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Rethinking the Masjid in America
by Abdul Malik Mujahid

"Muslims are the new Niggers of America. If you will not fight for yourself, no one will."

This is what the Jewish attorney of a Palestinian client recently told this author. And this was before 9/11. Who will take up the challenge of the new civil rights movement in America?

Masjids are the main organizing unit of Muslims on this continent. In the presence of weak national organizations, Masjids by default may end up performing a role which their founders did not perceive, much like the black churches did in the American Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 60s. But is the Masjid in America ready for it?

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ushered in a new era for Masjids in North America whereby mosques became centers where Muslims and non-Muslims met face-to-face in the context of tragedy and solidarity.

Although very few mosques had their structures physically damaged after 9/11, the attacks shook up the Masjids' administration, as security became an immediate concern. In some cases, neighbors and interfaith groups took it upon themselves to take the Masjid out of its isolation. As a result, many mosques opened up to their neighbors, believers in God and brothers in humanity who do not believe in Islam. Their questions forced Masjids to look for Islamic literature and copies of the Quran. Many mosques organized open houses for the first time allocating some budget for these activities. As a result of such events, Muslims felt a level of comfort when others stood in the mosque and supported them as neighbors. This was a new experience for most Masjids.

It remains to be seen whether this openness to interfaith camaraderie is translated into a common agenda and more civic responsibility in the neighborhoods where the mosques are located. The incidents of 9/11 clearly indicate that Masjids can no longer be islands of isolation. They must and can reach out to meet tomorrow's challenges.

As an observer of US policy since September 11, this author is under no illusion that the American war on terrorism is bound to make America a continued target for more terrorism. Violence breads violence. If Israel, after decades of occupation, cannot contain essentially armless Palestinian refugees in their few square miles, America cannot feel safer following the same policies. Which policies are going to be more effective in defeating terrorism? What can the Muslim community in America do to prevent such happenings? If terrorist attacks, God forbid, do happen, then how is the Muslim community here is going to handle it? While these questions are subject of many discussions, this article dwells essentially on what the Muslim community can do to improve itself organizationally.

This author feels that Muslims are not ready to handle such a plausible eventuality. Our Masjids and their resources need to be much more organized than what they are now. That preparation essentially involves professionalism, more openness, greater civic involvement, allocating resources to develop coalitions and alliances throughout society, as well as a higher level of expenditure on the legal defense and physical security of the community. Other important steps are the ongoing training of staff and Masjid leaderships, and most of all, helping our neighbors understand what we are and the difference between us and those who give a bad name to our faith will help us in this regard as well. But let's first see what are the strengths and weaknesses of our community.

Strengths of Masjids in North America:

Walk into a Masjid in North America versus one in Cairo or Dhaka and you sense the difference almost immediately.

While the Masjid comes to life for prayers in most Muslim countries, many mosques in North America are full of life and activity beyond prayers. Weekend schools, full-time Islamic schools, adult classes, lectures, visiting non-Muslims, potluck dinners, bookstores, libraries, social gatherings, sisters, volunteers, committees, people accepting Islam, new Muslim classes and handshaking local politicians are among some of the unique features. In fact, in being the center of community life, the Masjid in America is probably closer to the Prophet Mohamed's (peace and blessings be upon him) Masjid in Madinah than most of the mosques in the Muslim world.

After all, the Masjid was never meant to be simply a place of worship with little to no participation by Muslims in it beyond that. The Masjid, in early Islamic times, was the locus of the community. There was a dynamism and activity that today is absent from many of the mosques of the Muslim world. A number of North American Masjids, however, are developing that quality as dictated by necessity.

Another distinctive phenomena in North American Masjids and Islamic centers is the participation of women. While women in North America, like Masjids in Madinah and Makkah come to pray, in many Masjids, they are administrators, teachers, students, chair committee etc.

North American Masjids are also multi-ethnic. According to the Council on American-

Islamic Relations (CAIR)'s 2001 report The Mosque In America: A National Portrait, mosque-goers in North America range from African-Americans (30 percent) to Arabs (25 percent) to South East Asians (two percent) to South Asians, the largest group, (33 percent) to Europeans (two percent). There is clearly multinational diversity which is not found in much of the Muslim world.

The Islamic principle of Shura (mutual consultation), which has long been forgotten in the Muslim world, where authoritarian and despotic regimes run the show, is in full force in North American Masjids. According to the Masjid survey, 59 percent of Masjids make decisions via a consultative council and 28 percent are made by the Imam.

