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.

Speaking of overwhelming, third, you state that the expansion plan was approved by an “overwhelming” majority of the General Body.  What exactly did the General Body approve?  Did they overwhelmingly vote against an alternate expansion plan that cost 2 million dollars less?  No.  Were they even given the option to choose the less expensive alternate expansion plan?  No.  They “overwhelmingly” chose the limited options you gave them between having an upstairs prayer area for the sisters.  Also, to put your overwhelming majority in context, the new IAGD president was elected to the BOD by 396 votes from the General Body, while 187 members of the General Body voted for an upstairs prayer area.  Given that the IAGD president received 209 more votes than Plan E, you need to either reconsider your characterization or invent a new superlative that means “2.12 times (396/187) more impressive than overwhelming.”

Fourth, bravo on having your site plan approved and selecting a contractor who agrees with the appointed BOT!  That’s a lot of activity between counting the ballots of the BOD election and the time the new BOD members start their respective terms.  I know that your quick and decisive actions had nothing to do with the fact that each new BOD member elected by the General Body ran on the platform opposing the appointed BOT’s expansion dream.  Also thank you for educating the community on the meaning of the term “Orwellian” by implying that the new IAGD president is unwilling to work with you when the BOT raced to set its plan into motion immediately after the General Body voted for the only candidates that opposed that very plan but before the newly elected BOD members had the opportunity to begin their terms.

Fifth, it’s very magnanimous of you to allow the new president of IAGD to be “involved in the meetings with the architect, construction manager, and the City in regards to the expansion.”  I know that he’s only the president of the organization and received more votes from the General Body than any other BOD candidate and 2.12 times as many votes as Plan E (that new superlative would really help here), but perhaps going forward, instead of meeting with the architect and contractor in private as you have to date, you and the other appointed members of the BOT may want to inform the IAGD president of such meetings.

Best regards,

An IAGD General Body member who did not vote for you and could not vote for you because your position is appointed (in addition to the aforementioned superlative, it would be great if you could come up with a concise term to capture your willful blindness to your lack of authority as a BOD appointee and your willingness to exercise authority anyway because “hubris” doesn’t go far enough).

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14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    So true! This is THE voice of community, thank you IAGD member!
    I’m sure this is how all the community members feel about that e news and the letter.

    Some times I feel so sad for these elders in BOT that why they are ruining their good name & respect of their whole life for just a point of ego.
    They are ruining their dunya and aakhirah both.
    Why they are not accepting that IAGD community does not agree with their decisions.
    May Allah swt protect all of us from such arrogance, specially in such matters of building the house of Allah.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Supporter on February 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    The only way the current BOD can move forward is by YOU all participate in the process. YOU must now act on your promise of support and show up for the March 2nd meeting.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you IAGD member, you said it all. In the last post somebody made a comment about IAGD ending up in court and I did not agree with that person at that time. Now after reading this post it seems inevitable. Its a shame that such a nice organization is being destroyed by a couple of BOT members especially the “Minister of Propaganda”. I have heard that he did the same at Tawheed center and divided the community. It looks like it has become an ego issue. They should remember that this is Allah’s house.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Choudry on February 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Isn’t there any accountability process for these BOT? What is the criteria Of accessing the DATA BASE of IAGD? How come they are using the resources to send personal letters to the community ? If they have the courage they should come and present their APPROVED PLAN E to the General Body and ask the community whether it accepts it or not?
    Where were they before , for the last 30 years ? Why these letters about character assassination have become so frequent ? I dare them they can not stand in front of the community and let the GB speak ? They used to make their puppet president ,stand in front of the community , to waste the time .Now they don’t have the luxury to snub the community.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Tabassum on February 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    ASAK All. Some questions for members who are knowledgle about this .

    What does the IAGD constitution say about decisions previously made by one board, can be overturned by next incomming board with simple majority? Is this allowed?

    Also, I always thought that Board of Trustees is to advise the BoDirectors regarding any matter they disagree with made by BOD but not take matters into own hands as is being presently done. If the BOD does not listen, they should be calling for meeting of general assembly and then request permission to do what want the BOD to do. Not sure that is being followed here.

    Appreciate a response. Tabassum

    Reply

  6. Posted by Choudry on February 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I agree with br Tabassum that BOT is the guardian and not the decision maker. The community has given the verdict that they want the people who were ready to present an alternative for Plan E. The newly elected directors openly mentioned to people that what are their priorities and community chose them with overwhelming majority.Somebody should put reins to these BOTs.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Tabassum on March 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Based upon what I am seeing from all the emails that have gone out, the Board of Trustees is pretty much set on what they want to do. If we cannot come to a amicable compromise, we will all suffer from this.
    I hope better sense and judgement will prevail and general body and communtity will make a decision soon,(this coming Saturday) to give a clear direction which way we want to move forward. This division has lasted too long and we need to put an end to it now Please Compromise, Compromise, Compromise.

    Reply

  8. Posted by GB Member on March 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    The BOT, crows about following a process, but taking a page from Bush administration’s idea of “process” in deciding to go to war with Iraq is not something to be proud of. What do I mean? The BOT secretary’s timeline notwithstanding, I have a strong sense that it went something like this:

    1. BOT chairman makes a unilateral decision on what he wants the expansion to be and gives his plan to the BOD president, saying, “submit this plan to the BOT for approval.”
    2. The BOD goes through the motions of a process by creating an expansion committee comprised of a majority that will do anything the that BOT orders.
    3. The BOD sends the BOT chairman’s plan back to the BOT for approval and voila you have a “unanimously approved” plan.

