E-Mail to Community on March 14

Dear IAGD Community Members,

ASAK. Again, I would like to remind everyone about the Expansion Project Meeting scheduled for Saturday. March 17, 2012 from 11:30 AM until Zuhr prayer. This is a great opportunity for the community to find out more about the project and ask questions.

Below I have included comments that I have received from other members of the community in response to my recent e-mails. These are just a few of the many responses I received.

Again, please feel free to forward this e-mail to others who are not on the distribution list or send me the e-mail addresses to add to my list.

Thank you for your time.

Ann O’Brien Ahmad

Sr. Shahida Khan, long-time IAGD member and co-founder of Hassan Foundation:

Salaam to all,

Dear Ann,

I appreciate your efforts of trying to inform the community. I absolutely see no objectionable language in your communication or the article you submitted to the IAGD newsletter. I am perturbed that it was not published. Let the community decide what is objectionable. The community and the donors all have a right and should know all the details about the plan and they should have an input. The voice of the community must not be suppressed and nor their ideas stifled. I am perturbed that the administration would do that. They should not expect that the community would rubberstamp and support their plans as final just because they present them once a year in Ramadan. People are beginning to get tired of this long drawn out process.

My personal observation during large gatherings in Ramadan and especially during fund raisers has been that a large number of ladies have made comments and shown dissatisfaction with the plans of the administration.

I have heard people express the feeling that that level of expansion is beyond the needs of the community and simply not needed.

That the cost is going out of control.

Other communities have built their centers for far less than the IAGD projections. People remark on that quite often.

I personally do not agree with the second floor prayer area for ladies.

I think the expansion should be done in a manner where future expansion will be possible and accomplished without tearing down existing structures or major alterations. The expansions should occur laterally as needed down the line. We do not have to do it all at once.

How often is the masjid full to capacity? The upkeep of a vacant building is going to be a challenge. These are the feelings of the community.

I hope the administration will realize this and change their stance. I hope they will listen to the community and incorporate new ideas and suggestions. It is extremely important to include the ladies in the decision making process. Everyone has stake in IAGD. And most important I hope everything will become more transparent and inclusive.

Shahida

Br. Tayyeb Jukaku, long-time IAGD member and former President of the IAGD Board of Directors:

Salaamalaikum,

Thanks sister Ann for your concern and sincerity. Of late there is suspicion and divisions in IAGD. The board of directors and trustees have been slow to recognize their loss of trust among community members. It is time we all come together and be a family again as we had been.

You need to be commended for your campaign to bring more transparency to IAGD. We are proud of our leadership so far but at times we need to remind them if they seem to not be listening to the community’s concerns. Without the full backing of the people who will be asked to support this project, it would not be judicious to proceed with the construction. Here are some concerns:

I believe most in IAGD are willing to support a beautiful masjid as long as it is reasonably sized and cost no more than $5 million to $6 million.

1. Juma numbers are not supportive of any need for additional space even on holiday weekends.
2. Most community members are less affluent than before and may have difficulty sorting a huge expansion plan.
3. More mosques are coming up in the vicinity that will compete with IAGD as their home masjid.
4. Many of the youth are seeking employment outside this area, and have less incentive to make this community their home.
5. Michigan seems not to be recovering even with auto industry rebound (new jobs offer $16/hour)

I am sure there are many more concerns, but the point is leadership needs to be concerned about the fiduciary and fiscal responsibility, and they need to exercise a better strategy to have the community on board with the new project.

Dr. Tayeb

And this response to my second e-mail on March 8:

WAS. Good idea—agree.

If our Prophet can change his plans based on his followers suggestion, who are we to feel insecure about changing our plans – especially when faced with new facts on the ground.

There need not be any qualms about rethinking out of the box.

Tayeb

Br. Sharif Gindy, long-time IAGD member, former Board of Trustee member, Expansion Committee member:

ASA Sr. Ann
I commend your candor, but I am not surprised…I too had an article that was sanctioned sometime ago.

I do not think who is ever doing these sanctions realizes the ramifications of their actions. They are leaving no venue for concerned members of the community except to start e-mail networks that undermine the formal newsletter and the board altogether. I for one have already lost confidence in the newsletter, the board, and very soon the board(s).

An objective article written by any member of the community should never be deprived print especially in a crucial project like this. So much for “Membership has its Privileges.”

Adding to your impressive analysis, the following figures were presented by the BOD in the Dec. General Body meeting;

Hall Rental;      2010/ $6k          2011/ $2k                   yet we want to build a bigger social hall
Newsletter ads  2010/ $17k        2011/ $2k                  which proves what I said above +  dwindling community
Noor Academy 2010/ $129        2011/ $175                which perhaps says more for building a school rather than an unneeded prayer space

Voting ballots sent; 690
Voting ballots received; 300, i.e. people do not even care anymore to vote. But according to the president they will dish in monies they do not have as soon as they see a hole dug in the ground.

