IAGD Community Meeting — Saturday, March 2 @ 5:15 PM

ASAK. IAGD sent out the following e-news announcement this week:

COMMUNITY MEETING
SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2013
5:15 pm
IAGD Social Hall
(immediately after ‘asr prayer)

 Discuss Expansion Ideas & IAGD’s Future

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What a Difference a Year Makes

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. On February 11, 2012, the IAGD Board of Directors held an informational meeting for the sisters to discuss the expansion plan. That meeting was the catalyst that sparked a year-long debate over the expansion. On February 10, 2013, almost a year to the day later, the IAGD Board of Directions passed two motions (by a vote of 5 to 4) related to the expansion: 1) to halt all activity related to expansion plan E and 2) to host a community meeting to discuss an alternate expansion plan.

There are many things I find fascinating about our journey over the past year. But one of the most impressive is how much change our three new Board members have managed to accomplish from within the system, following established processes and procedures.

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IAGD Election Results

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. At the IAGD monthly dinner on December 1, the results of the Board of Directors’ election were announced. The three new Board members are:

Fasahat Hamzavi
Wajahat Khan
Asim Shuttari

Approximately 75% of IAGD members voted in the election, significantly higher than the 55–60% who normally vote. The three candidates received 60–65% of the total votes, receiving a strong mandate from the community to implement their platform as detailed on the Rekindling IAGD website. Interestingly, after delivering a petition signed by 400 community members to the Board in September, Fasahat received 396 votes in the election.

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Sherlock Holmes and the E-mail Mystery

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. I wrote the post “Groupthink and Other Strange Phenomena” hoping that it would cause the Administration to reflect on how the organization is being run. But apparently at least the Vice President has more important things to do, like monitor how Mansoor and I use our e-mail accounts. Since the Vice President’s e-mails exhibited such great investigative reporting, I thought I should share them with the community.

After the Vice President sent an e-mail to Mansoor to an address that we do not regularly monitor (it is the address Mansoor uses to send out bulk e-mails but does not use for incoming e-mails), Mansoor sent the following response to the Vice President on November 6: Continue reading

Groupthink and Other Strange Phenomena

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. I tend to be a very analytical person. When faced with something I don’t understand, I research and think about it until it makes sense to me. For the past nine months, I have been trying to understand the behavior of IAGD’s administration (the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors).

To me, the entire topic of the expansion plan is one of issues. Does the current expansion plan make sense financially? Would a smaller expansion make more sense, so that funds can be used for other community programs? From a fiqh perspective, should the current prayer area be converted to a prayer hall? How can we make the Islamic school a higher priority in the organization?

But despite numerous attempts, we could not get anyone from the administration to discuss the issues. Presented with very persuasive arguments about why the expansion plan should be changed, the administration took it personally and attacked people rather than issues. Continue reading

Vote Now…or Forever Hold Your Peace

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. The U.S. presidential election is now behind us, with preliminary reports indicating that the number of people voting in this election was similar to, or maybe a little lower than, the 2008 election. In the 2008 election, 64% of voting age citizens voted. That doesn’t seem like a very high percentage, but when you consider that a person has to register to vote, physically go to a voting precinct, wait in line, and then read and fill out a complicated ballot, 64% seems pretty impressive.

How do the IAGD Board of Directors’ elections compare? For the past few years, approximately 55% to 60% of the membership actually votes. That seems pretty low, especially considering that the ballots are mailed to our homes, we only have to select three individuals for the Board, and we are given an envelope with a stamp to return the ballot. Not a whole lot of effort is required, yet close to half the membership doesn’t even bother to vote. Continue reading

The Community’s Responsibility in Regard to the IAGD Expansion in Light of the Fatawa

by Sharif Gindy, Ph.D.

When the expansion committee discussed moving the prayer area to a different location, some of us on the committee felt that we should probably get some information on the fiqh of that issue, but it did not seem to be a big issue to any of us then. However, a few members of the community were extremely opposed. The committee honestly brushed their concerns aside and opted to avoid ‘fiqh shopping’ by avoiding the issue entirely. To the committee, it seemed logical that changing the purpose of one room in the building and relocating the prayer area to another part of the building was no big deal. Prayer wouldn’t be interrupted we weren’t planning to tear down the building or abandon it, just repurpose a couple of spaces inside the same building.

As time passed and other concerns about the expansion began to arise, more voices were heard. The small group of stalwarts continued to insist that ‘once a prayer area, always a prayer area’ and it would be unacceptable to repurpose it. A larger group began to wonder, but felt the issue was a ‘gray area’ and it could be avoided with a different floor plan. The larger portion of our community didn’t think it was an issue at all.

The protest of the expansion has continued and people from each of those three groups have tried to find ways to halt the administration’s plans in favor of alternate plans that would cost less, be built more quickly and that could avoid the fiqh issue entirely. Some individuals took it upon themselves to get fatawa to be sure we, as a community, got sincere guidance. May Allah SWT bless those people… they woke us all up. Continue reading