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Imams Fair Wage Campaign
Today, Imams Online has officially launched its Fair Wage Campaign for Imams which hopes to spark a much needed conversation in the Muslim community around the role of a 21st Century British Imam and the establishment of defined duties and viable remuneration that will help legitimise the role, support and reward Imams for their hard work and enthuse young seminary graduates in pursuing it as a career.
Role of a 21st Century Imam
The graphic below outlines what the role of a 21st British Imam should encompass.
Click to Enlarge
As stated above, the role and responsibilities of an Imam in 21st Century Britain has changed over the last few years. With the advent of new age communication and a growing generation of young Muslims eager for religious guidance and a contextual understanding of their faith, the expectations on the Imam has grown.
Whereas initial Muslim migration to the UK would have been content with the Imam that lead them in the 5 daily prayers, today’s society requires a faith leader that provides a holistic service within the Mosque and effective engagement and representation outside.
Professional Rights of the Imam
Taking into the account the duties and expectations of the Imam in contemporary society, it is crucial that employers i.e Mosques and Islamic Centres, afford them their employment rights as laid down in a formal contractual agreement between the Imam and his employer.
The professionalisation of the Imam as a career is crucial. Given what is expected of an Imam, it is only fair that there is an agreement between him and the Mosque/Islamic Centre on the terms of his employment and the correct procedures around grounds for dismissal and reporting grievances.
Below highlights some of the key rights that need to be afforded to an Imam in their initial contract:
- Clearly define when employment begins
- Clear working hours per week
- Details of key expected duties in addition to leading prayer
- Clearly defined p/a remuneration and method of payment
- Holiday entitlement per year and rate of pay (including bank holidays)
- Sickness/injury pay and conditions
- ‘Notice of Termination’ period for employer and employee
- Grievance procedures as stated in statutory rights
- Understanding of procedures and grounds for dismissal
- Clear pension schemes available
Salary of a 21st Century British Imam
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Arguably the biggest grievance from today’s Imams is that their commitment and hard work is not accurately reflected in their salary.
If we accept that the role and responsibilities of Imams has changed and if as a community, we are committed to encouraging young seminary graduates to pursue this as a viable career, it is crucial that salaries are reflective of this and consider the housing and familial obligations an Imam also has.
In a recent analysis by ‘MuslimView’ that looked into Imams pay, it found that the in addition to being paid well below the national average (currently at £28,000), Imam salaries were not informed by pay scales and their employment rarely involved any opportunities for professional development and additional training.
The salary grievance of Imams is a perennial issue that needs to be addressed. We cannot begin to talk about respecting other if this is not a principle we apply to our leaders.
The graphic above highlights the current average salary of a variety of different professions in the UK. Within this context and considering the evolving roles of an Imam, it is important that we establish benchmark figures for an Imams salary and provide increases based on experience.
The ‘Fair Wage Campaign’ hopes to act as a catalyst for discussions around defining the role of a 21st Century British Imam and instilling into Mosques and Islamic Centres the need to professionalise the employment practices concerning them.
It is crucial that Imams are respected for the hard work, commitment and services they provide to the community.