MECO Mission Statement
A diverse group of forward-looking Muslim academics, entrepreneurs, professionals, retirees, students and other Oxford residents have joined hands to set up a voluntary philanthropic association, the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford (MECO) with the objective of addressing the present and future needs of the community. In view of Oxford’s prominence as a centre of learning and its growing Muslim population, practical steps need to be undertaken now to ensure sustained progress and direction in the decades ahead.
For these reasons, MECO is dedicated to the establishment of a distinctive, progressive and pluralistic Muslim centre in Oxford. This British institution, while conforming to the original Islamic teachings of the Holy Qur’an, will be multi-cultural, non-sexist and inter-denominational in concept and character. It is a home for everyone who shares its inclusive, modern and enlightened vision and values.MECO’s multi-purpose centre will foster open-mindednes, tolerance and social cohesion for British Muslims by encouraging their effective integration into the UK mainstream. Apart from its role as a haven for thinking Muslims, this institution will generate a spirit of debate and inquiry and pioneer a vibrant and inspirational Islam that is rooted in and relevant to 21st century Britain.
In this connection:
• MECO is not identified by or connected to any specific ethnic, racial or linguistic group. It is wholly autonomous, multi-national, non-sectarian and ecumenical in orientation and operation.
• MECO is an independent body with no affiliation to any existing madhab (school of thought) or ulama (clergy) and does not engage in juristic conflicts arising from the variant interpretations of Islam or brand other people as heretics, apostates or unbelievers.
• MECO strongly endorses gender-equity, philosophical diversity and theological pluralism while consciously working for social justice and mutual tolerance within all sectors of British society.
• MECO upholds ideological tolerance, inclusiveness and coherent thinking amongst British Muslims and nurtures meaningful dialogue, interaction and harmony with all non-Muslims.
• MECO reaffirms the imperative for Ijtihad (analytical reasoning) in contemporary Islam to acquire new guidance and fresh inspiration from the transcendent Qur’an and the subordinate prophetic traditions (ahadith).
• MECO’s governing body is comprised of balanced representation from both men and women, and it reflects the broad spectrum of Oxford’s heterogeneous Muslim community.
• Women are co-equal within all of MECO’s administrative structures and have full access to and equal participation in all meetings, prayers, functions and events.
• With the exception of prayers and invocations in Arabic, English is the language of MECO.
• MECO actively welcomes new Muslim converts and seeks to fully integrate British Muslims into the wider society as well as pursue mutually beneficial outreach initiatives with the general public.
• MECO conducts an extensive range of religious, educational and intellectual programmes, as well as social, cultural and sports activities designed to enhance knowledge, illumination and social solidarity amongst like-minded Muslims throughout the country.
• MECO holds regular Friday (Jumu’ah) congregational prayers in North Oxford in English, which are open to all men and women. Non-Muslim visitors are especially welcomed.
• MECO organises intensive weekly Qur’an seminar classes providing critical reading of the primary sources as well as classical commentary and contemporary analyses of the Sacred Scripture. The objective is to advance rational debate and robust discussion within 21st century British Islam.
• MECO arranges public lectures and workshops of relevance to British Muslims.
MECO welcomes all like-minded Muslims in Oxford (and elsewhere) to work together to create this innovative nstitution and project an authentic portrait of Islam in Britain. By joining and supporting MECO, you will be fostering a pristine faith that is based upon reason and tolerance, upon erudition and enlightenment, upon progress and pluralism. In this way, you can contribute to bringing about a much-needed rejuvenation within British Muslim society and help secure the future of rational Islam in this country.