THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN AMERICA: Where We Are & Where We Are We Heading?
- Major Islamic National “Non-Political” Organizations
- The Regional Islamic Centers - Grassroot Organizations
- The Political Action Organizations - Mainly CAIR and MPAC.
- The News Media Organizations - Two small a circulation and the numbers are not ver much certified. ISNA's Islamic Horizons claims 80,000-circulation while the Minaret claims less than 6,000 copies.
- The Islamic Schools.
- The Islamic Financial Institutions.
There are two organizations; ISNA, Islamic Society of North America) and ICNA, (Islamic Circle of North America) claim to be the Representatives of the Muslim Community. These are forums that have built their name on the accumulated experience of over 35 years. No infrastructure. No Organizational Structure. No grass roots. They hold local seminars on different subjects and one annual convention. At least 30,000 Muslims attend the annual conference of ISNA and over 12,000 attend the ICNA annual convention. Most of those who attend are first generation Muslims mainly from the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent with their children. The most attended sessions are the main sessions given by "Supper Star" lecturers like Hamza Yousuf and others, followed by sessions on family and finance, followed by political action. These organizations are controlled by the remnants of the Muslim Movement in the Arab World in the 1950's and 1960's (Ikhwan) and Asia (Jama'aa Islamia). They accumulated their money from strong connections with the Arab Gulf countries (mainly Saudi Arabia in the case of ISNA) and affluent American Muslims from India (ICNA.)
MAS (Muslim American Society) is used as the name of two organizations:
The first one is MAS of Imam W. Deen Muhammad, which represents the African American Muslims. This group represents the main stream Islamic Values but deep inside it still suffers from disorganization, lack of followers, lack of infrastructure and lack of purpose and leadership. They hold their annual conference in Chicago. In 2001 the annual conference was not well organized and was held during same weekend as that of ISNA. It was attended by less than a 1000 members. This is much less than those African American Muslims that attended the ISNA conference.
MAS of the African American Muslims does not have much financial resources. Its Imams are those who were trained during the Original Black Muslim movement are getting old and are standing alone to help bring the African Muslim Community together with many financial, internal politics problems. Many members of the community are joining in with the first generation immigrant American Muslims in the mainstream Muslim community centers. This is especially the case where African American Muslim leaders are invited by the particular center to deliver the Jum'aa Khutba. They also are introduced to other messages, ideas and community members. They like it and they stay behind.
The second one is MAS of the Muslim Brotherhood of America. This organization is still new and its inclinations are not clear yet. However, some of its leaders are known to have had connections with the Saudi Embassy in the Washington D.C. This group obtained good media access during the period that immediately followed September 11, 2001 horrific events. They appeared behind President Bush when he visited the Islamic Center of Washington DC, which is controlled by the Ambassadors from the Muslim Countries with the Saudi Arabian embassy as the major source of its management, resources and direction.
The American Islamic Movement has been blessed by a number of Important Factors:
- It is widely spread in a large country. This makes it very expensive for foreign influences from rich countries in order to control like what is happening in Europe. There are some Islamic Centers that are controlled and/or influenced by political money from outside. These centers do not have the grassroots and community depth as those independent centers. Such politically influenced centers are usually well endowed, offer the basic religious services and their Imams are usually hand picked by those forces in the embassy of interest in that center.
- It represents a community that has been endowed with educated and affluent professionals who are the best in the Muslim world. They refuse to be dazzled or influenced by outside money. They insist on relying on their own resources and efforts.
- The 1960 - 2000+
- The Future:
Who Runs The Centers?
Mainly religiously motivated pious Muslim Immigrant professionals with good Islamic independent study and education or connections to Jamaa Islami or Muslim Brotherhood. Very few came from Al-Azhar but did not have much influence. They are helped by lower level "Imams or religious directors" who have been formally educated in the Madrassah System in Pakistan as Hafiz or as "Scholar" or from Al-Azhar.
A Board of Directors that may be elected or appointed depending on the bylaws of the center would manage the Center.
PROBLEMS: ALL WORK SHOULD BE Fi Sabeel Allah to All People of All Faiths
- The Influence of the $$$$$ Money.
- The One-Man Show Syndrome.
- Lack of Spirituality, except in Ramadan, compared to the weekly prayers in the Synagogues.
- Lack of a wide based community participation in the Friday and Sunday weekend programs.
- The Quality and Emphasis of Education program for adults, youths and children.
- No Well Defined, Debated and Credible MISSION.
- No Clear Vision of the Future.
- Ignorance of History and Educating Romantic Islamic History.
- Lack of Specialization among current leaders.
- Lack of In-Depth Professional Training to implement in the Center Management.
- Lack of Human Resources like Well Educated, Rounded, globally exposed, and spiritually motivated Imams.
- Lack of Respect for leaders, Imams, other Muslim Cultures and others at large.
- Lack of Independent Financial Muscles through community development and financial institutions.
- Lack of Developed, tested and live networks and their use in a non-fragmented way to benefit the Ummah at large.
- Lack of a FIGURE HEAD that represents Muslims locally, nationally and internationally. FRAGMENTATION on all levels.
- Lack of an Independent Focal Point that would represent the Real Center of Gravity in all aspects for All Muslims especially in Makkah, Madinah and Jerusalem.
- Lack of A model Voluntary-Based Pool to supply the needs of the System.
- Lack of a Credible, high quality, enriching and proven educational system on all levels.
- Lack of a Proven Hospital Health Care System.
- NO DISCPLINE!
- Unhappy Families! Teaching Men and Women how to please each other spiritually, physically and materially.