Financially, most Masjids felt satisfied with their budgets as compared to most of the national Muslim organizations. There are probably more than 50 Muslim community centers in America whose annual budgets are higher than almost all the national organizations of Muslims.

Masjids on this continent are a growing phenomena. Even up to the 1960s, we had less than 20 mosques in America. This was followed by a sharp increase in the number of Masjids and Islamic centers established. Today, we have over 1000. This number does not include the thousands of temporary prayer spaces available to Muslims like on university campuses, in hospitals and other workplaces. If these are factored in, there are at least 3,000 places that Muslims use as places of prayer and congregation for Friday.

Challenges our Masjids and Islamic centers face:

The Masjid is part of the Muslim Ummah of North America. One question each Masjid needs to ask itself is what it is contributing in terms of human and financial resources for the growth of Islam and its institutions at the North American level. By asking this question, creative solutions to our challenges and needs can be harnessed.

Here are a few things Masjids can do to meet these in our communities.

Thinking for Your Masjid & Planning:

Although most Masjids have building expansion plans, very rarely do they develop short-term or long-term plans in view of the challenges Islam and Muslims face in North America based on their assessment of the weaknesses of their own congregations. Thinking for the growth of the Muslim community in its location and at the national level is very important for the proper usage of its resources. On a professional level, we use tools like loud thinking to develop strategic plans. This must also be used for Masjids and Islamic centers in fulfilling the community's needs in all areas, not just in providing a place to pray, a weekend school and other staple Masjid activities.

What is the thinking process in your Masjid? Can you organize a survey of Masjid participants to learn from their input? Can a sister's retreat do a loud thinking session to provide input into your Masjid Shura? Can the graduates of your Sunday schools come up with a list of things they would like their Masjid to do? Can a few social scientists in your Masjid be recruited to provide their input based on a review of your past plans?

You know your Masjid better. You can think creatively about its growth in terms of civic responsibility. Masjids cannot remain islands of isolation. They must become skilled in communications, public relations, the organized redirection of their resources and more.

Your Masjid can acquire information about its own demographics and issues from the CAIR survey. This can be used to compare it with other active Masjids and places of worship to find out how they have been helpful to the people who come to the Masjid and those who don't. If a proper plan is developed based on this information, this can help our Masjids, even if it is not implemented. It will at least have kick-started the thinking process many mosques today are lacking.

Unity for Common Agenda

Do you remember the story about the importance of unity where an old man demonstrated this concept by showing how one stick could be easily be broken but if all sticks are put together, it's difficult to break them? Well, this age-old anecdote can apply to Masjids as well.

Mosques and Islamic centers in every city must unite. It is an Islamic requirement and it is the dictate of our times. If you cannot handle the challenges we are facing alone then it is important to join forces for a common agenda which can rely on united resources. Even if there are only two or three Masjids and Muslim organizations in your city, you need to sit down on a monthly basis and develop your Shura. If you are more than three, you can establish a council of Muslim organizations in your community. In many cities Muslims are doing it. Send us an e-mail and we can provide you with sample by-laws for this task.

Although most Masjids and organizations are not theoretically against unity, they have been unable to work together because of the time factor. Unity does require time allocation, understanding and accommodation. The blessings of God will be with you if you come together for a common cause and the betterment of society.

Limits of Volunteerism & the need for full-time staff in Masjids:

America works nine to five, five days a week. And this is precisely the time when most Masjids are closed and no one is available to answer a query. A majority of Masjids in North America are run by doctors, engineers, computer scientists, and businessmen. They are all very successful in their fields and work in a professional manner. But when it comes to Masjids, it is by and large a volunteer job not in the best of the volunteer tradition. It is about time for Masjids' leadership to recognize the limits of volunteerism the way we practice it. Good usage of the precious time of talented volunteers requires professional management. It is about time Masjids hire full-time staff with good communication skills to deal with situations which require outreach with America.

Budget Beyond Bricks:

Most Masjids have no budget for Dawa or public relations. Most do not even have a Dawa committee. This is a serious problem.

