Smoke and Mirrors

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. The dictionary definition of smoke and mirrors is “irrelevant or misleading information serving to obscure the truth of a situation.” The source of this metaphor is based on magicians’ illusions, where they make objects appear or disappear by extending or retracting mirrors amid a distracting burst of smoke.

By now, most of you have probably received the 11-page letter from the Board of Trustees of IAGD. Six pages of the letter are devoted to a quasi-history of the expansion project, placing the blame for the current efforts to stop Plan E squarely at the feet of three individuals — Mansoor Ahmad, Sharif Gindy, and Fasahat Hamzavi. Apparently, Mansoor single handedly stopped progress on the plan for three years! Really? One person, by himself, totally stopped the plan for three years? Isn’t it embarrassing to say that one person can take the entire organization hostage?

Two and a half pages of the letter were devoted to layouts for Plan E, Plan H, and Option 2. Interestingly, I was told by the President of the Board of Directors that I could not post the plan layouts on this blog because they were the intellectual property of IAGD. However, it is fine for IAGD to put Option 2 in their letter.

The remaining two and a half pages of the letter are devoted to an analysis of why the community needs Plan E.

Which leads me back to smoke and mirrors. Rather than dealing with the current issues at hand, the Board of Trustees has chosen to distract us with an 11-page dissertation on their version of the history of the expansion project. They are ignoring these crucial facts:

400 members of the community signed a petition requesting the Board of Directors to approve an expansion plan that costs no more than $5.0 million and takes no more than 2 years to complete. The community is not demanding a particular plan; they are just asking for a plan at a reasonable cost to be completed in a reasonable period of time. It would also be nice to take care of some other issues at the same time, like making the Islamic school a higher priority and not converting the current masjid area into a social hall.

400 members of the community is a significant portion of the community. Why isn’t anyone in the Administration listening to these concerns? Why aren’t they willing to sit down and discuss these issues with the community?

Imam Aly Lela and Hafiz Rabbani have given several khutbahs over the past several months requesting that both sides get together and discuss the issues involved with the expansion project.

Our religious leaders are openly suggesting that the two sides sit down and discuss the issues involved with the expansion plan. Why isn’t the Administration willing to listen to their religious leaders and talk to the community?

We can sit around all day discussing history and pointing fingers at one another. Or we can honestly try to resolve the issues and come up with an expansion plan that the entire community will support. If the Board of Trustees truly believes that this is a religious and community organization—of the community, by the community, and for the community—why aren’t they listening to the community?

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stalwart 1 on October 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    ASAK Sr Ann,
    It’s amazing that br Mansoor alone was capable of stopping them from construction and they are accepting it Eventhough he was not holding any office.
    Q:1. Now ,since they have accepted it ,would they please like to share that what was that Achilles’s Heel that really stopped them from doing it?
    Q:2 What is the reason that expansion committee didn’t decide anything for 3 years when br Gindi ,br Fasahat and sr Fareeda were on it and the moment they were thrown off the decisions were made really quickly ?
    (It shows that there was something that they were resisting and were not heard).
    Q: 3 Why are they undermining the AALIMS from subcontinent( in their 11page letter to the community) and went for Fatwa shopping( though they are denying the fact) till they get the desired answers by giving incomplete information?
    Q:4 Who are those scholars which were consulted ,why they are not mentioning their names and the text of the questions that were asked and the answers ?
    Q:5Why are they so persistent to accept an informal email as an opinion from a religious body?( where not an official email address was being used .Can br Hussain send an email to the community from his personal email address for an official IAGD event?)
    Q:6Why 187 members of the community are an overwhelming majority and not 400 signatories( those 400 members have opposed the current PLAN “E” by signing the petition).?
    Q:7 Instead of accepting it why are you in a state of denial that there are Mosques developing in the area?
    Q:8 Why did you use the money given of sistre’s area in the previous expansion, for the gym i(it was an AMANAH ) and now you are saying that you can not use the money for school because it is an AMANAH and is given solely for the expansion of masjid( why this twisting of rules)?
    Q:9When you mention that there was an objection against expansion isn’t that ,again , something called lie because opposition is against the grandeur and overspending not expansion ?( the other party is not saying that they don’t want expansion they are giving alternatives).


  2. No doubt that brother Gindy PhD created this mess and still causing to divide such a beautiful community in Detroit.
    Why can’t we trust on elected board members? Why we are denying democratic system. We are living in a country where if Bush being elected in controversial election, he opponent Mr Gore just shut up and never tried to give hard time to Mr Bush. Bush ruled over the country and whatever decision he made, both parties accepted them.
    So why we can’t trust our elected community members? Why we their loyalty is in question?
    Please don’t divide ummah more when it is already divided.


    • Posted by Anonymous on October 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Please recall how Republicans went against Democratic bill about health


    • Posted by Accept the truth and FEAR ALLAH on October 4, 2012 at 12:01 am

      To roghani
      Please understand that elected members are not angels they can do mistakes and
      sometimes even blunders, that’s why there are checks and balances in the democratic system. If the leaders and elected members constantly ignoring the concerns of community and imposing their own decisions to the community, then my brother it’s not democracy it’s dictatorship!
      You are asking why we can’t trust our elected members, the answer is b/c they are not using their own intellect. They are just puppets in the hands of egoist board of trustees. Please reflect on the meaning of TRUSTEE!
      Yes looks the division in the community, but BOD & BOT on one side and the rest of the community on the other side.


      • Posted by Anonymous on October 4, 2012 at 7:40 am

        It is so true ,one of the members of BOD said during the last Month’s meeting that he regrets that he voted for the plan “E”.It was said in front of the whole BOARD and more than 25 community members .

  3. Posted by Anonymous on October 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    very interesting, why is the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors ignoring a SIGNIFICANT % of the COMMUNITY.To me it seems as if the BOT is really the one dividing this community by being arrogant. Roghani’s other half


  4. Posted by Anonymous on October 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    It is being said that it is better to quit sins rather performing nifli ibadaats, because you will be answerable to your sins. With that being said, how stupid it is to break ruling of Sharia on the basis of one person opinion which is also based upon ill information & nobody know about this person even.
    Are BOT having a sick feeling, I thought they are Doctors, could treat each other.


    • Posted by Not a Doctor on October 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      They are not real doctors who cure sick people. One X-ray doctor and the other put you to sleep.


      • Posted by KK on October 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm

        BOT ,I think ,is the group that is keeping the conscience of BOD (if they have any) dormant.

  5. Posted by Yesterday's meeting on October 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

    The outcome of yesterday’s meeting ….we will ask our uncles and then get back to you.
    They should conduct these meetings under the supervision of these BOT ( one was there) so that instead of saying we ‘ll let you know or we’ll think about they can directly ask there and then ” Can we do it?” 😦


  6. Posted by Wow on October 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    They should eliminate this ineffective BOD .It is just another form of red tape .


  7. Posted by Stalwart 1 on October 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Bravo Mr president ….for keep sticking to the BOT agenda and ridiculing the verdict of 400 community members ( it is irrelevant whether they are members or not) .He even turned back from his own words that he uttered during SEPTEMBER. meeting.During that meeting he said that it doesn’t make any difference whether the signatories are members or not ,even 200 is a very big number ………and now …..what he said in the meeting is just another stalling tactic.Hats off to him for sticking to an illogical ,illicit and unaccepted point of view.


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