A Response to the Board of Trustees

by Sharif Gindy, Ph.D.

Eager to know the results of the reconciliatory efforts of the meeting that extended past midnight last Thursday, I did not have to wait long. By 7:05 the next morning, Dr. Naseer Ahmad, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees, had sent another e-mail. Made me wonder if the poor man spent the whole night writing, editing, and reviewing this letter with the Chairman before sending it out at that early hour. (It’s taken me a few days to organize my thoughts before putting them out for everyone to see.) Perhaps the letter had already been written and approved before the meeting.

Quoting from the letter:

  • As desired by the community in the March 2 gathering, the Board of Trustees (BOT) and Board of Directors (BOD) met last night for 4 hours to resolve some of the remaining issues pertaining to the masjid expansion plan. 

For the sake of accuracy, attempts to meet with the BOT and particularly the Chairman have been ongoing since last Ramadan, before the 2013 BOD was elected. The most recent meeting was between President Fasahat Hamzavi and the Chairman of the BOT hours before the March 2 community meeting. We all know how each of those meetings ended.

  • The President, Fasahat Hamzavi, had insisted on having the meeting with only the executive committee…

I find the use of the word insisted a little perplexing. If he insisted, then why did the entire BOD attend the meeting? A more appropriate word would be “suggested,” but the BOT “insisted” on the entire board so that others with known inclinations would be on hand. When I asked the President about this, he indicated that he also suggested a neutral mediator, but the BOT insisted on not having one. Here, I am using the word “insisted” more accurately.

  • …to resolve some of the remaining issues pertaining to the masjid expansion plan.

If there are unresolved issues pertaining to the expansion plan, how did it manage to be UNANIMOUSLY approved before?

  • Even though there is a wide range of opinions on this issue with respect to how to utilize the current prayer space, the BOT offered to amend the approved plan.  Instead of incorporating the current prayer space into the social hall, the BOT offered to utilize it for the Hifz School, which has been suggested by several members concerned with the Fiqh question. This solution has also been confirmed with Hafiz Rabbani.

I agree that a wide range of opinions were sought, from Ministry of Hajj in Saudia Arabia, Al Azhar in Egypt, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani in Pakistan, and FCNA (sought by the Chairman himself), who all unanimously indicated that Plan E does not fulfill the fiqh requirements. By the way, these were not opinions. They were fatwas, some of which were registered, authenticated, and archived in respectable institutions.

If the fiqh issue is not all that important for a masjid, then why did the Chairman seek a fatwa? The full FCNA fatwa was not published until this month, by the new BOD, in the IAGD Newsletter. If IAGD always follows FCNA rulings, why was the full FCNA fatwa not published immediately so the community can be aware and learn from the fatwas obtained?  Our community certainly has the intelligence to understand and one would hope that the ‘guardians’ of IAGD would want to educate and enlighten the community as much as possible.

As to Hafiz Rabbani’s opinion, that opinion has been here throughout this process, but was completely ignored by the Chairman of the Trustees and the past President of the BOD during expansion committee discussions. His opinion was discounted in favor of the FCNA opinion. Why is it now being reconsidered two years later?

The honorable thing to do is not squeeze Hafiz Rabbani regarding this issue. But if the Trustees insist, then let Hafiz Rabbani write down his opinion, supported by the Qur’an, prior actions of Sahaba, opinions of great scholars, etc., as all the other fatwas have done. Then let the community judge all of the fatwas and opinions that have been obtained. While some may think that our community does not have the knowledge to distinguish between right and wrong, I personally trust that they do.

  • …the BOT offered to amend the approved plan.

Certainly this is a step in the right direction, but it does not convey the entire offer. The BOT insisted that the footprint of the building not change. This is not feasible and may be the reason why the Trustees misread the intentions of the Executive Committee as wanting to abolish the whole plan.

Despite the incriminating language and character assassination efforts throughout the letter, even going so far as to call the Executive Committee members by name, there is a silver lining here. These culprit Executive Committee members were finally able to get the voice of the community heard.

I only wanted to make two very important points in this article, but I would have been remiss if I had not highlighted the above misrepresentations and mischaracterizations in this letter to the community. Hopefully, it will cause our Trustees to be more objective in further writings.

Point 1

As elders in the community, it is unfortunate that the Trustees fail to understand the real problem here. It is not the expansion, it is not plan E, it is not the Chairman of the Trustees (who together with Dr. Ansari will always be the true elders of the community to me), it is not Ann’s blog, it is not any of these things. IT IS ABOUT A DECISION MAKING PROCESS that no longer fits a community that is growing up.