Post-9/11, outreach and public relations are very critical for Muslims in America. By setting aside a certain amount of funds beforehand for such activities and planning them accordingly, Masjids and Islamic centers will be better equipped to face the challenges of Dawa and outreach in their neighborhoods and communities. How does your Masjid budget come in to being? Can your general body or Shura adopt a resolution to allocate 30% of the Friday collection for outreach efforts? How are designated funds are handled? Can your Masjid launch a fundraising campaign specifically for outreach purposes? Can the Zakat be reorganized to institutionalize help for the poor and needy? What is the budget for interfaith relations, developing coalitions and building networks with others?

Rethinking community finances is critical since most national organizations can hardly pay the salary of their employees. Issues like the legal and physical defense of Muslim properties, institutions and leadership must be a responsibility of all our organizations, including local ones.

Social services for society:

Although almost all Masjids help the poor and needy, institutions for social services with professional staff and dedicated space do not exist in our communities. While there is distribution of Zakat and Sadaqa, there is no sustained allocation to those who need it beyond a short period.

For example, it is estimated that more than ten percent of the prison population is Muslim. When they are released, they don't have the financial resources they need to get off their feet. They lose the brotherhood that fellow believers in prison provided and survive at the mercy of charities who more often than not want them to attend Bible classes and Church. They are literally left to fend for themselves. One of the first places they turn to for help is the local Masjid or Islamic center, which, beyond being able to provide some money, cannot do more in most cases.

As a result, one survey shows that more than 40 percent of these new Muslims whither away from Islam. If there was a system either within or affiliated to our Masjids and Islamic centers, such as halfway houses, it would be easier for them to make a transition to real life with their faith intact. To this author's knowledge, there are not more than one or two halfway houses which are being run by Muslims (our information may not be accurate, so if you know of any more Muslim-run halfway houses, please inform us). This will require us to rethink how Zakat is spent. How are the Masjids of "haves" and "have nots" working together to use Zakat for the rebuilding of a multi-ethnic Muslim community in North America? These social service institutions should be open to people of all faiths.

Outreach programs:

Most Masjids do not have an organized outreach program, which would help share Islam with neighbors and society in general. Few of our mosques have a full-time staff. Most of them are closed when America works, that is 9 to 5 on weekdays, because they are run by volunteers who are themselves working at this time. So if an institution, media or an individual in need calls, no one answers them. They'll have to wait till the weekend. When a response from the Masjid does come around though, it's usually too late, as they and the rest of America are involved in their own personal or family pursuits on the weekend. Questions to ask will be: How is Masjids phone response system? How do we welcome visitors? How can our Masjids can be more welcoming? How should we relate to those neighbors who do not care to enter the Masjids themselves?

Women's participation:

Although there is a higher level of women's participation in North American Masjids than in Egypt or India, for instance, most attending women are highly educated with professional degrees and their potential is not being fully used for the Masjid and the Islamic agenda on this continent. While teaching in Islamic weekend schools, helping organize the women's section of the mosque during functions and cooking for Masjid-related events are important, Masjids and Islamic centers are not maximizing the potential of these sisters. Women and Jihad continue to be two major points of confusion in America regarding Islam. Let our sisters stand for Islam and deal with both of these issues for men who have so far failed to articulate them. Are women a full part of our community life? Are they part of the Shura process? How many sisters get to present Islam?

Weekend schools:

Although our weekend Islamic schools have helped a number of Muslim children retain their Islam at a basic level, they have not prepared the next generation of Muslims to take on leadership of the community. We have produced graduates who know how to read the Quran, memorize some parts of it, try to maintain Muslim character and eat Halal food. But most of these young Muslims are not involved in running a Masjid or Islamic center. Are weekend schools doing their job? Can weekend schools be exciting places whose products are the next generation of our leadership?

Fighting with the fear:

It is natural that Muslims are fearful considering that more than 50% have experienced harassment in the aftermath of 9/11 according to a Zogby Survey. Although most Muslims appreciate President Bush's statement in a Washington Islamic Center, the ongoing media treatment of Islam is not helping. Muslims are fearful of the unknown and fear physical and economic harm. Masjids must play a role in helping Muslims cope with these fears by translating them into energy for the community. Action is one sure way of handling fear and anxiety.

Unity and the reorganization of Muslims resources can help deal with the phenomena of fear. The Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him) asked that even if you see the end of the world coming and you are planting a tree, you should go ahead and plant it. So the importance of action is critical, even at a time when work seems futile.

