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The Community Advocates Panel of the AMP 4   National Convention will be centring their discussion on the following themes:


1) Main theme: Support for Muslim professionals to play more significant roles in strengthening communities
2) Secondary theme: Encouraging Islamic values in promoting advocacy 


It is the nature of the complexity of modern and social life that no one can be an expert on everything. Someone extremely well-versed in the realm of business dealings may not be au fait with the socio-political scene, for instance. Having advocates who deal with various spheres of life concerning the Muslim community would thus be crucial to fill in the knowledge-information gaps. Having more advocates would be useful for the following reasons:

  1. There may be specifics that apply to Muslims which may not be particularly obvious to advocates from other adherents. Business advocates, for instance, would have to contend with Islamically-sound and proper ways; social advocates would have to factor in mind the sentiments of the various groups within the community, and so on.

  2. We strongly believe in the marketplace of ideas: the more advocates there are, the better the competition, and hence, the best ideas would emerge.

  3. Practically, no single advocate, even within a sphere, can cover all the needs and aspirations of the people within that group. Hence it is pertinent to support Muslim professionals, i.e., individuals who are successful in their respective fields with the capacity to advocate, to play more significant roles in strengthening the Muslim community. We believe that Islamic values can strengthen community advocacy and be used to tackle contemporary social issues. Thus, the values ought to be encouraged in promoting advocacy.

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Notable Findings

Research conducted by the Community Advocates Panel has uncovered the following:


Singapore Muslim Professionals in Community Advocacy

  • Current perception among the respondents shows the desire to have more Muslim professionals stepping up to advocate for the community to tap on expertise and knowledge to improve the current economic and social issues.

  • 43% of respondents serve the community through monetary donations, 25% do it through volunteerism, 17% through food distributions, while 14% through mentorship. Majority of them were likely to do so seasonally or monthly and would usually serve the community through personal networks and other non-profits in equal proportions, followed by Muslim organisations and mosques in almost equal proportions as well.

  • According to respondents, Muslim professionals do not join Muslim organisations and mosques for various reasons, such as lack of time, desire for autonomy, and perceptions of being old boys/girls club.



Enabling a More Open Environment for Advocacy

  • One of the main issues that the country faces is self-censorship. Our respondents discussed the fear of reprisal as a significant factor that deters a lot of advocacy work. Scholars have also discussed how activists, journalists, and even ordinary citizens often censor themselves. The apprehension stems from perceptions that activists who are seen to have challenged the state or perceived to be controversial are reprimanded by government leaders.

  • Some respondents have also mentioned the internalisation of stereotypes as another problem that deters advocacy. The myth of the ‘lazy Malay’ is unfortunately still prevalent in some quarters, as is the meritocratic myth, which states, “If you work hard, you will succeed; and if you do not succeed, that means you did not work hard enough”. Beliefs like these would deter people from advocating for the less privileged, since individuals, and not structural factors, would be cited for their problems.



Women as Advocates

  • Muslim women, like other women, have the added burden of cultural-societal expectations: being expected to be working women while juggling their multiple identities. As perceived by our respondents, these hurdles exist and hinder their participation in community advocacy.

  • Additionally, some respondents also expressed that there is almost a disdain on the part of some toward women who choose to be homemakers. We believe this type of condescension is not in line with true equality.



Embrace Social Media, but with Caution

  • Social media has most definitely enabled a culture of narcissism, and it has also affected how advocacy is carried out. According to respondents, it may be that advocates become more interested in social media likes and shares rather than getting things done.

  • The nature of social media may also lead to polarisation, as respondents perceived that advocates may be in their respective silos and echo chambers and may not wish to find solutions on complex issues that cut across different interest groups, hence requiring significant compromise.

  • The lack of adab or etiquette when conversing online is another issue the panel would like to iterate. As perceived by respondents, the absence of an ‘agreeing to disagree, and to be passionate without being disrespectful’ culture has inhibited constructive discussions.

Islamic Values in Advocacy

  • Community advocates have raised concerns over their struggle to make sense of the Islamic elements that are relevant to the causes they are advocating for, due to a lack of expertise and guidance, across both controversial and non-controversial issues. They worry about making the wrong Islamic decision that may result in divisions within the community.

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