Expansion Discussion at April 8 Board Meeting

I just wanted to take a few moments to provide some input from the April Board of Directors’ meeting from my own perspective.

First, I’d like to say that I’m really happy that IAGD held the (March 17) community meeting. This gave members an opportunity to voice their opinions about the expansion and it sounds like there is a lot of concern not just about the price, but also about the size and the plan itself. The huge, ostentatious lobby and over-sized prayer area concerns some, while re-purposing the current prayer area to use as a social hall without community input or fatwa concerns others. Overall, it does not seem like the community is opposed to expansion, but rather rejects the current plan, cost and has the sense that this project is being pushed upon them.

At the Board meeting that followed the community meeting, I had hoped the Board would discuss what had happened at the community meeting and plan a follow up meeting for what the Board would do next. However, the Board voted against holding another community meeting (requested by the youth). The Board was informed at their meeting that the Board President will be meeting with the architect to work in some of the community suggestions and a presentation will be made only if they have something new to report.

When questioned about whether the lobby could be reduced to cut cost, some Board members felt the large lobby was needed for the hundreds of people streaming down from the second floor, social hall, and staircases. Keep in mind that the size of the proposed lobby is slightly larger than the current social hall. How is that not ‘opulent’? If we reduced the size of the lobby, we could definitely save money. However, when asked about reducing it, the President informed the Board that it would not make much difference in the price unless the outside wall was reduced, giving the impression that there is no intention of changing the outer dimensions of the plan (without doing that the square footage remains the same).

I was very disappointed at the April Board meeting because I hoped we, as a Board, would address the concerns that were raised at the community meeting because it had ended without conclusion or any decision being made. But some members of the Board repeatedly said the community has only been fired up by ‘false data’ and it sounds as if there is not much hope of making meaningful changes to the plan. I regret to say, that I’m getting the feeling that some Board members don’t feel the community’s input is needed for the plan.

A few community members attended this Board meeting and one of the brothers voiced his opinion about the March 17th community meeting, saying that he felt the community’s most pressing need is for classrooms and IAGD doesn’t really need a bigger prayer area because the community has shrunk and there are other masajid in the area now.

It was good to see community members attend the Board meeting and I encourage more members to take the opportunity to attend Board meetings, give their input and ask questions. The Board meetings are open to IAGD members. Board meetings are held in the second floor conference room at 10:30 am on the Sunday morning following the monthly dinner. The Board is answerable to the community and that’s why more community members should show up to keep us all accountable, inshallah.

Let’s make dua’ for a united community, inshallah.

Your sister,

Suraiya Essack-Varachia


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Quaid Saifee on April 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks Sister Suraiya for sharing your impression of the last board meeting. I always thought that the minutes of the board meetings should be made public (at least to members), after all these meetings are open to members anyways.
    Salaams -Quaid


  2. Posted by Fk on April 20, 2012 at 1:00 am

    I really hope the new plan incorporates more, much needed classrooms.


  3. Jazakallah, Sr. Suraiya for keeping us informed about the Board meeting discussions on the topic of Expansion. I believe that we would not be in such a bad situation if the community took more active interest in this organization by attending Board meetings and holding its elected officials more accountable for their actions and decisions.

    IAGD Expansion is a project that we have been working on for years, one phase at a time. The vision the community had for this organization was not just for a grandeur Mosque. We are striving for an institution that meets the needs of this community in terms of religious practice, religious and academic education, outreach/da’awa, developing volunteerism within and outside and becoming a shining example of how a Muslim organization should function and operate. I hope and pray that the Expansion planning team, the Board of Directors and Trustees will sincerely listen to the voice of its members and supporters; I hope they will tune this project to meet our collective goals without planning to spend large amount of finances that we do not currently have nor can we hope to collect in time for the start and completion of this project.

    Lot of good ideas has been generated as a result of the sincere efforts of Sr. Ann. I pray that before the start of Ramadan, the IAGD teams can come up with a much more affordable and practical plan that meets our immediate needs and leaves the doors open for easy future growth as needs arise. Ramadan is the month during which most of us donate funds in the spirit of Sadaqa Jariya, for projects that are practical and that fulfill the needs of the community that they serve. Inshallah, if communications and discussions with IAGD community stay open, their input taken seriously, an alternate more practical plan will be established. As a result, during this Ramadan IAGD will Inshallah see the highest level of success in its fund raising.

    May Allah SWT accept all our sincere efforts and give us tawfeeq to make the right decisions and apply Shura, a practice observed by our beloved Prophet SAW.


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