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UnMosqued ReMosqued: Western Masajid and the Search for Community


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This post is meant for the the Muslim communities in the West where Islamic Centers and Masajid are the hub of community activity. When referring to a masjid, we do not mean where we make the actual salah, we mean the whole institution, the center and the community that it envelopes. It is a blessing that this conversation is taking place. As the response to, “Mosques are Missing the Point” pointed out, this topic resonates with so many; there is a thirst for many to come back to the House of Allah. 

Empty structures

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Amenities are great, but people matter more; I look at the churches here in the Northeast – phalerate structures with stained glass windows, cavernous sanctuaries, and shiny steeples. They were probably built by devout settlers hundreds of years ago, on large parcels of land, but they are empty, dead spaces. The people who built them must have sacrificed, much as our elders have, in making them.

Don’t get me wrong; my heart sings when I see the copper domes and the carved wooden mimbars of our mosques.  But what use are these if no one is coming to these palatial masajid? It seems that the boards of Islamic nonprofits invest in physical assets rather than human capital. Only 44% of all Imams are employed full-time and paid. Half of all mosques have no full-time staff. Program staff such as youth directors or outreach directors account for only 5% of all full-time staff. With all due respect to their knowledge and status, 66% of Imams were born abroad and many cannot relate to my generation, much less that of my children.

What is happening in our mosques?

People stop going, they stop attending. This doesn’t mean that they do not pray, it means that they are not attached to one particular masjid on a regular basis, nor is the masjid a relevant part of their lives. They do not know the people alongside whom they worship. The masjid is not a place they would reach out to if they were sick or needed help, to learn or to give.

In many communities, the very place that was meant to bring Muslims together has become an anathema for the community— associated with fighting, control, and divisions like little fiefdoms.

A recent hashtag on Twitter – #unmosqued – offers a poignant look into reasons why people have stopped attending the masjid or stopped being an active part of the community. This was spurred by a RadTalk on the topic, and has now evolved into a major documentary.

Some of the tweets and comments particularly caught my eye because they said things that many of us do not want to hear. The majority of grievances were from three major groups who have had abusive mosque experiences – new Muslims, youth, and women.

New Muslims

A sister shared an experience on how some of a particular masjid’s members asked a person to delay taking their shahadah until the next Jumu’ah, so more people could be there to see the “trophy of the day.” Boards tout how many conversions take place in the masjid but have nothing to offer the new Muslims after shahadah. This solid blogpost (and its responses) on what masajid need to do for converts, is very relevant to the discussion.


Aser Mir, a UK citizen, says the downfall of the youth as they turn to drugs, alcohol, and fornication in Muslim majority areas where there is a mosque on every corner is a troubling matter, “Many simply turn to mosques for Friday prayers or just ritual worship only. Many don’t turn to mosques at all. Others feel they can’t turn to their mosques. So, in effect, you can be attending the masjid or not and still be unmosqued.”

In a recent report by Ihsan Bagby regarding mosques in America, many mosque leaders shared the difficulties they are facing. Bagby writes, “The real challenge for them is not radicalism and extremism among the youth, but attracting them and keeping them close to the mosque.”


“The brothers do not know the concept of lowering their gaze and love grouping themselves in front of the doors.”

This is a common complaint by women who feel intimidated or are made to feel less because they ‘dared’ venture into a masjid.

“When a female has been a Muslim her entire life, and still does not know who to go to for questions about the religion. #Unmosqued #Cmon.”

I personally don’t have this issue since I have access now, but there were years when my only access was online fatwas, until I met a young British scholar. But once she left the country there were years where I didn’t know who to turn to for my questions.  Many Muslim women face this issue.

Other MuslimMatters contributers have had similar experiences. Ify Okoye tweeted, “At some mosques, unwelcome mat is unfurled w/ indignities tht remind us tht ‘this isn’t the Islam women were promised’ #unmosqued.” She has written prolifically about her experience at masajid.

