Muhammad Khaja Abdul Mutakabbir, is a well-respected community activist, community chaplain, motivational speaker, a community engagement specialist, father, husband and British Black Muslim activist.
Muhammad Khaja Abdul Mutakabbir was born in Barbados in 1948 and came to the UK in 1960. In the 1960’s he personally witnessed how the Teddy Boys and Skinheads used to attack many other Black people who came to the UK from the Caribbean. This encouraged him in his late teens to become a community activist against racism, police brutality and institutionalised racism. Due to his consistent great work in the community he became a senior youth and community officer for the Metro Youth Community club. This community hub was in the heart of the Black community in Ladbroke Grove.
The works of this community hub helped to challenge police brutality and institutionalised racism. As a leading activist he assisted elite Reggae acts like Aswad and other Reggae sound systems with getting much needed equipment. Dennis Brown (Crowned Prince of Reggae) and other reggae stars were regular visitors. There were some occasions where they performed at some fundraisers for the community hub. Inspired by the Black Panthers, The Last Poets, Malcolm X, Imam Jamil Al Ameen and other political social activists – he decided to learn about Islam in the late 1970s. He decided to embrace Islam in 1981. While at the Metro Club, he gained a degree from Greenwich University.
From his vast experience in community work, Muhammad Khaja became a senior advisor to many Black Muslim initiatives around the London area. Due to his crystal – clear speech skills and integrity he gained a popular status in various communities. He was often asked to speak to various Black Muslim communities around London, Birmingham, Manchester and Luton. He also worked in customer service / chauffeuring with the Libyan and Saudi Arabian embassies. While working with the embassies he was very active in community work with Shaykh Sadgladallah Raif. He supported his Righteous Religious Warrior of the Temple of Light the Order of Melchizedek. This initiative was the first ever Black community interfaith initiative. This project brought Muslims, Christians, Rastafarians, Pan Africanists and Hebrews together in peace in London. This was a much needed, initiative as there were some fractions in the Black community who were trying to cause hostile division in the community.
Muhammad Khaja also supported one of the first Black community, mosques in All Saints Road Ladbroke Grove (co-founded by Shaykh Sad’llah Raif) in the 1980s (1985 -1989) This Mosque was a hub of support, cultural centre and empowerment of Black Muslims. They made good connections world-wide who supported their cause. As a Mosque catering specifically for the Black Muslim community the project managed beneficial programmes. Muhammad Khaja helped to establish youth and community initiatives that were much needed for young people, women and the young men. This community mosque had a policy of being non-sectarian to avoid division. In the late 1980s Muhammad Khaja became a speaker at Speakers Corner where he would engage audiences in religious debate, current affairs, African / Caribbean history and social activism. In the early 1990s due to his brilliant speech techniques, he was asked by The Golborne Road Mosque in Ladbroke Grove Mosque to be a ‘Senior Community Outreach Liaison Officer’ to help to bring back Asian and Arab born Muslims back into the mosque as many were rejecting their faith.
In 1992 in London by Dr Kalim Siddiqui, Director of the Muslim Institute head hunted Muhammad Khaja to be the African Caribbean Muslim representative of the Muslim parliament. This was a great honour and Muhammad Khaja excelled in his role. Many people around him were encouraging Muhammad Khaja to start up his own organisation which he refused at first. Then he succumbed to the numerous requests by Black Muslims around him by establishing The Organisation of Islamic Development. The aim of his organisation was to give life skills, Islamic knowledge with important secular knowledge to benefit Black Muslims in the UK. He is passionate about Islam, community development and education. His pioneering organisation was key in bridging the gap between various Black community organisations/faith groups and Black Muslims in the 1990s.
He was able to provide support to Black Muslim initiatives around London and beyond with his expertise. He orchestrated a personal development initiative at Lancaster Community Club every Thursday in Ladbroke Grove where Black Muslims could learn important skills. This would include business skills, Arabic, women’s empowerment, marriage/relationship workshops etc. There was also a question and answer session where Black Muslims could question any topics. Through his organisation he was able to send Black Muslims abroad to study to become future Imams for the Black Muslim community. While doing this consistent community work, he was also working with Haringey Youth Services, where he managed youth projects for African / African Caribbean youths in North London. These projects promoted life skills, critical thinking, employability skills and personal development.
His hobbies included cricket, reading and martial arts.
In later life, he became a community chaplain who conducts weddings, child blessings and is very active in marriage introductions among Black Muslims. From his vast experience, he is still a major advisor for many Black Muslim initiatives that are in operation today. His work still promotes unity, well-being peace and community engagement today.
Muhammad Khaja and Ismael Lea South