Wednesday , July 24 2024

Empowering change: AIMA’s national leadership course

Group photo of the first day participants. Photo: Osayed Cheema.

By Maryam Darmawan

The Australian Islamic Medical Association (AIMA) hosted a leadership course in Brisbane on Saturday 8 – Sunday 9 June, an event featuring many engaging speakers and attended by like-minded individuals from across the country.

Over two days, the attendees were deeply moved by the genuine passion of the speakers and the tireless efforts of those fighting injustice. Their sincerity inspired to serve and uplift the community as dedicated Muslim healthcare professionals and advocates of justice.

The event began with an address by Dr Ashraf Chehata and Dr Muhammad Afzal Kahloon, who reminded us of the importance of setting the right intentions, maintaining a clear end goal, and embodying leadership with Islamic principles.

They underscored the values of servant leadership, accountability, compassion, and excellence—principles that resonated throughout the event and were reflected by each speaker.

Keynote speaker and former South African ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool, delivered a compelling message on the leadership framework needed to navigate a complex world. Drawing from the life of the Prophet (s) and modern leaders like Nelson Mandela, Ambassador Rasool explained that good leadership is primarily driven by soft power.

By establishing ourselves as trustworthy and reliable and practising principled-strategic leadership, we can encourage people to not merely tolerate Islam but embrace it in “a world for all,” ultimately achieving this through peaceful means.

Professor Halim Rane explored the sociopolitical position of Islam in the 21st century and delved into the concept of principled-strategic leadership. He highlighted the importance of forming covenants to foster mutualistic relationships, particularly as we transition into a multi-polar world.

Building on this, Ambassador Rasool stressed the necessity of overcoming binaries and seeking Wasatiyyah, the middle way, to collaborate with those who share our values or goals.

In a similar vein, Dr Nora Amath stressed the need for compassion, reminding us to desire for our brothers and sisters what we would want for ourselves. Dr Salim Memon then explored the components of emotional intelligence, both reinforcing the importance of humanising others, even amidst our differences.

This stood in stark contrast to the methods of dehumanisation and racist disinformation that perpetuate ongoing genocide, as discussed by legal advisor Rita Jabri Markwell. Despite these harsh realities, Ms Markwell emphasised the power of truthful communication and patience in our role as advocates for those who suffer injustice, emboldening us to speak out.

The event was also an excellent opportunity to network with fellow attendees. Healthcare professionals, students, and leaders from various parts of Australia were able to come together to exchange ideas, share experiences, and build connections that will undoubtedly foster future collaborations and initiatives aimed at promoting justice and community well-being.

Throughout the course, it became evident that a shift in narratives is on the horizon. However, we were humbly reminded that Allah does not alter the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. True victory, we understand, lies solely with Allah, the source of all strength.

This reminder not only empowered us but also anchored the concept of leadership in our Muslim identity. The mindset we must adopt, as described by Ambassador Rasool, is vividly mirrored by the Palestinians who pray not for a lighter burden, but for stronger shoulders.

This was powerfully illustrated by Dr Aziz Bhimani, whose accounts of his experiences while serving in Gaza left us speechless as we witnessed the profound devastation wrought by such brutality. Yet, it was the unwavering resilience of Gazans that stirred many more hearts, inspiring steadfast support for humanity.

Overall, the AIMA leadership course in Brisbane was a powerful and transformative experience, reinforcing our commitment to servant leadership. The insights gained and the stories shared have equipped us with the tools and inspiration to lead with integrity and purpose.

As we move forward, we are more determined than ever to make a meaningful impact in our communities and beyond, striving to create a world rooted in justice and compassion.

AIMA’s Leadership Course was generously sponsored by Hejaz, Platinum Sponsor. Hejaz’s support was instrumental in the process of empowering future leaders and ensuring the success of this event.

AIMA also extends its gratitude to MIPS, Bronze Sponsor, for their valuable contribution.

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