The 30th annual NASIMCO conference was held on Saturday, June 5th, 2010 in Toronto. The main focus of the conference was caring under the theme of "Care to care?"
The address by the President of NASIMCO, Br. Gulamabbas Najafi highlighted the achievements of NASIMCO during the past year, in particular the success of the various Leadership Development Programs (LDPs) that have stimulated the exploration of new avenues and brought about changed outlooks. In addition, he drew attention to the close working relationships that have been developed between NASIMCO and its member Jamaats and the benefits arising from them. The President concluded by posing a question as to whether or not the community truly cares and welcomed discussions and action items on this topic.
Dr. Asgharali Moledina, the President of the World Federation, then addressed the conference and after emphasizing the pertinence of the conference theme, he elaborated on two main points. The first was to strengthen the care and education given in Madressahs to children and youth; the second was the necessity of having a resident Alim and therefore a "base" in all North American Jamaats. Both of these, he stressed would progress the community forward in its spiritual and religious strength. Thereafter, Br. Shabir Najafi, the Vice President of the Africa Federation, gave a brief speech, the focus of which was the working relationship between NASIMCO and Africa Federation towards the eradication of poverty and the betterment and enhancement of the youth.
Before the Conference heard from the two guest speakers, they were enlightened by a short video presentation entitled "NASIMCO Cares". It showcased the different ways in which NASIMCO, as an organization, cares for the community through its various initiatives and activities.
"Caring" was narrowed down to caring for people with disabilities during the Discussion Forums. Two angles were explored. The first was "A Proactive Approach to Caring" where the attitudes of people in general and the community at large towards disabilities were brought into the open and tackled. The second concentrated more on the practical aspect towards the issue, including the action that can be taken to make those with disabilities able to participate easily and cohesively in community events.
The outcome of the addresses and workshops that ensued indicated that although many new centers are equipped with the required accessibility, there are no provisions for the more "hidden" disabilities. For example, those with hearing impairments or cognitive disabilities are hardly accommodated. There were recommendations for Jamaats to hold workshops to educate their members in order to change mindsets in relation to the concept, as well as to raise general awareness.
Sayyid Mohammed Rizvi, the Resident Alim of Toronto Jamaat, concluded the contemplations on this subject by giving an overview of caring from an Islamic perspective. His address was an important reminder to all that caring is a strong Islamic concept.
A constitutional amendment had been submitted that proposed the creation of a Presidential Advisory Committee that would be a parallel body to the current Executive Committee. After due consideration and dialogue on the subject, the amendment was put to a secret ballot and was defeated by majority vote.
The Census and Skills Database Form that will be launched by NASIMCO later in the year was presented. The purpose of the form is to obtain a census of the North American community and the skills or professions within the membership. Various suggestions were made by the floor in amending the form; these will be reviewed before the form is circulated to all Jamaats.
NASIMCO is working in partnership with the World Federation to launch a Women's Needs Assessment survey. A presentation on the progress of the assessment and the necessity of it was made and concluded with many positive remarks and suggestions.
A report on the World Federation Extraordinary Conference, which detailed the deliberations and outcomes that took place in Dar-es-Salaam in May, was also presented. In it, those present were enlightened as to NASIMCO's standpoint on the main issues addressed at the Extraordinary Conference.
Finally, the Ottawa Pact was restated and Jamaats were shown the importance of including the mediation clause in their respective constitutions. NASIMCO has many resources to offer for the member Jamaats to utilize in order to achieve this.
The Conference yielded worthwhile deliberations on the tabled agenda items. Much was accomplished and the doors to realize identified goals were opened. NASIMCO looks forward to working with its member Jamaats to accomplish a higher level of care in the Shia community of North America.