No one is infallible. We all make mistakes. I can provide a whole list of mistakes that were committed in past expansions because of this aging decision making process. In 2011, two past BOD members presented a similar list of problems that are being posed by the Executive Committee that the letters from the Trustees are trying to discredit. The problem is that we continue to do the same things over and over again, expecting a different result. According to Albert Einstein, that is the definition of insanity.

This is about the need to revamp the decision making process. The decision making process must consider the general body and encourage them to participate. It is in the best interest of unity to encourage educated debate on issues. Individuals come and go. No one is eternal and no Board is everlasting.

Point 2

Not only does the writing lack objectivity, but it is a serious attempt to polarize the community. Character assassination is not a very noble tactic. This is an Islamic organization talking about building a religious center — there is no place for character assassination and spiteful comments. But my cynicism leads me to conclude that our Trustees are not comfortable with a BOD that is thinking and questioning (rather than filled with “yes men”), and it seems our Trustees are attempting to encourage the community to elect more “yes men” in the future, by portraying these BOD members in a negative light. Attempts to get the community to vote for candidates by delaying the expansion and threatening that costs are going up will not undermine the community’s intelligence.

Expecting that I will be the next candidate for character assassination after this article is posted, I will proactively try to thwart those attempts. I will give a proposal for a true compromise, which was not very difficult to find.

The “givens” in our current situation are:

  1. The BOT will not allow the footprint of the building to change.
  2. The resolution of the fiqh issue must satisfy the community and the BOD.
  3. Everyone must agree on the school, cost, and timeframe issues.

Here is my proposal:

  1. Keep the current footprint of Plan E.
  2. Build the masjid and social hall first, as shown in the conceptual plan.
  3. Build the school later, after 5 or 6 years, in the area designated on Plan E as the masjid.
  4. Temporarily use the “school tower” for the school.

This will satisfy the requirements of leaving the Plan E footprint alone, using all funds currently on hand for the masjid and not the school, and more importantly, adequately addresses the fiqh issue. It also releases Hafiz Rabbani from the hook you put him on.

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Support your brother whether he is right or wrong.” When they asked him how to support a brother when he is wrong, he answered, “By turning him away from his wrong ways.”

I hope this response is understood in the light of this hadeeth.

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56 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    The antics of Naseer are completely unacceptable. The rubbish he continues to send to the community is insulting to us all. He is a disgrace to IAGD and the BOT. Growup!

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Not just Naseer, but the entire Board of Trustees. These individuals are supposed to be the elders, the wise people, in the community. They are leading a religious organization. To send such derogatory and hateful emails about executive committee members, who are working hard to do what the community wants, is beyond disgraceful.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Can’t these trustees be stopped? Whos letting them send these stupid emails and letters?

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      He reminds me of the “monopoly guy”

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on August 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      I totally agree Br Shareef as someone who has attended IAGD for 30 years it is really sad to see a community divided. As for Dr Naseer who is a fraud by the way ( he made me get an MRI at his specific facility when my primary physician stated this was unnecessary and then I got a bill for $5000) he should be in jail for these types of fraudulent activities in the first place. Secondly to go behind the community’s back and make decisions on their behalf is totally uncalled for !

      Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous 1234 on April 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    What happens to the social hall with the BOTs changes? Hifz school in the prayer area. Classrooms in the current social hall. Are we going to have the same small social hall that we had originally? We are spending all this money for what? I don’t understand how the BOTs new proposal helps the community at all.

    Reply

  3. Posted by anon on April 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    did the bot reduce the price? 6.9 million is to much for iagd where is the 5 million plan?

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I read carefully all of the fatwas. Al Azhar and Mufti Usmani clearly say that shariah masjids cannot be converted to any other use. why is hafiz sahib says it is okay to make it a hifz school? Did anyone confirm with him? Maybe he didnot say this.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2013 at 12:28 am

      What If he said yes, will you follow him? Will you support their plan then?

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2013 at 8:06 am

        What are you asking? Would I blindly follow a religious leader who is clearly going against the fatwas of institutions as prestigious as Al Azhar and Jamia Darul Uloom? No, I would not follow a religious leader who does not have the courage to follow religious rulings. Would you? I find it impossible to believe that a religious leader would say this.

    • Posted by abdullah on April 13, 2013 at 8:24 am

      It is a misconception to say that Shaykh Rabbani is the one advocating the new plans… it is actually Shaykh Ali (read my comments at the end of this page)

      Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Prof. Sharif!! You wrote a nice commentary indeed. Being a professor (PhD) and respectable community member, will you explain the term “character assassination”. Both parties (BOT and Anti-BOT) are using this term often and in same sigh, are doing same. See all the posting of this blogs, most of comments and tell us is only one side doing this “wonderful” job? Even one post start with “Mr. propoganda”.

