More than two thousand youth and prominent educationists from all over India participated in the 27th annual convention organized by the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin in cooperation with FLAME, a Bihar-based educational institution devoted to the educational betterment of the state with special focus on the Muslim community.
The convention was inaugurated by the chairman of the Bihar Legislative Council and concluded by the Speaker of the state assembly. some 100 students from all over India were given gold, silver and bronze medals for their achievement.
The convention heard distinguished speakers from different fields of education on several issues. However, the one that was the highlight of the convention was a session on using the interest money that Muslims do not collect from their bank accounts. The main speaker of the session was Maualana Arshad Madani, the prominent Muslim scholar and leader.
Maualana Madani said that usury is not permissible, but Muslims cannot leave the money earned as interest in the banks who can use it at their discretion. He said that the money should be collected and used for welfare and educational purposes as long as the intention is not to earn a divine reward for that. He said that money cannot be used for personal needs.
It is said that Indian banks have some 220 billion unclaimed dollars annually of which 20 percent come from the Muslim community that does collect it. Maulana Arshad urged the community to use this amount for helping the poor and the needy without the intention of getting a divine reward.
Other sessions included educational empowerment of women, challenges in using social media,
AFMI holds two annual conventions, one in India and the other in the US and Canada, In India, it has been distributing awards to high achievers from the community. This year, the AFMI identified the two toppers from non-Muslims also and awarded them Gold medals.
Some 27 years ago, when the organization started distributing the awards, the achievers were scoring on an average 75 percent marks in higher secondary and secondary examinations. In 2018 convention the toppers were in 99 percent range, a big improvement.
AFMI is the only organization that has brought Muslim students from all over India at one platform. So far it has awarded students from 25 of the 29 states of India reaching to 400 plus districts out of 699 districts.
The next annual convention of AFMI would be in Bhuvneshwar in the eastern state of Odissa.