    Very impressive.

    Instead of clogging our mailboxes, how about explaining how your plan is superior to one that is far less expensive? Why not directly address the questions and concerns raised by the community during the previous expansion meeting that was held almost a year ago? How about allowing for a transparent debate wherein the pros and cons of both plans are presented to the community and leave it to the General Body to decide which plan to choose by mail ballot? Each of these things can be accomplished in a single meeting. What is the BOT so afraid of? The worst case scenario is that the majority of the General Body will get the masjid they want.

    I think the BOT disqualified themselves from any further participation in a future expansion based on the role they played in the existing layout. For example, some might say it’s a bit of a far walk to the men’s bathroom from the social hall. Personally, I like that the walk takes you more than half-way to Spice Mart–I can pick up my meat order and groceries all in one trip before heading back to the party. The women’s prayer area has an inexplicable reverse commute for doing wudu. I could never bring myself to use the original women’s bath/wudu room that has since been commandeered by the men. This is not out of a sense of chivalry, mind you, as much as a Pavlovian fear of walking in on unsuspecting sisters.

    Don’t get me wrong, I may poke fun, but make no mistake: the present and past BOT members were the founding fathers of IAGD and deserve a lot of credit. They did an amazing job in establishing and growing the organization since the late 70s. But it is high time that the torch is passed–and passing the torch does not mean telling your pliable sons and nephews on the BOD what to do. If you cling to control using the NRA’s mantra, “from my cold dead hand…,” you virtually guarantee that the community dies with you. Relinquishing absolute control is necessary if you want the community to survive and thrive after you are gone. You must recognize that the masjid IS the General Body. Yes, you are the “guardians” of the masjid, but it’s no longer a minor–it’s in its mid-30s and does not need to be told what to do.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Mansoor Ahmad on March 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    ASAK.
    Dear GB member, I agree with you about most of the points you made, but don’t worry BOT have no authority per the constitution for ongoing expansion activity, even though they are threatening to start the project and dig the foundation by this summer. I don’t think they are that ignorant. How can they even think about starting the project without the Board of directors. Per the constitution NO TRANSACTION OF THE FUNDS can be made without the signature of the Treasurer. If anybody transfers IAGD funds or writes a check without the signature of the treasurer it is not only unconstitutional but also illegal. They don’t even have the support of the community. This is BOD’s job. There was never much effort made to get the community involved or excited about an expansion. Every time this point was raised, the answer was, we don’t need to involve the community. Now all of a sudden the BOT especially the secretary decided to communicate with the community via e-news and mailing letters and Brochures. BOT are simply the “Guardians” of the Masjid.

    Mansoor

    Reply

  10. Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Dear Mansoor,
    When you say BOT are ” Simply the ‘ Guardian’ “, what do you mean by ‘ simply the guardian’.
    Are they suppose to be the ” Chowkidar ” at night. NO. Guardian , does mean an overarching and overlooking authoritative body. Do not be misguided and do not misinform your people by constantly blasting them as villains, unnecessarily.

    Reply

    • Posted by GB Member on March 8, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Much is being made of the term “guardian.” In legal terms, a guardian is a person who has the authority to care for the personal and property interests of another person called a ward who incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to infancy, incapacity, or disability. The point I was trying to make is that the General Body is no longer in its infancy. Unfortunately, the BOT’s contempt for the GB suggests that they regard the GB as having neither the capacity nor ability to make its own decisions.

      Reply

  11. Posted by Mansoor Ahmad on March 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    ASAK.
    Dear GB member, thank you for your legal discription of the term ” Guardian.” I could not do a better job. In my opinion BOT should stop insulting and undermining the General Body. They need to accept the reality on the ground. The reality is that BOD is the elected Body by the General Body and the General Body is the ultimate authority. BOT can not impose there wishes on the community any more. Last year, after sitting on the Plan E for three years, when they made the presentation in March meeting, the community spoke and BOT should have gotten the message and should have started working with the community. Instead, they did not even want to talk to anybody.
    BOT secretary is the one who is going around and misinforming the community. It’s a sad situation but they brought it to themselves.

    Reply

  12. Posted by Anonymous Concerned Member on August 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    After the community meeting last week and the incredible propaganda email from the Trustees today, this post from months ago came to mind. Reading it again, I ask… what’s changed? The Trustees are basically showing the community their plans and challenging us to take the plans out of ‘their cold dead hands’.

    This is really, really disgusting — and frightening. IAGD is a RELIGIOUS institution being over-run by people who will go to any lengths to have their way. They speak of process and the Constitution but don’t feel the need to follow it. The point blame at others, but shrug their shoulders about mass vote buying?

    Reply

  13. Posted by Anonymous on August 28, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Just remember that Rasool Allah Sallahoalihiwasalim came to put an end to jahilya ways of dealing with each other this is a house of Allah and we acting just like jahils or may be worse than them . We profess to love Rasool Allah but are doing everythng that will make him sad . Dear members think and reflect upon what is happening ,we are letting the mardudus samawath wal ard the shaitan in our thinking and our actions.Is this expantion or election really that important that we are willing to earn the displeasure of AllahSWT and Rasool Allah sallalah alahi wasallim. Remember he came to join not to split . So for the sake of Rasool Allah SA I beg you all to calm down do not you egos come in your way as that is a shaitani act compromise do alot of ISTIGFAR DO ISTIKHARA ASK ALLAH SWT TO RESOLVE this matter and BRING THE COMMUNITY BACK TO ONE REMEMBER ALLAH SWT IS ONE AND THE UMA SHOULD BE ONE.

    Reply

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