“ I am deeply impressed and inspired by faith groups… thank you for all you are doing for the community and social welfare. As a consequence faith is flourishing in Britain and faith is on the rise”. These are sentiments and observations of the minister of state for employment and welfare reform Rt. honourable Stephen Timms. He was addressing a conference of more than 100 faith organisations involved in community regeneration and welfare. As an Imam I felt very proud of this commendation. Later that evening I had the privilege of attending a meeting of Christian and Muslim leaders. Who had come together to discuss some quiet sticky points… I thought to myself this will be a real test of the maturity of religious leadership could they live up to these tributes that the minister had paid faith groups earlier that afternoon.
However I was amazed that the Christian and Muslim leaders conducted their meeting with real dignity and wisdom. What could have been an acrimonious negotiation turned into an extremely constructive dialogue.
And I think here is the secret to that success. I noticed that whilst everyone was confidently frank and expressing their own views courageously they were meticulously considerate about the other. In this is a good lesson for us to create a win/ win situation where I remain focused on my self-interests but also pay special attention to the other for the sake of long-term relationships. This reflects a frame of mind that is seeking mutual benefit and this leads to agreements that are mutually satisfying. Both parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to building relationships. This way of thinking I win and you win sees life as a co-operative and not a competitive arena. Sadly lot of the people see life in terms of strong and the weak, win and lose. This is fundamentally flowed. Its based on power and position rather than on principle. Win/win on the other hand is based on the belief that there is plenty for everybody to share and that one groups success is not achieved at the expense of the other.
I too would like to pay tribute to leadership that always thinks win/win for everyone. This is nothing new it’s the way of the Christ and Muhammad may Allah be pleased upon them. Jesus taught “blessed are the peace makers” and Muhammad the prophet of God said “humility brings you more honour”.