Following letter was hand delivered to the Mosque Chairman on 7 Nov 2013
Mr Qamar Javed
7 November 2013
To: Haji Mohammed Banaras – Chairman (hand delivered)
Jamme Masjid Ghausia – Reading Islamic Centre (Mosque)
50-52 South Street, Reading RG1 4QU
CC: (1) Ms. Jo Lovelock, Leader of the Council, Reading Borough Council (emailed)
(2) Mr. Manzoor Hussain, Chairman, Pakistan Community Centre Reading (emailed)
(3) Charity Commission (emailed)
Management Committee in Breach of the Mosque Constitution
Dear Mr. Haji Banaras,
I write this letter in my capacity as a member of the current committee, as a current Land Trustee and as a long standing member of the Mosque organisation. As you are aware, over half of the current Committee Members, including myself, have not been invited to any Committee Meetings for approximately 2 years.
This letter of complaint is on behalf of all the committee members (who have not been invited to any meetings), the general members of the mosque, and the senior founding members.
The main complaints are listed below in simple terms with relevant dates to avoid any ambiguity or confusion. I have also proposed solutions to resolve the current issues in order to regain public confidence.
Firstly, I wish to raise serious concerns about the Management Committee not operating according to the Mosque constitution and its disregard for the legitimate rights of its members and the public for information.
Second, due to lack of transparency and accountability, I wish to make the supporters of our organisation and wider community aware of the current issues and challenges facing the organisation.
1. Requests for Committee Elections which were due February 2013
The mosque constitution states clearly that Committee Elections are to be held every 3 years. The last elections were held in February 2010, which confirms the next election were due in February 2013. I first raised this issue with you on 1 February 2013 after the Friday prayers, and politely reminded you not to delay the election any further. I am disappointed that to-date there has been no announcement or the reason for the delay in the elections.
- We request
(a) the formal announcement by 6 December 2013 (one month time) of the election date
(b) the actual election date should be a further 2 months after the announcement. For convenience and to give everyone ample time, we feel a good election date would be 26 January 2014.
2. Requests for Membership Forms
I first requested membership forms from you personally on 13 August 2013. Your excuse at the time was that the forms are on the computer and will be printed within few days for distribution. However, to-date membership forms have been withheld. I therefore am of the firm opinion, that this was a deliberate act to delay the distribution of the forms, as this has been requested by several people including myself.
- We welcome the announcement and availability of membership forms within 7 days from the date of this letter.
3. No legal meetings held since January 2012
The last Committee Meeting, in which all members were invited to, was held in January 2012. To refresh your memory, the main topic of discussion at that meeting was the forthcoming Employment Tribunal Court hearing for one of our former employees, Imam Ahmed Raza. It is public knowledge that a month later on 9 February 2012, the Imam won the court case for wrongful dismissal and our organisation suffered financial loss and public embarrassment. Many feel the case was avoidable, had there been a more open and honest approach.
With regards to committee meetings, the constitution clearly states the following:
8.2 The committee shall hold meetings at least once in every calendar month …..
8.3 There shall be a quorum when at least two thirds of the members of the committee are present at any meeting
Presently there are 18 Committee Members, therefore a meeting is only valid if a minimum of 12 members are present. In other words, if 7 or more members are absent, the quorum is not met and the meeting is considered illegal. I confirm the following 9 Committee Members have not attended any Committee Meeting since January 2012:
(1) Abdur Razzaq (2) Ejaz Ahmed (3) Qamar Javed (4) Assif Banaras (5) Azar Qureshi
(6) Ifitkhar Kabir (7) Habib Iqbal (8) Abdur Rahman (9) Sheikh Suleiman
From this we can confirm that, even if all other members attended, any Committee meetings that may have taken place since January 2012 are unconstitutional and hence unrepresentative.
- We would like a written explanation of why no legal monthly meetings have taken place for almost 2 years.
4. No financials figures displayed in Mosque
The mosque is funded by members and public who contribute with financial donations and therefore, have the right to know how these funds and facilities are used and any major issues affecting the Mosque. Contrary to the perception created externally, there has not been any formal update provided to the members or public on important issues such as the purchase of Amity Street property (mid 2010), the wrongful dismissal of Imam Ahmed Raza (Late 2011) or the Green Road Mosque project to name just a few examples.
I have no doubt about the deliberate lack of transparency and accountability that exists in the organisation.
- We would like more openness and accountability.
As to the motives behind the secrecy and delays, we believe you and your ‘inner circle’ is using the Mosque as a platform for personal interests, influence and political ambitions. We believe you have failed in your duties as the Chairman of the Committee and you are operating against the Mosques Constitution. Your ‘secret’ meetings and ‘inner circle’ are not just illegal but embarrassing.
I hope you acknowledge the legitimate grievances outlined in this letter and I look forward to a positive response to restore public confidence in the Mosque Committee and its processes. To this end, a written assurance from you stating that, in principle, you agree to act on the recommendations in this letter without undue delays. If however, I do not receive a positive response within 10 days from date of this letter, then I will have no option but to escalate the complaints directly to appropriate authorities.