Like many women, MM’s Ruth Nasrullah has been unmosqued because she was tired of not being included in the decision-making process at her local Islamic Center, and when her opinion was asked it was so uncomfortable.

For all those who don’t believe that this is the role of the masjid and that it should be purely a place for salah, read this hadith related by  ‘A’isha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her):

“There was a black slave-girl who belonged to an Arab tribe. They set her free and she stayed with them. She said, ‘One of their girls once went out wearing a red leather jeweled scarf. She put it down or it fell off, and a kite flew by it as it was lying there and, thinking it was meat, made off with it. They looked for it but could not find it, and so they suspected me of taking it.’ They began to search her and even searched her private parts. The girl went on, ‘By Allah, I was standing with them when the kite flew over and dropped it and it fell among them.’ I said, ‘This is what you suspected me and accused me of and I am innocent of it. There it is.'”

‘A’isha said, “She came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and became a Muslim. She had a tent or small hut in the mosque. She used to come to me and talk with me. She never sat with me without saying:

‘The day of the scarf was one of the marvels of our Lord

Yes indeed! He surely rescued me from the land of unbelief.’

“I asked her, ‘What is it with you? Whenever you sit with me, you say this. So she told me the story.” (Sahih Bukhari)

She was a woman, a youth, a minority, a convert, oppressed, poor and lived IN the masjid of the Beloved ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Today she may have been unmosqued.

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Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.



  1. Ruth Nasrullah

    April 8, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Asalaamu alaikum, Hena. Great post on a topic that’s crucial for the American Muslim community to address.

    Since you mentioned me and I live in Houston, I’d like to point out that the Clear Lake Islamic Center ( is a shining example in many ways of how a masjid can get it right.

    • Hena Zuberi

      April 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      Wa alaykummas salam wa rahmatulah,
      JazakAllah khayr for your feedback. We have discussed this amongst the sisters and you have been writing about it for a long time, it just took this talk & documentary to the get the word out.

      I have heard great things about Clear Lake Islamic Center. Tell us more about what they do right please.

      • ruth nasrullah

        April 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        Physical: the CLIC is clean, well-maintained, smells nice, is organized, has comfortable lounge areas, a gym, a kids play center that is manned by volunteers, a clear glass divider between men and women’s prayer spaces, clean and fully-stocked kitchen areas. Staff: The assistant imam is a full-time administrator, they recently hired a youth coordinator, of course Sh. Waleed Basyouni is a great asset in terms of knowledge and vision. Organizational culture: There is an expectation that children will not run around screaming and behaving wildly, the facility is green, there is openness to women’s involvement, there is a dedication to interfaith and active outreach to the community. They have a well-maintained website with accurate information posted and a Constant Contact email newsletter.

        There’s probably more to it than that, since I don’t go often. It’s the only masjid I ever go to, though.

  2. Asif

    April 9, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    AsA – Great article and well presented. I have experienced all the issues you have presented and have held same opinions for decades. I fully concur with the question or statement Lani Azhari posed. What is the function of a masjid especially in the west?

    Our local masajids shud be the local “watering holes” for the area muslims but they are not. The greatest disservice to local Muslims is the service of an immigrant imam who is not connected to local issues and is not able to provide ANY guidance. I dont give charity to a mosque regularly, even my area masjid, for they dont publish their financials to public as they must under 501c charter.

    I tried for over a year, in my local masjid in New Tampa, FL, to bring about changes to bring the young to the “property” of the masjid via different programs and then let opportunities bring them further in but to no avail. The BOD is a bunch of self-egotistical group and no less then walking-dead.

    We talk long and tall about unity, charity, rightousness, caring, cleanliness, etc. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Anyways, you get my point and I am regurgitating all you have so aptly reported on.

