Ramadan / April 2022
RAMADAN MUBARAK AND THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR KINDNESS
We would like to sincerely thank all of you, our funders, sympathisers, friends of Convert Muslim Foundation and all who feel our work is deserving of your support. There are no words that can suitably express our gratitude. We hope that this overview of the work done and what we have yet to accomplish will compel you to continue your kind generosity towards supporting existing and future projects. All our work is directed towards those intending to and who have already converted to Islam and to assisting in their continued support and wellbeing. May Allah bless you all by recording your generosity as a Sadaqa Jariyah considering the continuing benefit your donation has to this generation of converts to Islam and their future families – Thank you!
We wish you all a very blessed Ramadan and pray that you will reap the rewards promised throughout its days and nights. Please do remember the CMF and its work in your Prayers and Du’a.
RESETTLEMENT & REHABILITATION
At the height of the Covid pandemic, and during a brief lull in the lockdown restrictions in October 2020, the Convert Muslim Foundation held a weekend programme based around the plight of the alarming numbers of Muslims in UK prisons. Importantly, for CMF as an organisation that supports those who convert to Islam, the forms of support which can be provided to the growing numbers of prisoners who convert to Islam while serving both short and long-term prison sentences, required discussion. The attached report was published and, together with other research, will form the backdrop to a series of online meetings with stakeholders to establish collaborative initiatives that will address the concerns highlighted.
RESEARCH & PUBICATONS
The Convert Muslim Foundation and the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, University of Cardiff have signed an MOU to conduct research within the field of British Muslim Studies, specifically on the subject of Muslim converts in Britain. Our hope is that this unique area of research, pertaining to the leadership roles of Muslim converts in a broad range of social and religious spheres and their contribution to the ‘indigenisation’ of Islam in Britain, will add value to the existing body of research on Conversion to Islam and conversion narratives. Interviews for this post-doctoral research will begin shortly with a research timescale of three years in duration.
Post-Doctoral Research Project – Job Description….
Memorandum of Understanding
This collaborative agreement was made on Date: 21.10.2021
CONVERT CARE WEBSITE
The Convert Muslim Foundation, having conducted a national mapping exercise of those Muslim Organisation’s and individual who provide convert care, have established a new and innovative website: www.convertcare.org
The website provides new Muslims, and those interested in Islam, easy access to registered convert care providers. Each provider can be contacted directly to get the support required towards meeting short and long-term needs. For more information, please check out our NEW website: www.convertcare.org
Convert Muslim Foundation continues to direct those who contact them on a daily basis to their nearest convert care facility and assist them towards finding suitable guidance and support. If, having checked out this website you know of a facility that does not appear there, please do kindly get in touch and let us know: email@example.com
QATAR ARABIC SCHOLARSHIPS
The Convert Muslim Foundation continues to work with its colleagues at Qatar University who have nominated CMF as one of the organisations selected as a beneficiary for the award of one annual scholarship to their Arabic Program for Non-native Speakers (ANNS) for the academic year 2022/2023. Our current scholarship student, convert to Islam, Irina, is already mid-way through the academic year 2021/2022 while the newly nominated student, Emily, is already working through the scholarship application process for the academic year 2022/2023. This is a truly wonderful opportunity which each student places tremendous value and for which CMF are hugely grateful.
Our current student Irina had this to say about her first semester: Read Irina Story.
The Convert Muslim Foundation were fortunate to receive a kind donation of £500 with a request that it was used to purchase a suitable book that would form part of an ideal reading list or Gift Pack for those new to Islam. Based on consultation, 50 copies of ‘Being Muslim: A Practical Guide’ by Dr Asad Tarsin were purchased and delivered FREE to 5 Convert Care facilitators in packs of 10. These included New Beginnings, Cambridge New Muslims, City Retreat Leicester, Edinburgh New Muslims, with others posted out to individual New Muslims around the UK. The CMF have placed an order for 500 copies of this title, Being Muslim, for FREE distribution to prisons all over the UK and, though these have been delayed due to COVID and shipping issues with the USA, we remain confident that we can and will deliver, God Willing.
SEERAH UMRAH TOUR for Converts to Islam – ‘In the Footsteps of Muhammed’ SAW
This unique programme, just completed, was a collaborative initiative between the Convert Muslim Foundation and Dometours International. The aim of the tour was that those taking part would not only have the blessed opportunity to perform Umrah but would also be immersed in the Seerah – the history of early Islam, the life of Rasul (SAW) and the events that surrounded this truly unique period in our collective identity as Muslims. Walking tours of the immediate areas surrounding the Haram in Makkah and Madinah, walking in the footsteps of Rasul (SAW) to Quba Mosque which he did most Saturday mornings after Fajr Salah, bus tours to significant Mosques, museums and places of interest were included in the programme.