    2- With respect to islamic teaching Where does your this comment “Perhaps the letter had already been written and approved before the meeting” Back biting, slander or some other term. Or is it acceptable in islam? I personally request you to take this sentence back unless you have proof of that.

    I agree that word “suggested” sounds appropriate as pointed out by you (even if president really insisted ) and BOT members, being the muslims and elders, should not use such words ( i will say they should even consider apologize to president and community if he truly suggested and didn’t insist ). However, should not we ask president why he was reluctant to include other BOT members in meeting? Was it true? If yes, should not we ask him that he on one side wants to bring whole community in decision and discussions but on other side he is not considering other BOD members/fellows to participate. Did you ask him? If yes, please also share that with us.

    Lastly, only condemning others and proposing something, should not we do something practical? What if you come and lead us in fund-raising for school? Why should we use the 3.5 million of masjid for school? Will it be Ok to spend someone’s donation on school if a he/she only wants his money to go for Masjid. What is islamic point of view in this situation? How long we will be blogging and blaming others ?

    I hope you will take these questions into positive sense. My apologies in advance if any single word of mine has hurt you or any other brother/sister.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2013 at 8:20 am

      We should blog for as long as it takes to get the trustees to understand that they are working for the community, not themselves.

      Reply

    • Posted by Sidra on April 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I think you should have a look at the mails sent by new president ( br Fasahat). Non of them have any derogatory or negative remark about any person. Yes ,you can find plenty of them in the mails sent by the Board Of Trustees ( they have mentioned br Fasahat’s and other executive members ,many times )and on the blog by anonymous people.

      Reply

      • Posted by Michael Jordan on April 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

        You are right, President Fasahat Hamzavi’s letters are always very nicely written. His recent letter the one was e-mailed yesterday was excellent and to the point. I wish our BOT were as decent as he is. They should try to learn from him how to communicate with the community.

  6. Posted by Anonymous X on April 12, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Have we lost all sense of logic? Are we so engaged in finding fault in others that we forget to think about what’s being said?

    Dr. Sharif’s post asked how the Trustees could have possibly written a long letter (presuming it was actually written/edited by the whole group) in a few hours, through the night, after the BOD/BOT meeting. It is a logical possibility that the message was pre-written, but without being certain, Dr. Sharif merely suggested that as a possibility, he didn’t accuse, he merely stated one possibility. But, without paying attention to the words actually said, you (Anonymous posting in the middle of the night) have the gutts to judge him and tell him to retract his statement?

    And after you criticize Dr. Sharif for posting a logical possibility, then you do the same thing? Amazing how rules only apply to those we can point at, isn’t it?

    Do you really need to ask the President why he had suggested having only the executive committee meet with the Trustees? Really? Use your head. Clearly, ,the Trustees have chosen to directly attack the executive committee, openly naming them to remind us of who they are. That might be a clue that the Trustees have issues mainly with the executive committee.

    But, keep thinking. There are 9 directors and 5 trustees. What would you expect to solve in a meeting with 14 people? Wouldn’t it be logical to reduce the number, if possible, just to give everyone a chance to speak? Wouldn’t a heated discussion with 14 people be less productive than one with 9 people?

    Ok, so if you don’t like logic, let’s see if there are other reasons that make sense. The executive committee is 4 of the 9 directors. The Trustees have reminded us of their names, so think about the remaining 5 directors. Who are they? What are their names? I won’t stoop to the level of the Trustees by calling them out, I’m assuming you (Anonymous 1:06 am) can look them up on IAGD sources. But, for those too lazy to do that, let’s just openly say here that three of the four remaining directors are related to Trustees (two sons and a nephew). Does anyone logically assume the Trustees did not know the position their own relatives had on these issues? Come on now…use your head.

    The Trustees have always promoted a school as part of their various projects, but, in my personal opinion, that’s just part of a sales pitch. We’ve been victims of a ‘bait and switch’ before and should, as wary consumers and donors, recognize the sales pitches for what they are. Sales pitches are useful to get donors to donate, but we are fools if we believe that everything said in those sales pitches will become reality.The last expansion we were told a lot of things that never came to pass – we’d have a ghusl space for funerals (it’s a storeroom), there would be a mezzanine in the next phase (that never came to pass, yet money was used to build a gym), the social hall would be joined to the prayer area (but the doors are still boarded up and, in 12 years we’ve never accomplished opening them).The expansion project is a whole package. The donations go toward the whole project and it’s ridiculous to claim that money was donated for a masjid and not for the social hall, school, bathrooms, offices, etc. Good luck trying to verify exactly what square footage each dollar paid for!