  3. Asif

    April 9, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    To those who read and vote on comments, please dont! YOUR votes dont carry as much weight as your comments do. So, please, take part in the duscussion so MM can know more about the community and this issue can grow to ever increasing awareness. Also, please let as many people know of these article series aa possible.

    I have said, over decades, that masajids should not exist as they do in the west but be part of a Muslim Community Center. I am glad to see someone talk on the same issue and, now, feel that Islam in the West might florish with us as Allah’s representatives – this designation carries all the aspirations this article has touched upon.

    Is there hope for us and our faith? Please dont tell me there is since Allah has promised to safeguard Islam for He has but not the Muslims if we dont act as Muslims that care for concerns “besides our own selves.”

    Hena and I may very well understand that these changes will bring about a blessing not dicussed in the article and that being the prospect of an American unified ummah – with gradients, of course.

  4. Aqeedah Awliya

    April 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    If people stop going to mosque it’s their problem. The need to feel attached to a community might be the root of the problem. Before anything else, going to a mosque and pray there is gaining 20something more sawab, so why would anyone stop going there? What’s the point of praying at home when you have the chance to go to a mosque. I think the problem is some people regard mosques as community clubs, no they are not

    • Ruth Nasrullah

      April 9, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      ASA. You have a valid point about the purpose of a masjid. However, some masajid put obstacles in the way of prayer. As an example, if women are behind a wall or in separate room they can’t see and follow the imam. This is a potential problem if a prayer is held which a woman is not familiar with, such as a janazah prayer; a woman has to rely on following the women she can see. If no one there knows the prayer all those women are left on their own to improvise as best they can.

    • Hena Zuberi

      April 9, 2013 at 10:06 PM

      JazakAllah Khayr for your perspective. Prayer is of course the most important part of attending the masjid but there are maqasid behind the congregational salah. Why are we asked to pray together, why 5 times, why are asked to pray Jumuah beyond the local community masjid and the Eidain with an even broader community. There are definite wisdoms behind these commands.
      We are supposed to worried about our brothers and sisters in Islam, inquire about their deen and dunya.

  5. Ghazala

    April 9, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Salam ‘alaikum,
    Subhan Allah we love Maryam Masjid /Maryam Islamic Center (MIC), in Sugar Land, TX. It is beautiful in every sense of the word. We have a large prayer area for sisters, separate entrance, smiling faces & a Zonal Council / management that is diverse & helpful, over twenty teams (with youth taking center stage & being trained to lead), that cater to many needs of the community, weekly counselling, a vibrant, young local brother as our Imam, plenty of events that cater to both young & old alike. Of course there is always the odd trouble maker but the rest of the community & the volunteers make up for the random unpleasantness. We are not perfect but strive for perfection every single day.
    This is from the Favors of Allah swt upon us & I pray Allah continues HIS favors upon us & upon all the Muslims across the world.

    • Hena Zuberi

      April 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Wa alaykummasslam,
      Ameen, I loved my former masjid Unity Center too despite any struggles, it was my family’s second home. We were getting there. Baby steps.

      Random unpleasantness is human as long as it is not the culture of organization. MIC sounds like an awesome community.

      I would love to hear more about how this was achieved. What steps did the community take?

      • Ghazala

        April 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        Jazakallahu khairan Sis. Hena for giving me the opportunity to present some of the specifics that contribute to the blessed MIC community. One of our very active, young volunteers Br.Waleed Mohiuddin helped me compile this list. We will take you to the vision as an organization and try to link this to our success, Alhamdulillah.

        Exemplary Institution across North America
        Having a vision itself brings us to a key factor – professionalism (and organization). Masaajid need to be given priority just as we do, to our businesses. Tawakkul is vital – aim high (recognize that there is no limit to Allah’s blessings), work hard (passion is key here – do it heartily with Ikhlas ), succeed (be thankful if outcome is positive, thankful and patient otherwise).