Request Imams and teachers to highlight and address the need to rely on the Creator. Allah has said in the Quran, "The mosques of God shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in God and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, and fear none (at all) except God. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance" (Surah Tawbah, 9:18). Fearing none but God is what God has asked us to do. Death will not come until its time has come. If its time has come no one on earth can delay it for a second. Allah who feeds birds who don't carry food with them, will feed us as well. Imams and the Masjids' leadership need to comfort and guide Muslims during this difficult time in America. That should be reflected in Khutbahs, Quranic lessons, Sunday schools as well as newsletters.

Relying on Allah should also be reflected by incorporating the following into Muslims' daily remembrance (Zikr): Tawakalto al Allahe la haula wala quwwata illa billahil Alliul Azeem (I put my trust in God. There is no power and strength above that of God, the Great).

Muslims' concerns about physical harm and security need to be dealt with by establishing phone trees for Masjids (link), and developing relationships with the police in the area, human rights groups, civil rights groups, as well as educating people about their rights.

It is also important to remind people that they are not the only one who are fearful. Think of those 30 percent of Americans who say that they have difficulty sleeping in the aftermath of 9/11. Think of Afghans; think of Kashmiris who have one armed Indian soldier for every ten Kashmiris; think of Palestinians whose are facing the might of Israel in the Occupied Land; think of what the people in Argentina are facing.

But one of the sure ways of handling fear is by thinking about how to enhance communication with other minority groups in society. We can learn from the experience of African- and Japanese-Americans in profiling. We can also understand the organizational structures and institutions they have developed for their own concerns. These ultimately led to an improvement in American laws and society in reference to civil and human rights.

 


Your Comments

Galib Ramathan, Toronto - wrote on 4/3/2012 5:56:21 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: I am a poor young man from Somalia seeking for help April 3, 2012 Galib Ramathan 1626 Weston Road Unit B1 Toronto, Ontario, M9N 1T9, Canada E-Mail: galibramathan@yahoo.ca To Whom It May Concern: Assalamu Alaikum My Dear Brothers/Sisters in Islam My name is Galib Ramathan. I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 1st 1981. I am from a poor Muslim family. I have a problem and I need some help. And I am currently a Canadian citizen. I am from a low income family and in need of financial assistance. I am sick and suffering from a mental illness called Schizophrenia; I am unable to work or to go to school because of this illness. Presently, I am taking a medication and in care of a family doctor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My health was affected by the civil war in Somalia when I was ten years old and its deteriorating day by day. I have been sick for the past 20 years since 1991. Presently, I am residing in Toronto for the past 17 years by myself with no family members. My family is in East Africa Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania, I have been away from my family since 1994; we were separated because of the civil war in Somalia. I have decided to move to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania permanently to join my family, I never took a medication in my life when I was in Africa it doesnít matter what part of Africa. Now if I go back to Tanzania my personal health problem will be improve greatly. I will feel much better. I am going to Tanzania in order to improve my health condition. I am frustrated, lonely and depressed living in Canada alone without my family I canít eat properly and I cannot sleep because of the stress, I believe I will be off in Tanzania with my family as I am ill and they can take care of me. I strongly believe my health will improve with my family around; I lived in Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania for many years before coming to Canada and that time I was healthy and I never suffered from any disease or illness. I am not will be unable to get enough money to survive there. I am in need of financial assistance in order to move back to Tanzania, as I am unable to work due to my illness and I cannot survive in Africa as there is no agency or government that can assist me financially. I would be much better for my health wise physical and mentally I will really appreciated for any help that I can get from you. If I remember how we lived in Tanzania sometimes I cry. I am in need urgent support and please try to assist me the best you can. Please donít ignore me as long as we are Muslim brothers and sisters. Please try to help me as much as you can. Today I don't have a life in this country. I spend thinking about myself of not knowing what to do. I would like to achieve a better life as well as independence. Now the problem I have is I am not will be able to get enough money to survive there. I cannot survive in Africa without any support. Tanzania is a poor country however everybody is happy and healthy nobody worries about anything because there is no stress, frustration and depression. I have strong feelings going back to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania for good. I am requesting any financial assistance for this matter. I am a poor social support in Canada. I am requesting any Zakat, Whatever Zakat you can afford please send me a cheque with my name on it at above address on the top of this letter with ups services, or Federal Express post. Please don't send me regular mail because my house is basement the mail box there is no key and it is outside apartment it is not safe. Please the reason I send you this letter is to let you know about my situation as Muslim brothers and sisters. Anyway you can help me will be greatly appreciated. Islam cares much for maintaining the highest level of social solidarity and strength among the members of the society. It goes without saying that spending money on charitable deeds, such as helping the needy, alleviating the pains of the distressed and support those who are in need will be upon them in this world and hereafter. Any amount of money that I can get will be appreciated and I will pray for you and for myself for God to make it easy for me and bless whoever will be willing to assist me, reward them and make it easy upon them in this world and hereafter? I will not be unable to survive Tanzania without assistance. Please try your best to assist me. I get depressed if the weather is too cold especially during the wintertime but African season is always summer there is no winter in Africa. The weather in Tanzania is good and I will be more active unlike here I cannot stand the winter season and the more I stay inside my apartment due to the cold I get more stressed out and depressed. I would like to be independent in my life I want to get a better life in the future. I am very happy to go back to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania to be with my family. I miss my family and I miss home. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me as soon as possible with good news. I feel depressed and unhappy and I feel lonely. I would like to closer to my family. I am Planning to go to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania on September 1st, 2012 for good insha-Allah. I am happy to go to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania to be with my family. I need your help and would you please help me in this situation? I would like to have a chance to live happily and to experience no frustration due to my illness. I am very desperate for your help. If you donít help me, who will? Thank you, for your understanding and May Allah bless you and your family. Jazak Allah Khayran Yours sincerely, Galib Ramathan