    As for ‘how long will we be blogging’… Allahu Alim. As for ‘how long will we be blaming others’…that’s on each of us. It’s really easy to point fingers at other people and blame them for all the problems we face, when we really need to open our own eyes, use our own minds, and clean our own hearts. Everyone talks about unity, but we have to build that ourselves, not waste time blaming others for not creating unity.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Br. Tabassum on April 12, 2013 at 9:21 am

    ASAK. I think we should all take a deep “breath” , step back and ponder deeply.

    Reading some of these posts especially under the pseudonym ” Anoymous” is really very very dissappointing and hurtful.

    Please refrain from being so obnoxious in our letters to each other. Less we forget we are all brothers in Islam. How can we as are good practising muslims be so rude to each other. I dont get it.

    Please stop this now. Br. Tabassum

    Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Hafiz Rabbani Is IAGD’s employee and dose not want to loose his job. In the past he always said that Prayer area can not be used for Social hall and if there is no other choice then we can use it for Hifz school. Over here we have other choice. Dr. Sharif mentioned that Hafiz Rabbani should write his own Fatwa and let community decide.

    Reply

    • Posted by Mansoor Ahmad on April 12, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      ASAK. I wish it was that simple to some of these people. It will even resolve the Fiqh issue once for all. According to the most of the Fatwas, it is mandatory to include the existing Prayer area in the new Masjid. Three years ago Hafiz Rabbani’s teacher Mufti Palanpuri visited IAGD and some of the members of BOT had a meeting with him in Hafiz Rabbani’s presence. Mufti Palanpuri said the same thing. He was the one who said that it is not permissible to convert the Prayer area in to a social hall and if you don’t have any other choice then the least you can do is to make it a Madrasah (Hifz School) or a Islamic Library. Since then Hafiz Rabbani has been saying the same.

      Reply

    • Posted by abdullah on April 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

      Shaykh Ali is actually a much more stronger advocate of the new plan and was the one who inspired Fasahat and the others… not Shaykh Rabbani

      Reply

  9. Posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

    What is Imam Aly Lela’s opinion on this issue. Did BOD and BOT talk to him about this. After all he is the Imam of the Masjid. Why all of a sudden everybody is talking about Hafiz Rabbani and what he said and did not say. May be BOD and BOT should have a meeting with both of them and get there opinion face to face.

    Reply

    • Posted by Mansoor Ahmad on April 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      This is what you call ‘Pick and Choose.” BOT were talking about following the Fiqh Counsel of North America but hiding the Fatwa. Now the Fatwa is printed in the newsletter and they are not fulfilling two of the four conditions, all of a sudden they remember one part of Hafiz Rabbani’s opinion. They are totaling ignoring Imam Lela because his opinion is similar to FCNA. Last year in March meeting Imam answered a question by saying that the community has to make this decision. I don’t know why are they so reluctant to go to the community. This is a religious and community organization and transparency is very important. They should stop hiding the facts from the community and stop undermining them.

      May Allah SWT guide us all. Ameen.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        We need to be honest now. Yesterday this post appeared with name of Mansoor and now with Anonymous. If someone wants i can share the screen shot i took yesterday.
        Don’t drag imams into dirty politics of few families. Imam laila no doubt is not in favor of any fatawas. He is broad-minded visionary person who always (atleast said to me) that community should not be kept hostile on one this issue and he said that he has no doubt in the wisdom and vision of BOT. Go ask yourself . Keep on doing politics, but don’t drag imams into it.
        What can be said about person like mansoor, who earlier was advocate of fatawas from Egypt , Pakistan and India and now all of sudden became fan of FCNA. Earlier this blog used to say that ICNA and FCNA don’t have “Scholars”.

      • Posted by Admin on April 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        Anonymous, you are correct about this post from Mansoor, but that is my fault, not his. I had accidentally deleted a few comments. I had to retype them, some were Anonymous, and I forgot to add Mansoor’s name to the two comments he had made. I will update the posts to reflect his name. Anyone who knows Mansoor knows that he is not afraid to have his name associated with his views.

        Ann

      • Posted by Michael Jordan on April 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        The BOT were previously leaching to the weak so called “fatwa” they got through an email. The fatwa obtained from FCNA are similar to all the other fatwas, so the argument being made is that the BOT are not even following FCNA anymore which they claimed allowed them to move the mosque. And your point about the name you can put whatever name you like in, do you think that Michael Jordan is making this comment?

      • Posted by Mansoor Ahmad on April 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm

        Perhaps I was not clear. I was not saying I am for or against the FCNA fatwa. All I was saying is that the Imam’s position is very similar to the FCNA fatwa, saying that it is up to the community to decide. And that if the BOT wants to follow the FCNA fatwa, then they should follow all the provisions of the fatwa.