        Primary focus on recognizing potential in Youth, retain them as productive Muslims and empower them to become leaders
        This is one fundamental and distinguished element – focusing on Youth as leaders, mentoring them & instilling the required passion. Youth has the energy, exposure and creativity required of an outstanding institution – this coupled with the wisdom of our elders is a much known but apparent recipe for success. Our 23+ teams each with youth leadership is a key element of MIC’s growth, success and ability to retain the community members.
        What the centers also need, is to provide the environment and activities that youth spend most of their time in – sorry to mention the Starbucks and pool halls – but if this is what initially brings the youth in – this is what we give, of course in a Islamically and morally legal way – transformation is the next step which is achieved through presence in the Islamic Center.

        Family Friendly Institution
        This is where the concept of ‘Islamic Centers’ vs. ‘Masaajid’ becomes apparent. The purpose in many peoples mind seems to be that of fulfilling ritual obligations (the Masjid). We have to think beyond – use the ‘Centers’ to bring the community together – people often question the spending on community events, we need to think beyond this – this is truly an investment in the community – to gather people and provide that sense of community and brotherhood – to create memories that often become habits – the youth especially is much more likely to carry the morals and rituals they learn over to the next generation – realizing this and investing in the community is key.

        Promote Creativity, Innovation and Professionalism
        This sort of ties with the vision of an organization – we often tie these elements to engineering and manufacturing firms – it is time we apply them to activities and management of the Islamic Centers. Diversity in all aspects (age, gender, race, etc.) is key in promoting these elements – this is truly where the difference is both in terms of perception and success.

        Set new standards of Outreach
        This is self explanatory – creativity in outreach and leading by example – focus on our behavior that inspires others. One factor that our Daw’ah team demonstrates is the concept of ‘no compulsion’ – we do our due diligence – guidance is from Allah. Talking of events, MIC Daw’ah & Family teams are to organize one event per month besides the ongoing Halaqaat. Again this is done in the most professional way, for example, The Daw’ah team brings in a speaker, seeks approval, then sends in the event planer that outlines the dates & responsibilities of the other teams, Media does designing, printing, distribution of material, announcements FB page, audio/visual set up etc, Parking, Food, Maintenance Teams are all ready, set for the day of the event with a clean Masjid, extra help to constantly clean bathrooms, food provided, tea/coffee service available, so on so forth. It is one smooth operation Alhamdulillah.

        Promote active participation from Members in shaping the community and its future
        This is all about creating a sense of community and the sense of ownership (of the Center) within the community. Idea should be to create the willingness to be (proudly) associated with MIC – through active participation in activities, or as a community member. Seek input from members, show that they matter.
        MIC is passionate about interfaith dialogue, whereby our community is invited to attend these events / luncheons. Our events are as varied as Marriage counselling & events with esteemed scholars to lighter fare with dessert competitions, art competition (coming up) etc, that involve a large segment of our diverse community.

        I hope this outlines some of the things that contribute to an energetic and passionate MIC community – May Allah bless MIC and guide its members. Ameen.
        May Allah bless everyone at MM & all those who work in HIS path. Ameen.

  6. The Eco Muslim

    April 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Brilliant advice. I shall be using these ideas at our eco-mosque here in England.


    April 11, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Mash’allah this is a great article that lays out many of the issues facing American mosques today. Here’s what I think is going on with many mosques today; I think most of them are overwhelmed with the various issues facing Muslims in America (particularly the younger generations and new Muslims). Since most mosques are run by immigrant communities, and only have enough in their budget to simply run a prayer place (and not a community center) they are often times silent and helpless about the various issues you bring up above. I believe the idea of having “safe spaces” is generally a good idea, and one that mosques that can’t provide the services given by “safe spaces”, can benefit from. So rather than having “safe spaces” operate completely independently, I believe mosques should take advantage of their services and make their services aware to to their congregations. Also mosques should sometimes allow the “safe spaces” to use the mosque as a venue towards conducting any special events that could benefit the entire community (such as lectures/workshops on various important topics).
    As for my own experience, I try to encourage family members to attend their neighborhood mosques all the time, even though I understand when they say that their mosques are not well-equipped with everything. I remember one relative saying that her mosque didn’t offer any special events for youth, to which I replied that perhaps she should try volunteering to create and run these events herself (with the mosque board’s permission of course). Sometimes I think it’s important to initiate things ourselves, just to see how far we can go towards improving our mosque’s atmosphere ourselves.