Galib Ramathan, Toronto - wrote on 4/3/2012 1:33:41 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: In the name of Allah the most Gracious and most merciful--------------- April 3, 2012 Galib Malik Ramathan 1626 Weston Road Unit B1 Toronto, Ontario, M9N 1T9, Canada E-Mail: galibramathan@yahoo.ca To Whom It May Concern: Assalamu Alaikum My Dear Brothers/Sisters in Islam My name is Galib Ramathan. I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 1st 1981. I am from a poor Muslim family. I have a problem and I need some help. And I am currently a Canadian citizen. I am from a low income family and in need of financial assistance. I am sick and suffering from a mental illness called Schizophrenia; I am unable to work or to go to school because of this illness. Presently, I am taking a medication and in care of a family doctor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My health was affected by the civil war in Somalia when I was ten years old and its deteriorating day by day. I have been sick for the past 20 years since 1991. Presently, I am residing in Toronto for the past 17 years by myself with no family members. My family is in East Africa Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania, I have been away from my family since 1994; we were separated because of the civil war in Somalia. I have decided to move to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania permanently to join my family, I never took a medication in my life when I was in Africa it doesnít matter what part of Africa. Now if I go back to Tanzania my personal health problem will be improve greatly. I will feel much better. I am going to Tanzania in order to improve my health condition. I am frustrated, lonely and depressed living in Canada alone without my family I canít eat properly and I cannot sleep because of the stress, I believe I will be off in Tanzania with my family as I am ill and they can take care of me. I strongly believe my health will improve with my family around; I lived in Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania for many years before coming to Canada and that time I was healthy and I never suffered from any disease or illness. I am not will be unable to get enough money to survive there. I am in need of financial assistance in order to move back to Tanzania, as I am unable to work due to my illness and I cannot survive in Africa as there is no agency or government that can assist me financially. I would be much better for my health wise physical and mentally I will really appreciated for any help that I can get from you. If I remember how we lived in Tanzania sometimes I cry. I am in need urgent support and please try to assist me the best you can. Please donít ignore me as long as we are Muslim brothers and sisters. Please try to help me as much as you can. Today I don't have a life in this country. I spend thinking about myself of not knowing what to do. I would like to achieve a better life as well as independence. Now the problem I have is I am not will be able to get enough money to survive there. I cannot survive in Africa without any support. Tanzania is a poor country however everybody is happy and healthy nobody worries about anything because there is no stress, frustration and depression. I have strong feelings going back to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania for good. I am requesting any financial assistance for this matter. I am a poor social support in Canada. I can't even afford to visit with my family and spend more time with them to feel much better. My Airline ticket it cost $1650.00 including everything I am requesting any Zakat. Whatever Zakat you can afford please send me a cheque with my name on it at above address on the top of this letter with ups services, or Federal Express post. Please don't send me regular mail because my house is basement the mail box there is no key and it is outside apartment it is not safe. Please the reason I send you this letter is to let you know about my situation as Muslim brothers and sisters. Anyway you can help me will be greatly appreciated. Islam cares much for maintaining the highest level of social solidarity and strength among the members of the society. It goes without saying that spending money on charitable deeds, such as helping the needy, alleviating the pains of the distressed and support those who are in need will be upon them in this world and hereafter. Any amount of money that I can get will be appreciated and I will pray for you and for myself for God to make it easy for me and bless whoever will be willing to assist me, reward them and make it easy upon them in this world and hereafter? I will not be unable to survive Tanzania without assistance. Please try your best to assist me. I get depressed if the weather is too cold especially during the wintertime but African season is always summer there is no winter in Africa. The weather in Tanzania is good and I will be more active unlike here I cannot stand the winter season and the more I stay inside my apartment due to the cold I get more stressed out and depressed. I would like to be independent in my life I want to get a better life in the future. I am very happy to go back to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania to be with my family. I miss my family and I miss home. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me as soon as possible with good news. I feel depressed and unhappy and I feel lonely. I would like to closer to my family. I am Planning to go to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania on June 1st, 2012 for good insha-Allah. I am happy to go to Tanzania to be with my family and share my life with them to feel much better. I need your help and would you please help me in this situation? I would like to have a chance to live happily and to experience no frustration due to my illness. I am very desperate for your help. If you donít help me, who will? Thank you, for your understanding and May Allah bless you and your family. Jazak Allah khayran Yours sincerely, Galib Ramathan


