E-mail to Community on March 2

Dear IAGD Community Members,

ASAK. On Saturday, February 11, the IAGD Board held a meeting for the sisters to discuss the expansion project, which I attended. During that meeting, the sisters raised many concerns and made many suggestions. I felt that the meeting was worthwhile and should be summarized for the entire community. Thus, I wrote an article for inclusion in the March issue of IAGD’s newsletter and submitted it to the Editorial Board on February 14.

The Editorial Board included it in the final draft of the newsletter, but it was subsequently removed by the President of the Board of Directors before the newsletter went to print on February 27. It was replaced by an article written by a member of the Board and did not mention most of the issues or concerns raised at the meeting.

When I asked why my article had been removed, I was told by the President that it contained “objectionable” material and that it was “not consistent with the organization’s goals and direction.”

I have included my article below as submitted so that you can decide for yourself whether it is “objectionable.”

I admit that I am troubled by many aspects of the expansion project, but I am truly perplexed by the Administration’s actions toward the community. As far as I know, the community is expected to pay for this project, but we are not supposed to raise any questions about the cost, the need for such a large mosque, the financial feasibility of the project, how the expansion is supposed to be paid for, or whether we want to burden future generations with this project. We are not allowed to ask questions or provide input, we are only allowed to donate money. Before this, I always thought that IAGD prided itself on its transparency and democratic process.

I have tried to send this to as many community members as possible, but I am sure I missed many individuals. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to other interested individuals. They can then send their e-mail address to me or you can send the e-mail addresses to me, which I will add to my e-mail list. Then, they will receive future e-mails directly.

Thank you for your time.

Ann O’Brien Ahmad

Sisters’ Expansion Meeting
By Sr. Ann O’Brien Ahmad

On Saturday, February 11, the Board of Directors held an expansion meeting for the sisters, which was conducted by Br. Hussain Akbar, President. The architect was also present to answer specific questions regarding the plans. Approximately 35-40 sisters attended the meeting.

The sisters had many ideas for changes to the current expansion plan. Some of the more significant items included:

  • Review the need for 10,000 square feet of open space on the two floors of the new building.
  • Review the need for 13,000 square feet of prayer area for the men and women (the current prayer area is less than 6,000 square feet).
  • Provide an area in the men’s prayer area for the women to pray during the week. This would necessitate adding a wudu area and shoe area for women on the first floor.
  • Consider removing the circular staircase and putting an additional two staircases near the entrance by the parking lot.
  • In place of the circular staircase, consider adding a welcome booth for visitors.
  • Reconfigure the women’s restroom, wudu area, and shoe racks on the second floor for better traffic flow and to ensure that the restroom does not share a wall with the prayer area.
  • Expand the cry room in the sisters’ prayer area.

Some of these suggestions would substantially reduce the cost of the expansion project, and Sr. Khurshid Hassan recommended an alternative plan that would also significantly reduce the cost of the expansion. Her recommendation was to leave the current prayer area for the men, add a second floor above the current prayer area for classrooms, and add a new addition east of the current prayer area for a sisters’ prayer area. Since the sisters’ prayer area would be on the first floor, it addresses many sisters’ safety concerns about going to the second floor for praying on days when there are not many people at the mosque.

Another sister expressed concern that converting the current prayer area to a social area was not appropriate. Br. Hussain indicated that our lead Imam had been consulted on this issue and had indicated that it was an acceptable use of the area.

Many sisters expressed concern that the project was too large and expensive for the community at this time. Although he did not get into specifics, Br. Hussain indicated that the expansion committee had looked at the needs of the community and felt that it was appropriate at this time. When asked how the funds would be raised for the project, Br. Hussain indicated that once the project was started, the committee believed that the community would step up and start making larger contributions to the expansion project.

After the meeting, I took a look at the financial figures presented at the meeting as well as ways to reduce the cost of the expansion project while maintaining the same basic structure. I sent an e-mail to the Board of the Directors detailing that information. Any brothers or sisters interested in reading my e-mail can send me a note to ann@icgnews.com and I will forward the e-mail.

The sisters believed that overall it was a very worthwhile meeting, and many suggested that the Board conduct a similar meeting for the brothers to get their input on the project.

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