Where Did Modified Plan E Come From?

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. One could almost get excited after reading the Expansion Update sent by the Secretary of the Board of Trustees on May 24, what with the Secretary saying that there is now a modified plan E that meets all the community’s concerns. But the Expansion Update leaves more questions than answers.

Where did this modified plan E come from? The Board of Trustees has always been very strict about following the process. That has been their primary reason for refusing to look at alternative expansion plans — Plan E followed the process and they don’t want to spend another four years on that process. But the way the process works is the Board of Directors approves the expansion plan, which is then sent to the Board of Trustees for their approval. In this case, the Board of Trustees has designed modified plan E, approved it themselves, and are now announcing to the community that all the issues are resolved. Where is the Board of Directors in this process? The Constitution clearly states that both Boards need to approve any plan. The Board of Trustees has always touted the unanimous approval of plan E, but that is certainly not the case with modified plan E. Continue reading

A Response to the Board of Trustees

by Sharif Gindy, Ph.D.

Eager to know the results of the reconciliatory efforts of the meeting that extended past midnight last Thursday, I did not have to wait long. By 7:05 the next morning, Dr. Naseer Ahmad, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees, had sent another e-mail. Made me wonder if the poor man spent the whole night writing, editing, and reviewing this letter with the Chairman before sending it out at that early hour. (It’s taken me a few days to organize my thoughts before putting them out for everyone to see.) Perhaps the letter had already been written and approved before the meeting.

Quoting from the letter:

  • As desired by the community in the March 2 gathering, the Board of Trustees (BOT) and Board of Directors (BOD) met last night for 4 hours to resolve some of the remaining issues pertaining to the masjid expansion plan. 

For the sake of accuracy, attempts to meet with the BOT and particularly the Chairman have been ongoing since last Ramadan, before the 2013 BOD was elected. The most recent meeting was between President Fasahat Hamzavi and the Chairman of the BOT hours before the March 2 community meeting. We all know how each of those meetings ended. Continue reading

“Facts to Know” or We Just Entered the Twilight Zone

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. I am having difficulty understanding the logic in the latest Board of Trustees communication, which was e-mailed on April 5 and mailed on April 6, so let’s review the “facts to know:”

  • 400 community members signed a petition requesting a $5 million expansion to be completed in 2 years.
  • 400 community members voted for Fasahat Hamzavi, Wajahat Khan, and Asim Shuttari for the Board of Directors, who all specifically ran on a platform to find an expansion plan that could be accomplished quickly and at a lower cost.
  • 400-450 community members attended the Community Meeting on March 2 to discuss the conceptual plan that can be built for $5 million in 2 years.

So, for the past several months, the majority of the community has said on multiple occasions that it does not want Plan E; it wants an alternative plan.

Continue reading

It All Comes Back to the Community

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. In the April issue of the IAGD Newsletter, the full opinion from the Fiqh Council of North America regarding relocating a masjid was included. The opinion was received from Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, President of the Fiqh Council, in response to an inquiry from one of the members of the Board of Directors. The entire fatwa follows:

“Fiqh Council’s Fatwa on the Sale and/or relocation of a Masjid in America

It is not permissible to relocate and sell a Masjid/Islamic Center Property except in the following situations:

  1. To make a better facility for ‘Ibadah and for other community services.
  2. The relocation of Masjid would not cause any inconvenience to the worshippers in the present locality of the Masjid.
  3. The relocation decision is made with the general consensus of the Muslim community in that area.

Continue reading

Breaking the Community and Other Nonsensical Thoughts

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. For over a year now, I have been hearing subtle variations of the same theme. Those who oppose Plan E are creating fitna. The community is becoming divided because of the expansion issue. And more recently, if this doesn’t stop, the community will break. Are we really such a weak community that we will break if we openly disagree about a major issue? What’s wrong with having varying viewpoints? Why can’t we find a way to get the entire community’s input and then decide how to proceed with the expansion?

What is so sacred about Plan E? The majority of the community doesn’t seem very excited about this plan. Most don’t talk passionately about its features or even bother to explain why this is the right plan for the community at this time. The reasoning to move forward seems to go something like this: The Board of Directors and Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with Plan E. We can’t stop now or construction will be delayed for years. If we revisit the expansion plan now, every new Board will want to change the expansion, and it will never get built.

Are those really good reasons to move forward with a plan that the community does not want? I don’t think so for these reasons: Continue reading

An Exciting Vision for the Future

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. Those who were unable to attend the community meeting on March 2 missed an historic event. The social hall was packed with men and women representing both sides of the expansion issue. The architects presented their conceptual plan (amazingly they did not charge anything to IAGD for this plan), but most of the meeting was dedicated to gathering feedback from the community. IAGD President Fasahat Hamzavi patiently allowed everyone to speak, answering all questions calmly and respectfully.

Much of the community stayed for the entire meeting, which lasted five hours, showing how important the issue is and how much the community wants to have their voices heard on the subject. In a short period of time, the new Board has done an excellent job of opening lines of communication with the community and of tackling the expansion issue with exciting new ideas.

Continue reading

Dear Minister of Propaganda…

My thanks to the author, who makes a number of excellent points about the recent Board of Trustees’ communication, for allowing me to post this on the blog.

Dear Minister of Propaganda…I mean BOT Secretary,

As a threshold matter, if you are going to disparage the public face of IAGD who was elected to the BOD by the General Body by more votes than any other candidate, at least have the courtesy to refer to him as the president.  You, on the other hand, along with the other members of the BOT were not elected by the General Body–you were merely appointed by previous BODs.

Second, do you think it was a good idea to disparage the president of IAGD using IAGD letterhead?  This is not unlike the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development drafting a manifesto disparaging President Obama (without referring to him as “president”) on official U.S. government letterhead.  Leaving that action aside, I’m sure you and the other BOT appointees had the common sense to not use IAGD resources to print and mail the letters you recently sent disparaging the president of IAGD who was democratically elected by an overwhelming majority of the General Body.

Continue reading