Galib Ramathan, Toronto - wrote on 4/1/2012 2:25:12 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: April 1st, 2012 Galib Malik Ramathan 1626 Weston Road Unit B1 Toronto, Ontario, M9N 1T9, Canada E-Mail: galibramathan@yahoo.ca To Whom It May Concern: Dear Sir or Madam: My name is Galib Ramathan. I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 1st 1981. I am from a poor Muslim family. I have a problem and I need some help. And I am currently a Canadian citizen. I am from a low income family and in need of financial assistance. I am sick and suffering from a mental illness called Schizophrenia; I am unable to work or to go to school because of this illness. Presently, I am taking a medication and in care of a family doctor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My health was affected by the civil war in Somalia when I was ten years old and its deteriorating day by day. I have been sick for the past 20 years since 1991. Presently, I am residing in Toronto for the past 17 years by myself with no family members. My family is in East Africa Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania, I have been away from my family since 1994; we were separated because of the civil war in Somalia. I have decided to move to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania permanently to join my family, I never took a medication in my life when I was in Africa it doesnít matter what part of Africa. Now if I go back to Tanzania my personal health problem will be improve greatly. I will feel much better. I am going to Tanzania in order to improve my health condition. I am frustrated, lonely and depressed living in Canada alone without my family I canít eat properly and I cannot sleep because of the stress, I believe I will be off in Tanzania with my family as I am ill and they can take care of me. I strongly believe my health will improve with my family around; I lived in Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania for many years before coming to Canada and that time I was healthy and I never suffered from any disease or illness. I am not will be unable to get enough money to survive there. I am in need of financial assistance in order to move back to Tanzania, as I am unable to work due to my illness and I cannot survive in Africa as there is no agency or government that can assist me financially. I would be much better for my health wise physical and mentally I will really appreciated for any help that I can get from you. If I remember how we lived in Tanzania sometimes I cry. I am in need urgent support and please try to assist me the best you can. Please donít ignore me. Please try to help me as much as you can. Today I don't have a life in this country. I spend thinking about myself of not knowing what to do. I would like to achieve a better life as well as independence. Now the problem I have is I am not will be able to get enough money to survive there. I cannot survive in Africa without any support. Tanzania is a poor country however everybody is happy and healthy nobody worries about anything because there is no stress, frustration and depression. I have strong feelings going back to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania for good. I am requesting any financial assistance for this matter. I am a poor social support in Canada. I can't even afford to visit with my family and spend more time with them to feel much better. Whatever charity you can afford please send me a cheque with my name on it at above address on the top of this letter with ups services, or Federal Express post. Please don't send me regular mail because my house is basement the mail box there is no key and it is outside apartment it is not safe. Please the reason I send you this letter is to let you know about my situation as Muslim brothers and sisters. Anyway you can help me will be greatly appreciated. Islam cares much for maintaining the highest level of social solidarity and strength among the members of the society. It goes without saying that spending money on charitable deeds, such as helping the needy, alleviating the pains of the distressed and support those who are in need will be upon them in this world and hereafter. Any amount of money that I can get will be appreciated and I will pray for you and for myself for God to make it easy for me and bless whoever will be willing to assist me, reward them and make it easy upon them in this world and hereafter? I will not be unable to survive Tanzania without assistance. Please try your best to assist me. I get depressed if the weather is too cold especially during the wintertime but African season is always summer there is no winter in Africa. The weather in Tanzania is good and I will be more active unlike here I cannot stand the winter season and the more I stay inside my apartment due to the cold I get more stressed out and depressed. I would like to be independent in my life I want to get a better life in the future. I am very happy to go back to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania to be with my family. I miss my family and I miss home. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me as soon as possible with good news. I feel depressed and unhappy and I feel lonely. I would like to closer to my family. I am Planning to go to Dar-Es Salaam, Tanzania on September 1st, 2012 for good. I am happy to go to Tanzania to be with my family and share my life with them to feel much better. I need your help and would you please help me in this situation? I would like to have a chance to live happily and to experience no frustration due to my illness. I am very desperate for your help. If you donít help me, who will? Thank you, for your understanding and May God bless you and your family. Yours sincerely, Galib Ramathan