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

        The point is not that Mansoor is afraid of someone or not. I have no doubt he is bold to say whatever he likes.
        Being manager of many student WORDPRESS blogs in the past, I can’t believe in this statement. “I had accidentally deleted a few comments. I had to retype them, some were Anonymous, and I forgot to add Mansoor’s name to the two comments he had made.”
        Once deleted message has been retyped exactly same. wow… May everyone of us get such wonderful memory. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT WAS NEED OF DOING THAT?
        Many of us know how to manage blogs on wordpress and the available different options in the admin panel. In between lines, you yourself are also accepting that you added the messages yourself with different ids. To me this is dishonesty. Utilize your time to do something constructive for community.
        The 3-4 families (2 from BOT and 1 from BOD and the blogger family) to satisfy their egos and to take revenge of their personal issues, have destroyed beautiful community, and to me this is very sad.God bless these 3-4 families. The community should somehow get rid of these families to get the peaceful and friendly environment.

      • Posted by Admin on April 14, 2013 at 11:08 am

        That would be fantastic if my memory was so good that I could remember word for word comments that I had just quickly read! I don’t think my memory was even that good when I was in my 20s. Luckily, I get e-mails every time a comment is posted with the entire comment in the e-mail.

        And you kind of hurt my feelings by criticizing my computer skills. I like to think that I do pretty well for a person my age. But I had downloaded the WordPress app for my phone and before I knew it, I had deleted several comments. There was no evil intent in retyping them. I felt bad that people had made comments that I had deleted so I retyped them word for word.

        Albert Schlieder said, “We tend to judge others by their behavior, and ourselves by our intentions.” You may have criticisms about a lot of what is going on, but I don’t think it is fair to attack people’s intentions here. I know I am not doing this for ego or revenge, so I trust others are not either. I disagree strongly with what the Board of Trustees are doing, but I do not think they are evil people with evil intent. I trust that they are doing what they believe is right. I obviously do not agree, but I have no right to say they are doing it for their egos or revenge.

    • Posted by abdullah on April 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Shaykh Ali is against the Fiqh council’s ruling and was the one who inspired Fasahat and the others to take action….He is a graduate of Al-Azhar and it is his Alma mater. The respected scholars who gave the fatwa, were among his teachers HE is definitely the biggest advocate (read my comment on the end of the page)

      Reply

  10. Posted by Simple Answers to Unnecessary Problems on April 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Why can’t we just use the prayer area as part of an enlarged prayer area? That seems the most obvious answer…why do we have to make a whole new one and not just enlarge what we have?

    Reply

  11. Posted by Anonymous on April 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Can you convey this absolutely perfect solution
    to trustees heads? Or what kids say ……heads

    Reply

  12. Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Bingo! The BOT did not want to even discuss the location of the prayer hall before. I think its a huge step that the BOT and members of the BOD who are for an ‘alternate’ to plan E could actually sit down together and meet and discuss. This was the whole reason that the three members ran on the platform they did – because before the point of being elected to the board, the BOT would not even sit down and discuss this matter with them. So we really have to take a step back and see where we came from. This is going to take time and perhaps these are the growing pains that many organizations experience. For the brother who thinks we should shut IAGD down… really? So, when the going gets tough, we just give up? We are doing what we set out to do here, have an open dialogue to discuss what the community really wants.

    Now it is all well and good that we can sit here behind the veil of anonymity, however, as a previous blog pointed out, its the community’s turn to make your opinion heard. I know first hand that the members of the BOD will simply do what the community wants. So make your voice heard, whatever side you are on. The community has been silent on important matters for years – too afraid to voice an opinion that might not match their friends’ or the status quo. For some reason, much like the way we were taught to deal with conflict by our parents, we became passive and didnt want to rock the boat. Thats what complacency is. The BOD has done their part, individuals have taken the heat and not cared about popularity. IF you have have a strong opinion, talk to your friends and talk to friends on the opposing side. Not to debate or argue or start a fight, but to stand up for what you believe in.

    Reply

  13. Posted by abdullah on April 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

    It was wrong of them to use Shaykh Mufti Rabbani’s name. Shaykh Ali is also a very strong advocate….much more stronger than Shaykh Rabbani…of the alternate plan. Fasahat, Wajahat and the others would have long meetings with him after Isha, before they ran for office….Any one who is a regular attendee of the masjid can bear witness to this fact.

    Reply

    • Posted by abdullah on April 13, 2013 at 8:08 am

      It is my haunch that Shaykh Ali was the one who inspired them to go to the architect and get a new plan and he was the one encouraged them to run for office. He probably never expressed it openly out of fear…He was probably also the one who encouraged people to get the Azhar fatwa, because he is an Azhari scholar

      Reply

  14. Posted by abdullah on April 13, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Lastly Shaykh Rabbani is definitely not the one who inspired Dr. Fasahat and the others…he is never seen having long talks with them… You can ask him…his philosophy has always been to take a passive approach on things.
    He has many disagreement with the masjid: moonsighting is one of the many, but his approach has always been a passive one and he has never taken a stand on them because of his personal hikmah (wisdom).

