Mohammad Ayub Haque is an electrical engineer by profession. After working in Dubai for more than three decades and being president of Nepalese Muslim Society for Culture and Development there for three consecutive terms, Haque came to Qatar.
In the past five years, Haque has always been in the forefront of social activities, and is the newly elected president of Nepalese Muslim Society-Qatar (NMS). Community recently caught up with Haque and talked about NMS and its activities. Excerpts:
When and why NMS was established in Qatar? What are its objectives and activities?
NMS was established in 2009 with a vision to support the most marginalised communities in Nepal. We work for the benefit of the Nepalese community, both in Nepal as well as abroad. We strive and work for spiritual, educational, social and economic empowerment of Nepalese Muslims; and, we aim to work to improve bilateral ties between Nepal and Qatar with a focus on tourism.
How many Nepalese Muslims are working in Qatar? Is their condition same or different from those with other ethnic/religious background?
Well, approximately 70,000 Nepalese Muslims are currently working in Qatar. Our team is working to meet them and make them aware of our organisation. The condition of Muslims is similar to those from other ethnic/religious backgrounds.
How does NMS work with the community and also collaborate with other Nepalese community organisations?
We host activities with mutual co-ordination with our working committee, the Nepalese Muslim community and other organisations. We are providing scholarships to poor students and financially supporting marriages of orphaned girls. NMS collaborates with National Muslim Struggle Alliance — Nepal (NMSA) and is also working to secure the rights of Muslims in the constitution of Nepal.
How is it different from working in Nepal, organisation wise, as Muslims are minority in Nepal in comparison to Qatar?
We Muslims are in extremely small number in corporate and civil service sectors in Nepal. The Qatari workplaces are more of cosmopolitan nature; we work together with people from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Here, we have a lot to learn from others, and we frequently share our ideas and experiences which we lack in Nepal. Qatar can give us the most valuable professional information on infrastructural development.
How does NMS provide social and humanitarian services to Nepal and how does it support migrant workers?
We were the first organisation in Qatar to provide relief materials to Nepal after the earthquake of 2015 in co-ordination with the Nepalese embassy. Likewise, we are continuously supporting migrant workers with legal documentation, and help in repatriating them back to Nepal if there were any workplace disputes.
How is NMS working to strengthen bilateral ties between Nepal and Qatar?
There was a time when very few locals were interested about the tourist destination of Nepal. We are continuously making an effort to promote Nepal as the place to go. We have cordial relationship with ministries and other state bodies to promote tourism in Nepal. We are also associated with FIFA 2022 project and get involved with traffic awareness programmes.
Do you have any message to Nepalese workers in Qatar?
I want reiterate that we are known for our honesty, dedication and hard work. We are not only shaping Qatar, but are also proud of and contributing to our homeland. The remittances we send support our families and our country’s economy. I would like to appeal to Nepalese Muslims in Qatar to come and join us and be part of us for our collective good. And, we have come up with stronger and capable working committee from the convention held in March. We would love you to be a part of NMS.