Zed, Houston - wrote on 3/18/2011 4:53:46 PM
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Comment: I have often heard the reference to "a study" regarding the Muslim revert population that withers away, but I have yet to see one direct reference to the source of this information. I am sure what you say is correct but, I would like to know more about this study/survey that everyone talks about. Thanks for this great article.


Zed, Houston - wrote on 3/18/2011 4:53:13 PM
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Comment: I have often heard the reference to "a study" regarding the Muslim revert population that withers away, but I have yet to see one direct reference to the source of this information. I am sure what you say is correct but, I would like to know more about this study/survey that everyone talks about. Thanks for this great article.


Tayabur Rahman Laskar, Silchar - wrote on 9/28/2010 1:00:22 AM
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Comment: Thanks for your service


abdul hakim khan, india - wrote on 8/30/2005 9:12:48 AM
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Comment: Assalam alaikum, i do agree with your suggestion but one important aspect is that we need to spread this news in masses.i aspire you welcome my suggestion and spread this news not only through internet but through media as well. khuda hafiz


Jade , Australia, Sydney - wrote on 7/25/2005 4:36:11 AM
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Comment: You have really opened my eyes and showed me how terrible it would be if i was in any muslims shoes , i am going to try and let my fellow man to look out for you all in terms of making them aware that they shoulds treat others as they would want to be treated!


, - wrote on 1/20/2004 10:56:47 AM
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Comment: As Salaamu Alaikum; Alhamdulillah we are starting to realize the important role that Masjids have to play. As you have said in the article Masjids are ment to be the centre for community activity not just daily prayers. we need to change ourselves and look at how our beloved Prophet (pbuh) run his mosque. InshaAllah hardships are going to pass away and people who hold on to the rope of Allah will come out of this with stronger iman and be better Muslims. I hope and pray that my brothers and sisters all around the world will not see this as a bad time for Muslims but as a test for our Iman. I have seen many muslims shy of their Muslim names after 9-11 and are using non-muslim names to hide their identity. This is not a time to hide but to come out and speak about Islam and educate others about it so that the damage done to our deen by few extremists can be un-done. If we dont stand up then who will and what are we leaving for our next generation then. Allah is always with us when we are working for His pleasure. Let us work to improving the image of Islam by education and practicing it in our lives. Our prophet (pbuh) did not spread Islam by sword but people saw his actions and accepted islam. OH' ALLAH Guide this ummah in serving You and You alone....Ameen


Cindygrrl, Madison, WI - wrote on 9/17/2003 7:41:28 AM
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Comment: Asalamualaikum--good article but I must agree with both the poster who said "remember this as a lesson" and the poster who said it's hard as a Black Muslim to unify with people who think of you as the n***** anyway. Insh'allah the current climate will make immigrant Muslims take a long hard look at the racism that goes on WITHIN the mosque. It is a definite turnoff, especially to Black converts like myself, who are actively uncomfortable with what goes on in the mosque. One lesson that can be learned from all this is that the Muslim community needs to unite with the larger minority community that it generally shuns.


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