Such an event is of vital importance to converts to Islam who have found that visiting the sacred sites and performing the pilgrimages, both Hajj and Umrah, to be a grounding experience that helped them find their spiritual home.
This year’s Umrah took place from 10th – 20th February while next year’s Umrah is already under discussion!
The Convert Muslim Foundation distributed the sum of £5,000 in amounts of up to £250 to needy converts to Islam who requested financial support. The funds were kindly donated by well-wishers, particularly those who wish to revive the category of Zakat mentioned in the Qur’an, Al-Mu'allafatu Qulubuhum – the support of those who have converted to Islam. We would like to express our very sincere thanks to the kindness of the donors and hope that they will reap the rewards of this as a Sadaqa Jariyah in this life and in the next.
TELEPHONE, TELEGRAM OR… TELL A FRIEND
When a call comes through to the Convert Muslim Foundation it is usually someone looking for assistance, for direction, for a sympathetic ear. Conversations can go on for up to one hour, and over, as we get beyond the initial awkwardness and show real empathy. What is confidentially shared is often much more than what is initially envisioned and people engage to the point that the CMF responder and the caller, a stranger, seem to have known each other for ever - and they have really because, more often than not, we have all embarked on the same journey and this is what is unique in the provision of Convert Care. Both have made a similar journey and, no matter how many years or how much time has elapsed for one side or the other, we are seeing and hearing a reflection of ourselves. The Convert Care facility – the website and the information presented there is a wonderful tool that we can direct our callers to after we have alleviated fears, calmed anxious souls and had a heart-to-heart conversation that assures the caller that we are here to help, to listen, to support. Our phones are on alert 24/7 and we try to give of our best to every caller – male or female.
EID Ul ADHA PICNIC IN THE PARK
As the country emerged from lockdown which prevented us from having a much sought-after collective Ramadan Retreat in 2021, the Convert Muslim Foundation had resort yet again, to an on-line event. We decided however, that the new rules which came into position just before Eid Ul Adha, would allow us to hold an open air, socially distanced, Eid Picnic. This was welcomed with great excitement and the turn out reflected the need for Converts to Islam to regroup and to spend some valuable time together refreshing relationships and sharing time, food and prayer together. A good time was had by all!
UPCOMING PROJECTS AND EVENTS
Upon making the huge step to accept Islam and taking the Shahadah, one thing is for certain, life will never be the same again. Unfortunately, many people are not prepared for the changes that will take place making their journey in Islam painful instead of pleasing and chaotic instead of calming. This is where the help of a companion is invaluable.
The goal of this project is to create a robust method to connect new Muslims with a suitable companion, who can sensitively guide them to advance their faith and knowledge without judgement and in safe space.
While there are already examples of mentoring for New Muslims in existence the Faithful Companions project aims to bring more structure through setting standards and parameters, providing training and guidance to those wishing to mentor so that there is a greater understanding of what it is New Muslims need and how to achieve this in sha Allah.
Watch this space for details of this in the coming months.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
As collaborators with Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK and with respect to CMF’s Health and Wellbeing project we would like to draw attention to a FREE online course – Understanding Muslim Mental Health – Please do take advantage of this opportunity so that Convert Care facilitators arrive at a fuller understanding of mental health and are better equipped to address its effects within the convert Muslim community. The course begins in May 2022. Please follow the link:
ONGOING ANNUAL EVENTS
This annual event has been an online Zoom initiative for the past two years. Fortunately, this year the Convert Muslim Foundation are able to have a gathering in person for which we are thrilled and delighted. However, this means that attendance will be higher than usual and of course there will be a huge demand on accommodation which may be bolstered by providing information on local hotels and B&B’s. We will do our very best to facilitate attendance for everyone who wants to join us. The event will take place on the weekend of 22nd – 24th April 2022 at the Markfield Conference Centre, LE67 9SY.
UPCOMING EVENTS - planned for the future include Radio Ramadan; New to Islam Residential Weekends; Oral Histories Project, Collaborative Seminars with Convert Care Providers and ‘Caravan of Converts’ events – the first of which we hope to hold in the June of 2022.
NEW TEAM MEMBER
The Convert Muslim Foundation are pleased to announce our newest team member and a valued addition to our staff, Ms Kerry Mannan, to the position of Executive Officer. A convert of 16 years, mum of 2 teenagers, as well as 5 years of experience in the field of New Muslim Support Kerry joined CMF in July of 2021.
In the course of time, we hope to add new and innovative staff members and a valued volunteer base to our team as we continue to grow and develop the organisation and bring to fruition the many projects we have in the pipeline. If you have a passion and energy for this work and have particular skills you feel you can bring to the table, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org