On Friday March 24, 2017, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin TUS graced the first press meet by a Dai-l-Mutlaq in recent Dawat history. Syedna Fakhruddin’s presence and dialogue was immensely impactful and left an impression of confidence, clarity, vision, strength and graciousness on everyone’s heart.
The press meet began with an introduction to Dr Fehmida Ben Chipty who emceed the event: she is a graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, she is a practicing Gastroenterologist for 20 years in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and she is the Mas’ul in Boston. Dr Fehmida Ben introduced Mr Anand Desai: the lawyer representing Syedna Fakhruddin TUS in the succession case, a leading, award winning lawyer in India, and founder of DSK Legal which today has 13 partners, 6 associate partners and over 100 lawyers across offices in Mumbai, Dehli and Pune. Mr Desai made a brief statement about the main issues and fundamentals of the succession suit in the Bombay High Court. Mr Desai answered questions concerning the status of the case and the evidence presented by Syedna Qutbuddin supporting his Nass.
After Mr Desai’s statement Dr Fehmida Ben introduced Syedna Fakhruddin. She highlighted Maulana’s unparalleled accomplishments in deen and dunya and offered gratitude for his compassionate guidance and courageous vision that he has charted for Mumineen, especially after the wafaat of Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin RA.
Syedna Fakhruddin delivered a 15-minute speech about the strong legacy of leadership in Dawoodi Bohra history, highlighting the clarity and sincerity of the mission of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA, and Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin RA. Syedna Fakhruddin stated that leadership is not just about “staying with the times,” but about being “ahead of the times.” Syedna also explained that religion is not only about prayer, but about achieving one’s full potential in this world as well as in the next – while fulfilling our responsibilities towards others, especially the less fortunate. Syedna Fakhruddin outlined his vision for the community: bringing women at par to men in higher education, accountability and transparency in governance, a scale of piety and goodness and not wealth and power. Syedna then answered questions from journalists about the future of the community, khafz, the court case, and many other matters.
A large number of print and digital media outlets reported on the press meet including Times of India, DNA, Free Press Journal, Mid-Day, India Today, Business Standard, the Hindu, Asian Age among others. A selection of the articles are published on FatemiDawat.com. This is an excerpt from the article published in India Today, Transparency in religious affairs will help community: Syedna:
"I want the Dawoodi Bohra community to live in peace and harmony," said Syedna Fakhruddin at his first press conference after he was anointed as the 54th Dai al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohra Community on November 8, 2015 by his father and the then spiritual leader.
Syedna was speaking on the alleged growing disharmony within the community regarding the succession of the religious head of the community.
The Bombay High Court had recently allowed the plea by Syedna Taher Fakhruddin Saheb seeking to continue the succession battle initiated by his late father Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin Saheb against Shahzada Muffadal Saifuddin over the title of Dai al-Mutlaq or Syedna -- the religious leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community.
Speaking about the division of loyalties among the community members, Syedna Fakhruddin said, "My community members understand what we stand for -- our morals, ethics and principles. I trust them to make an informed decision as to their faith and leadership."
Syedna Fakhruddin said, "We have full faith in Indian courts and believe that they will rule in (favaour of) the truth, in the interest of the community. We would like to expedite the matter in the court in the best interests of the community."
"My effort would be to bring all the people of the community together and propagate that Dawoodi Bohra members are part of India. My father did the same and I would continue to follow suit," Syedna Fakhruddin said.
"We (members of the community) are very progressive and I want them to be ahead of time," the Syedna said.
Inshallah video excerpts from the press meet will be published soon.