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      “He has many disagreement with the masjid: moonsighting is one of the many? “…… does anyone else see the irony in this comment ?!! ……. are we living in the 21st century ?! …. moonsighting! Competing fatwas, dueling beards and a blood feud between the Hamzavis and the Maliks – a community as primitive as this one will soon be extinct like the neanderthal and his dodo bird and we won’t have to worry about what to do with the masjid

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm

        Why do people want to attribute evil intent here? “A blood feud?” Why is it so hard to believe that there is a disagreement about an issue? Why does it have to be a blood feud? Who is acting primitive here?

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm

        blood feud between the Hamzavis and the Maliks. Loved it!!!. But the list is incomplete. Please think little more and you can add few more.

      • Posted by Iltefat Hamzavi on April 15, 2013 at 12:07 am

        There is no blood feud between the Hamzavis and Maliks. The Maliks have done many many good things for this community and others. Yes there is a significant disagreement but our greatest scholars disagreed vehemently with each other but also respected each other. We need to manage our own character very carefully in these situations. I pray for all of these sincere people. This issue must be debated but please pray for all those involved and guard your thoughts and tongues. We are a spiritual community and we will be held accountable for our thoughts, actions. This may be a challenge Allah swt has sent our community to improve our Iman. I don’t claim to know but I am going to end my evening with a prayer for the Maliks, a prayer for the BOT, a prayer for the BOD and all the families who support them and support the IAGD. Inshallah this time will pass and Inshallah we will fulfill our purpose to becoming closer to Allah swt in whatever facility Allah swt gives or does not give us.-Iltefat Hamzavi

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

        Jazakallah Br. Hamzavi for your wonderful note and particularly sharing the aspect that This may be a challenge Allah swt has sent our community to improve our Iman. May Allah accept your prayers for amicable solution of this issue.
        Only Allah (SWT) and you these 4-5 families know whether they personal issues exist or not.

        However, with due apology, I don’t agree that we in general (and particularly 4-5 families who think that they are main stakeholders ) only have significant difference about the issue and have respect for one another. If this is true, then shouldn’t t our (and particularly 4-5 families who are very vocal about this issue) nice statements be reflected in actions too? imagine the pain of host who has invited all the community on wedding party to celebrate by spending his major portion of his savings, and his whole event was sabotaged by this hatred discussion of two groups about Masjid expansion. Shouldn’t the two parties keep this issue in masjid meetings ? What about the friends who are qouting the Quran to prove we are good Momin and others are not (refer this blog for detail). Whose responsibility it is to discourage this ? I guess its president of IAGD, Chairman of Trustees and lastly the admin of this blog. To me a great leader who really wants unity in community should never discuss these things in public.
        Is Masjid expansion the solution of all challenges our community is facing today?. We can’t deny that there is significant difference about expansion plan, but are we working together on any other projects of IAGD.

        To me the worst solution given by our religion about issue of disagreement is what was narrated in hadith quoted by Br. Gindi “Support your brother whether he is right or wrong.” When they asked him how to support a brother when he is wrong, he answered, “By turning him away from his wrong ways.”

        The solution has worsen up to extent that we don’t salams to one another for months and in some of us don’t say Eid Mubarik to one another. I humbly appeal to my elders that use your leadership qualities to save the further turmoil in the community and bring back the peace and happiness of community. May Allah (SWT) help all of us to play our role.

        Through this forum, i would like to appeal the president of BOT and BOD (if they are on this blog) to decide the fate of this project asap or , atleast think about picking one of worst solution below after doing Istikharah.

        1- Stop this expansion plan and give option to donors to transfer their donations to choice of their organization including IAGD.

        2- To start both school and Masjid simultaneously even it takes longer to complete both projects. All of us know that the success of any project lies in unity of community.
        3- Follow the lesson of Hadith that “to turn away from wrong ways of other party by allowing them whatever they want to do.”

        We sincerely pray that may Allah give our leadership the strength for amicable solution.

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Br. Abdullah, What are you trying to accomplish here? Why are you accusing Imam Lela so badly? You are not doing a good job defending Hafiz Rabbani also, if that is what you are trying to do. Nobody is blaming either of the Imams and we should not even talk about them unless they themselves get involve in this issue. The only reason Hafiz Rabbani’s name is coming up because BOT mentioned his name in there letter to the community. If you have any problem with that then you should be talking to BOT and Hafiz Rabbani. After reading your six diffrent comments it look’s like either you have some problem with Imam Lela or you are unnecessarily trying to defend Hafiz Rabbani.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      There is really no need to involve Imam Lela or Hafiz Rabbani in this discussion. They have not been part of the discussion for the last four years. Why are we involving them now?