A 10,000 sq ft school @ $140/sf = $1.4M + $2.0M to build the mezzanine for the ladies is all that our community needs right now and for the foreseeable future, ie, hardly $3.4M which we have most of , instead of lying about $7.5M expansion that will actually cost over $11M.

It is easy to accuse people who are suspecting the viability of this expansion as troublemakers, but it is equally as easy, with these numbers and the gimmicks used to pass them, to accuse this board as untrustworthy of the community’s funds.

Sharif

Br. Mohammad Ramzi, long-time IAGD member, Principal of Sunday School:

ASA:

First: I would like to thank sister Ann O’Brien Ahmad for many things stated in her letter…including the financial aspect of the project. In fact, it is an eye opening letter//

2nd: Let us give our community more time to study the project in depth.
When we decided to expand the Wayne State University masjid, we came with $350K, but it ended with more than $500K, although the builder did not take a penny. This is 1st hand experience. The expansion was to add two floors–the 1st for men (400 persons) and 2nd floor for women (200 person). Now our masjid can take 800 people//

Also, Masjid Al-Salam (consists of full time Islamic school with more than 1200 people that can pray)…Cost 2.5 million…

What is my point? Well the cost of IAGD is not realistic..Well some one will say the quality of the materials..No..The quality in both masajed was very high

Ramzi Mohammad

Br. Mukhtar Khan, long-time IAGD member, co-founder of Hassan Foundation:

Dear Ann,

Raising questions about not being able to ask questions in a proper format, about the perpetually drawn out Mosque Expansion Project is very timely and appropriate.

More concerning is the issue of being silenced or muzzled (if that is your perception) about something you and your entire family has tirelessly  worked for, put your intellectual and financial support behind.

We all hear about the fund raising, but when it comes to a real dialogue between community, IAGD members, and the administration regarding every possible aspect of the expansion project–either that has not happened or very limited at best. Not including the yearly peri Ramadan presentation.

I would make a few suggestions regarding the questions raised.

1-Review the time line from the concept of expansion to just shaving the brush in the empty lot, 5 years, 10 years? Was the pace good enough?

2-Need for extra footage required, current to 20 years down the line. This must be based on statistical facts, Muslims demographics, and sprouting of other mosques, in the area that used to be the catchment area of service for IAGD.

3-The design has to be modular, for seamless low cost expansion in future.

4-Design must include adequate zoned heating, cooling, lighting and audiovisual, to avoid the sweaty, distracting climate of large congregations, like Taraveeh, in summer.

5-Cost per sq foot for the quality and elegance of the product. Invite people who has done marvelous job on mosques.

6-Long tiresome, multiple brain storming sessions with IAGD members or any well wishers, donors, regarding every possible aspect of the project. Involve Imams as much as possible and practical, besides a select group of teenagers. This must be conducted in an open forum, recording, discussing and finalizing every point of discussion, and follow up.

Segment by segment, point by point discussion without letting ego get in the way.
Discussion point must be all inclusive, from every possible aspect.

Starting with creation of service lane, possible traffic light, on only large prayer days.

Smooth circular drive wide enough for 2 vehicles, one being a bus, to the final complete architectural design.

7-Ladies prayer area should be designed by them, for them–not given to them at men’s will, in consultation with Architect. It’s about time our back-home inherited, benevolent attitudes change voluntarily before someone else does it. Does it exist? I hope we don’t have the large feathered ones among us.

8-Create a deadline for the project initiation to finish within available means, and reasonably projected community support. Provide update to members, donors on a regular basis, not once a year. Unless we create a targeted end point, the Mom-Pop project will get relegated to the next generation.

9-Projections must be based on hard data as much as possible.

God bless, thank you for your initiative.

Mukhtar A Khan MD FACC

hassanfoundationusa Face book
25779 Kelly Rd
Roseville, MI 48066

Br. Asif Bakhsh, long-time IAGD member, former Secretary of the Board of Directors:

Aslam-e-lakhum,

My name is Asif Bakhsh; my wife and I have been members of IAGD community since 1979 and have participated in the organization at various levels. My comments are to encourage the proper direction not to criticize and hope they are taken in that respect. In my work I have managed and been involved with large complex projects and would like to share with you some of my thoughts.

