I have had the pleasure of attending the UK conference and would like to put down my thoughts on the subject while they are still fresh.
This was a 3-day conference organized by Edip, Arnold and Meco (a UK organization in Oxford)...my thoughts as follows:
What made the conference succeed?
- The atmosphere...the atmosphere was one of family, unity, and honesty...Meeting the participants was a wonderful and rewarding experience which gave the feeling these were people I had known for many years - not a few days.
- The "passion"...passion for God and His words ensured that the conference remained on focus even though its organization and speakers sometimes drifted.
- The “Knowledge”...although the topics drifted sometimes, and the debates got heated, the level of maturity and knowledge ensured that the Quran was always the subject of focus.
- Honesty...What people felt was what they spoke. There were no hidden agendas, lost of "straight talk" which was comforting.
Areas of improvement:
- The organization...Speakers being changed from the agenda or inserted was interesting in that it made the conference “unpredictable” but did have a negative effect of sidetracking those who followed the schedule.
- Wrong association...A conference on God needs not be involved with media attention but can be more productive in focussing on the core issues. Clearly this was “Meco’s” fault and such associations need to be carefully considered in the future.
- Too many topics...3 days and so many topics was quite overwhelming. A lesser agenda with more time for core issues could have been better use of time (democracy, evolution, science, gender, Jewish torah, future plans, etc..?!).
My warmest regards to Edip, Arnold, and all the other organizers and participants who are an inspiration to what it is to be a Mumin according to the Quran and whom it was a privilege to meet and know such brave and dynamic individuals.