      We have fatwas from Al Azhar, Mufti Usmani, and FCNA. We can all read. They have been translated into English, so there is no need for an interpreter. As a community, we should decide what we want to do with the prayer area.

      There is no need to call into question the motives of the Imam or Hafiz. The Imam meets and talks with lots of people. We should not be trying to guess what they are talking about or who is inspiring who. We should not be commenting on other people’s intentions. It really doesn’t matter if Imam likes the new plan more than Hafiz or if Hafiz likes the new plan more than Imam.

      Reply

  15. Posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    This is very immature. I think these ppl know how to think for themselves.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Stalwart 1 on April 14, 2013 at 8:00 am

    • And they would say, “Our Rabb! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones and they misled us as from the [Right] Path”. (33:64-67)

    Reply

  17. Posted by Iltefat Hamzavi on April 15, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    This is a reply to the biggest family on the list, Anonymous. So let me direct my comments from the April 15 857am response.

    I don’t think this is an issue of a few families. This is an issue of what role the mosque will play in our lives. It is an issue that many communities are discussing. Let me ask you take a mental excercise and imagine the situation here is renamed. Change the family names to mosqued and unmosqued and then watch this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgoQtzXwGdY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    This is dispute over whether we put money into programing/services with a building to support these items or we only build a building. You can run everyone on the boards out of town but we would still have this issue. That is why this debate is occurring because it needs to happen.The debate is not a blood feud but a legitimate disagreement. I live and serve the communities in Canton and we have similar issues but the dynamic is different since the school is such a large part of the community. However, this debate is something that is limited because the entire campus is about programming for the community. The debate over here is focused on which groups can fairly access the programming that this community puts forward in the form of the full time school, the weekend school, adult education and wellness education. There are socioeconomic questions, questions of authority and of ownership. They can become bitter but people are moving here form all over for the programming.

    In regards to disrupting the marriage reception I can’t comment since I don’t know the details of your statement. However, I do know that no one wants to bring these issues to a private event and if it did happen then I would assume the hosts would be part of that decision.

    Anonymous if you are suffering for the community in any way then please accept our deepest thanks. If you want to help the community get through these next few months then keep proposing solutions and join the debate for what it truly is about. However, please don’t join others who simplify this issue by scapegoating certain families. The issue is simply what role will the mosque play in the life of IAGD members for the next 25 years. I don’t fear the discord, I fear an empty mosque with unpaid bills.

    May Allah swt guide us all.

    Reply

    • Posted by Michael Jordan on April 16, 2013 at 12:30 am

      ASAK. Br. Iltefat thank you very much for making these comments and also for the link to the vidio. I watched the vidio and that reminded me of IAGD. I hope this brother who is obviously miss informed about the issue and keep on blaming four five families will learn something. Looks like it is not only IAGD’s problem, it is going on every where in our communities . Thanks again.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 2, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Br. Iltefat Hamzavi

      I can believe that there is no family politics if these 4-5 families can give satisfactory answers of these questions to community.

      will you classify the construction of gym as ‘mosqued’ or ‘unmosqued’. What was stand of “pro-Unmosqued” the time when Gym was built in 2000?

      Is not this the fact that earlier Pro-E plan group was in favor of Fatawas from FCNA; and the other group consisting of BUTT, Shitaris and Hamzavi family was advocate of Deoband Fatwa. When one group diffused the pressure by changing the social hall into Hifz school all of sudden, the pro-Deoband or advocate of Non-FCNA group became the follower of FCNA fatwas. Doesn’t this show the moral bankruptcy of these families?

      Isn’t it fact that Hamzavi family always opposed Ansari family and then indirectly Maliks in last thirty years and vice versa? We have seen recently the behavior of Fasahat when on March 02 meeting, Dr. Ansari asked the question in meeting. Can you mention few instances where hamzavi, Malik and Ansari family supported stance of one-another in IAGD?

      Isn’t this the fact that few families involved in this saga, despite the one of richest in community, never contributed financially for the IAGD ( or the other group did not let them do that). If one really wants to know the facts, he can meet the treasurer to see the data of last 25-30 years . The fact is that either few families don’t want others to come in or few has decided to continue their animosity that started back in country of their origin. Can we deny this? All those who are living here from last 25-30 years know this.

      How fair it is for these families to make the fool of new community members by initiating the pseudo- philosophical debates of Mosqued vs un Mosqued, Importance of full time vs weekend school without showing the commitment to the cause. Br Ilefat since you are very active in canton and other communities, you would definitely know that Canton school is run by pledges made in past by four families. But here unfortunately few of the leading families don’t want school while others want the school but at the donations of those who think it is not important.