  8. Zahrah

    April 12, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    I have to agree with Adeeqah (above). We expect the mosques to step in and fill in all the blanks of our social lives. This is not what the masjids are for. They are for us to gather and pray, send our children for Qur’an teaching, for funerals, weddings and the like. It’s above and beyond to ask of each masjid to provide unlimited services for youth (basketball games and events) and folks who have social needs. It’s great if a masjid has enough space and funds to provide but not many do. We in America are expecting the mosques to be like churches, with social events all the time. In other countries, the mosques aren’t expected to fill these other community needs, servicing each sector with games for the kids, functions where the women can cook and serve, family games and outings, etc. They go use the mosque to pray, and go home. Their neighbors and friends fill in the social functions. I always thought that was a great thing about a mosque. With the church, you are made to feel like you have to belong as a member of that church. If you leave and go to another church there is gossip and questioning about why you left. Not so with the mosques. They are open and there is no commitment to one or another. If you feel like one of the mosques is your home mosque, great! But no one is going to wonder why you decided to go to a different mosque this week.

    That being said, the new Muslims and the youth that grows up in America have these social needs, and have expectations of the mosques to fulfill them, not realizing this is not the duty of the mosque. Then, because of these feelings they themselves have created, they are left feeling unmosqued. I’m happy to be unmosqued! I can go to whichever one I please! I know folks from different ones and am happy to see them and meet new friends when I visit other mosques.

    However, because of the expectations and feeling that mosques are letting them down by not providing programs they need, we need to make these other services (like Make Space) to help service the needs of the Muslim communities. We all really do need to step in and help provide support and social services to one another (especially with new Muslims, women and youth) outside of the masjid. And mosques need to be connected to these groups and promote Make Space to help fill in the blanks of the needs of our community.

  9. Sandra Amen-Bryan

    April 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Salaam Aliekum,
    Yes, it is a “blessing” that this conversation is taking place in the light of day, in a honest manner, vs the venting process many of us have engaged in when discussing the issues detailed in this article.

    As a female worshipper, I have gone through all of the disgraces of having being eyed by a pack of men at the doors, too tiny of a space for the women, and hostile remarks/behavior that indicate my presence on Friday or another day was not welcome. Rather than shed tears anymore over the hurts I have incurred in masjids, in different states, I actually expect a certain level of rude behavior at any new mosque, I might attend. If i don’t get it, then I am happy. If I do, I chalk it up to their record and not mine. I take the best of what I get and leave the rest.

    I think anyone, man or woman, who attends any masjid regularly, has to develop their own Survival Strategy in order to protect one’s iman, while putting forth a desire to serve, as well as worship.

    And if the above solution is not acceptable, then I think the outcome is as the author documented: there are many other “Spaces” that are being formed to accommodate specific needs of the community(s). People who want to worship do not have to depend on the mosque establishment. They can and are developing ummahs of their own. They are leaving the domes and doing their own thing; and taking their financial resources with them.

    I think this is a positive trend. We don’t have a hierarchy for good reason: it naturally breeds competition for power, control and creates corruption. The development of additional spaces is good competition. For we all should all be competition for ‘good deeds’.

