CIMS Convention 2021 item 2: Breakout focus group sessions
After a break for the noon prayer and lunch, the delegates reconvened for a dynamic and innovative session, designed review some of the previous CIMS discussions, by bringing an assortment of views to the surface.
The attendees were split into five groups, each consisting of between five and six participants and facilitated by an assigned chairperson. The groups were asked to discuss two concepts: what contentious presumptions might exist within their own denominations, about Muslims from other denominations; and what misconceptions they believed existed regarding their own denomination, among members of the wider Muslim community.
The session culminated with a roundtable discussion presenting some of the salient ideas that had emerged as a result of the discussions within the respective groups.
The general feedback, from the participants’ experiences, was that this setting allowed differing views to surface in an empathetic and intimate way, thereby allowing more understanding to grow amongst the participants from differing denominational backgrounds. Contributors described the exercise as a thoroughly rewarding experience.
Among the topics discussed were the issues of the belief in ʿisma, the performance of takfῑr, sensitive aspects of history, the theological appreciation of the Quran and its essence, the evoking of hateful sentiments from preaching platforms and the experience of religious sectarian identities being shaken as a result of self-critical thought.
The fact that many of the above issues, have either been tackled or discussed tangentially in CIMS’ previous sessions – and are now available online for wider viewing, is a testament to the growing success of the CIMS platform. The exercise also helped the convening board recognise the areas upon which more extensive discussion is required