      Are not (these four families) aware that day by day the participation of American born youngsters is reducing in IAGD – from different committees to board. Is this healthy sign for future of Iagd? Who is responsible for taking the young generation away from IAGD? Soon only retired uncles will be enjoying their desi politics here . Is it healthy sign??

      Can these families explain why they brought PA based politics into Masjid? Can these families explain that why people from CANTON, Flint and other remote areas, who never visited IAGD, participate in the election process of BOD? Is not this the fact that these families exploited the election process by paying membership fee on behalf those who are not part of this community and even don’t know the issues of this community?. How is this justified?? If these all families agree, I can share the name of 2 persons who did not pay their membership fee themselves and even don’t belong to IAGD community, and their membership was paid by one person belonging to one of these four families. What should I name this phenomenon? “Serving the community to get the reward from Allah (SWT)”?

      Reply

      • Posted by Br. Tabassum on May 6, 2013 at 10:42 am

        I really dont understand how a letter such as above is really going to help anyone in this community. It is full of accusations and innuendos about prominant families in question. Even if their is any truth in any of this, isn’t better it is left unsaid than to wash dirty laundary in public.

        If you cannot say a good word about anyone, it is better to remain silant or not to speak bad. My two cents.

      • Posted by Anonymous X on May 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

        Even sadder than name-calling is that anonyMOUSE’s presumption that a few individuals can hold back a whole community. IAGD is made up of hundreds of individuals, many of whom don’t even know the families Mr.Mouse chose to blame by name (and IAGD history buffs will notice which names were NOT blamed).

        Rather than sit and blame others, maybe it is time every one of us in this community steps up and takes responsibility for our own share of community weaknesses and start improving what we can. One person at a time. One step at a time. REGARDLESS of our name or the name of the person standing next to us. Unity is nameless. Brotherhood is BLAMELESS.

  18. Posted by Anonymous on April 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Br./Sr. Anonymous, ASAK. Nobody likes disruption but sometime you can’t help it. You are talking about four five families because they are more prominent, vocal and involved in the community. There is more to that then you think. I hope after watching the video Br. Hamzavi has the link in his comment, you got some idea. Families come and go but the organizations and the mosques are there to stay and play a very important role in the life of community members. Your cocern is valid. Just hang in there for little while longer. Br. Hamzavi, thanks for the video and keep up the good work.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Stalwart 1 on April 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    We need to open hearts and minds to solve the problems and should be prepare for a rainy day instead of crossing the bridge when you come to it.The problem of unmosquing has already begun. We should realize that how the existing halls should be filled with youth instead of uncles who are 60 plus.
    Please think about what was done about 10,11 years ago . The donation was collected in the name of women’s praying area and a gym was built.No voices were raised by those who are now saying that they have collected the money for a masjid. If the masjid is so big an issue for them ,then why they forget about the sanctity of a masjid and just believe in building a structure .
    Just building a structure is not going to pay off. What you build keeping in mind the future needs of a future generation ,inshAllah will pay off.A structure that is openly welcoming to all age groups .

    Reply

  20. Posted by Stalwart 1 on April 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Do we have any forum / person whith whom we can discuss that what our kids should do in school if they are bullied ?What happen with some of the middle schoolers and high schoolers after the Boston incident?
    We are not thinking about the need of the hour .

    Reply

  21. Glad to see another blogger with my name!!!
    Finally some people are starting to make sense rather than the usual spewing of biased hatred. Totally agree with the brother who thinks we are neandrathals and destined for extinction. Will happen sooner than later if we don’t stop worshipping muftis and their fatwas, what a bunch of… Zzz. Love the idea of scratching the whole thing and giving everyone’s money back. They can donate it to charity. Hopefully that will stop this petty nonsense. Absolutely no school!!!! Best of all dissolve the organization, money to go to Syria and other places of Charity. You all really think The Good Lord really cares about this squabbling over petty opinions and fatwas. We are doomed to keep repeating this nonsense. Let us at least try and bring our children into the 21 century!! Okay that is enough for Friday night. May Allah forgive us for all our “noble deeds”. Goodnight.

    Reply

  22. Posted by Stunned on April 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Good grief…ignorance is being applauded? No wonder this community has problems. We pride ourselves in being ‘educated’ people, then decide schools and scholars are unnecessary? Amazing. Abdullah, when you suggest sending funds to Syria, which side are you supporting? The regime? or the bombarded innocents? Maybe your interpretation of ‘bringing our children into the 21st century’ implies we don’t need Sunday school either? simply amazing that someone would have the gutts to call him/herself ‘Abdullah’ and spout anti-religiousness. very, very sad.

    Reply

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