I appreciate the issues that you have brought up but I am also concerned about other gaps that exist in the planning (or lack thereof). In any large Endeavour like this the first thing you do is to find a good manager, who has experience in running large projects like this, someone who can champion the initiative and provide continuity and diligence throughout the project. He or she can then put together a team that oversees the project from beginning to end. The worst thing that you can do is jump into the cost estimating process with out having a clearly defined and approved set of requirements. These requirements are then used in conjunction with other deliverables in an RFP (Request For Proposal process) which is then sent to companies that have a record of successfully completing such projects. They will then send a proposal with the initial cost estimates and related plans (Design plans, operational plans, schedules, references etc). The project team can then evaluate the proposals and make the appropriate decision with related contracts between IAGD and the company providing the service. Obviously there is a lot more to the process than I have expressed so far but I hope you get my point.

This is a large complex project with substantial community funds at stake; the project manager and team must take their responsibility very seriously and deliver a quality product to the community. The industry standards estimates that 70% of projects have project costs overrun, exceed time estimate, under estimates the scope and thereby deliver products or services that did not meet the expected objectives (e.g. every 10% cost overrun is equivalent to $1million dollars etc).  This project should not be managed by someone who happens to be on a committee or has a job as an architect or has a high position within the IAGD organization. Large project management involves a specific skill set and experience apart from technically understanding the overall process of building construction.

I pray that Allah (SWT) guides the IAGD leadership and provide us all with success in this venture. Ameen.

Kind Regards,
Asif Bakhsh

Br. Rashid Taufiq, long-time IAGD member, past Secretary of the Board of Directors:

ASAK Sr. Ann and Mansoor bhai

We returned back last night, two days later than expected.  The trip went extremely well, Al Hamdulillah.

I want you to know that reading your first email while in Makkah, I made a special prayer during one of the Tawaaf’s for this initiative that you have taken on.  May Allah SWT give you success in reaching out to the IAGD membership and making the BODs and the BOTs understand that we are not their enemies but a source that will iA present a true picture of what we are facing with this project.

Regards

Rashid Taufiq

Sr. Suraiya Essack-Varachia, long-time IAGD member, current Board of Director member:

Salaams to all of  you  and Jumuah Mubaruk,

I pray that you are all in the best of health and  strong Imaan, Insha-Allah.

I am rather disappointed and confused as to why Sr. Ann’s  summary of the cost analysis of the Expansion Project is  considered “Objectionable” and by  whom.

This is the first time that such a detailed  study has been made available to me, (there has been nothing as detailed from  any official IAGD Expansion Comm. or BOARD/Trustees) and I really appreciate it. I have mentioned this before as an e-mail  that I think there are many people in our community that  do not want this huge expansion, most people agree  that a more modest expansion is necessary and I agree with that  as well.

Are we trying to hide something from the  community/members, are we  afraid we are  doing something  wrong? Could this  be  why we  would not  even  entertain  Ann’s  article, as her opinion, in the newsletter to share with  fellow members?

Why were there no arrangements made  to  record minutes of the meeting/official  report that captured the  women’s  concerns  and comments? If you are going to pass Br. Asif’s notes as an official  report, I STRONGLY OBJECT because they were one sided  and not correct, he basically expressed his opinion and I do not recall that he was  assigned this task..(ironically that is what Ann was  doing except that hers was all concrete facts).

I really feel that no one  on the  Expansion Comm/ BOARD/Trustees are really interested in what the  Women want if it is not inline  with “the Expansion  Dream Project”.

I apologize if I have offended  anyone but when I stood  for elections I made  a promise that I will be answerable  to Allah first  and  to the Community 2nd, I intend to uphold that promise since I have taken it as  a Trust/Amaanah.

wassalaam,
Suraiya

Sr. Zenobia Lee, long-time IAGD member, active member of outreach/dawaa committees and teacher at Sunday school:

ASAK.

JZK for your great efforts and justice.

Sorry, I already committed to a workshop for the Sunday School this Saturday.

Insha’Allah, I’m more than happy to assist the Project by reviewing the project plan, facilitating the bidding process and negotiating the pricing/contract since I’m a certified Project Manager and a certified Procurement Manager.

Wa Salam
Zenobia

Br. Quaid Saifee, long-time IAGD member, member of outreach/dawaa committee:

Salaams Dear Sister Ann

Sr. Suraiya had forwarded me your detailed email after the meeting.   Azra, my wife was there in the meeting as well and she was very impressed with your thoughtfulness and in-depth knowledge of the issue.

I must admit, I have never looked at any of the drawings in any detail.  Unfortunately I gave up before the process even started, kind of realizing that they will do what they like.  Last to last Ramadan I went to almost all the BOD members and asked them to have several public meetings in this regard, it was ignored.  I had no agenda, I just wanted to make sure that IAGD takes input from everybody and takes the differing opinion into consideration in the final plan.

With new technology, one can have several drawings done with different scenarios and cost.  Thanks very much for your effort.

Quaid

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