic beliefs and practices to society generally
- Provide the material and intellectual infrastructure to enable the Muslim community to actualise its potential, be able to respond to important social issues and influence public policy to the benefit of all society.
Structure & Voting
- AFIC EXCO should NOT have a vote in elections
- ALL positions should be voted upon
- There needs to be a proportional voting system that reflects the demographics of the community
- Support for small and regional areas should be prioritised but not through voting.
- There should be a representative of ANIC appointed to the AFIC EXCO
- Office holders are not to receive any payment other than actual expenses incurred that have been pre-approved and for which AFIC itself was unable to pay directly.
- All expenses paid to office holders to be itemised and tabled for review at each Federal Council meeting and Federal Congress.
- No current member of a State Council Exec, or a person who had been a member within the previous 12 months of a State Council Exec, to be employed by AFIC, or any related body, for any role.
- No member of the current AFIC Exec, or a person who held a position on the AFIC Exec within the last 2 years, to be employed by AFIC or a related body in any capacity.
- AFIC maintain a register of interests where all corporate, business and other financial interests of AFIC Exco members is maintained and available for review at each Congress.
- AFIC provide a public response to each and every finding of the Deloitte Report.
- The Call Out: LIVE: AFIC – Recent Developments and Future Relevance (Interview with Br Ali Kadri – the newly appointed Treasurer of AFIC, June 30, 2016)
- ABC News: Muslim state councils accused of running unaccountable ‘dictatorships’ (27 Jun 2015)
- AFIC Magazine – Jan 2015
- More files coming soon