With the increasing dissatisfaction of young people and conflicting self-identity within the Muslim community, we believe there is a need for an organisation to guide young people through a challenging time in their lives to achieve their potential. The FairMind Social enterprise is being set up in the memory of my Father who sadly passed away in 2013 after a life devoted to helping those in need. The people who knew him could undoubtedly fill volumes with stories about his life and work – his staunch defence of human rights, his unwavering quest for knowledge and his formidable debating skills to name a few. Personally, his gift to me was an understanding of the need for critical thinking and this forms the cornerstone to our organisation.
Critical thinking and religious faith are not mutually exclusive. We believe that both have a place in a well balanced approach to our daily lives, both are important to deal with challenges we may face and both are necessary if we are to fulfil the potential with which each of us is born.
There is a myriad of religious teaching from the spectrum of faiths that exist across the globe. The majority of this teaching has a common theme of social responsibility in various guises. Indeed these teachings are not solely found within a religious framework. They can be argued to be the very core on which humanity is built, as individuals who would refuse having any religious affiliation show the same characteristics. At the same time, this is not to deny the unique theological aspects of different faiths which are championed by their proponents. We are proud to have an Islamic ethos central to our organisation and look forward to working closely with members of the Muslim community as well as those of other faiths and those without religious affiliation.
Religion gives us a framework for social cohesion. It fosters a sense of community spirit and appeals to our gregarious nature as human beings. However, the rigid hierarchical structure within religious circles that was deemed necessary prior to the information age has no place in today’s global knowledge driven society. With the dawning of the information age, there is no reason for us to remain paupers depending on the hand-outs of ideas and opinions from a select few. To close ourselves away from the abundance and accessibility of knowledge would be a tragedy, whilst to follow it compulsively would be foolhardy. Everyone now has the potential to use a scholarly approach in all aspects of their lives.
For this reason, the FairMind social enterprise has been set up to empower individuals with the tools necessary for independent critical thinking, whilst maintaining a socially responsible focus. Speaking plainly: Be not afraid to ask questions, be not afraid to stand out from the crowd and be not afraid to do the right thing.
We hope to help you achieve your potential.
Dr. Amina Dawoodji, DPhil.