    • Gibran

      April 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Mashaa Allah sister, you reminded me of those who “turn of evil with good”

  10. GregAbdul

    April 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    I think there is a pattern here: it’s the women. The women’s section at my masjid is kind of crazy. My wife hates it and we used to get into heated arguments because she hated going there so much and I would insist she go. The problems are still there. Some scholars say it is our separation that is causing the problems. In the Indo/Pak masjids, they are big on the curtain or a separate room. The severe degree of separation causes the women to be more likely to talk during khutbahs and lectures because they are not directly in earshot of the speaker. So my wife goes to Jummah and struggles to listen to the Imam over a bunch of chatting sisters. It is an old guy’s club. May Allah reward you brothers for bringing this up. It’s a serious issue and you are right, it threatens our future as a Western Ummah. Some of us are obviously having a hard time being inclusive. I am black American, so I always blame prejudice. We come from these pure places where no one was different, and in America, everyone is different. We have to adjust our thinking and prioritize reaching out to those who are different and who we are used to seeing as less. Often, if you get to know that lesser person, you will find that he or SHE has strengths and good qualities that make them your equal or maybe your better!

  11. Tamirah-Amani Euphrates Jehan

    August 7, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    August 6, 2013, I traveled from Columbus, Ohio to Toledo, Ohio on a business assignment and saw the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. It was an extremely ornate-huge building sitting boldly and magnificently wear everyone driving Interstate 75 can see it. I’ve seen this huge structure years ago but I was not Muslim and had no idea what it was. Now, as a Muslim, I know that it is a masjid and Alhamduallahi, I had the opportunity to go visit. My sister, who is non-Muslim, accompanied me and was very excited to visit this majestic place of worship. So after my business was conducted in Toledo, we drove to Perrysburg, Ohio to visit the masjid. After spending about an hour trying to locate the masjid, Subhanallahi, we found it. It was around 4:30pm and we walked inside. From a distance, to the right of us, we saw a woman sitting at a desk. She was not wearing hijab (as I thought was customary to do when inside a masjid), but I am a newer Muslim convert and do not know all the proper etiquette, sunnah, etc., so I am still learning, as was my reason and excitement for visiting the masjid in the first place.

    At any rate, the phone rang and the woman answered the phone. I didn’t know if we should just start walking around so I waited to ask permission if it was okay first. While the woman was on the phone we saw a few shelved Islamic books and Al Qur’ans and various pieces of literature placed on a table. We heard some one say as-salaamu alaikum, and we turned around (I wasn’t sure if the woman was speaking to us or someone on the phone). We turned towards her and she briefly looked at us then put her head back down. I noticed she was off the phone so I said, wa laiku as-salam. She looked up again (saying nothing). So I said hello, we have traveled from Columbus, Ohio and saw this beautiful masjid and wanted to visit. She said, in an abrupt and rude manner, I will be leaving soon. I said, okay, isn’t the masjid open for Salat-al Dhuhr and Salat-al Asr in about an hour? She said yes but no one will probably come. I wanted to be clear if she meant that the masjid would be closing or if she meant it wasn’t really an “active” mosque so I asked her and she said yes it is an active mosque but that no one is normally present during these prayer times. So I said okay. Is it okay to look around, she said, again, in an abrupt and agitated manner, I guess. I have to say, I was taken-aback by her mannerism and behavior. She was so very impolite. It almost came off as being prejudice or something.

    As a hijab-wearing African-American Muslim, I know what it feels like when someone acts ugly towards a person of a different race, ethnicity, nationality, etc., and unfortunately, I experience these negative behaviors from Muslims (my so-called brothers and sisters in Islam) more than with non-Muslims (Allah (SWT) is my witness). It is extremely discouraging to give salams to a Muslimah and not get any in return. It is extremely disconcerting to see women not want to stand shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet with me during prayer and watch them “scoot” over -although I understand that it’s sunnah to connect the rows, etc. However, I just try to keep it moving and realize that it is “people” not Islam that acts undignified, but I cannot lie, it keeps me away from the masjid. I’ve gone to a few in my hometown but have entered and exited feeling like some type of “out-cast” or something. I also sense that the people are saying with their eyes, what are you doing here? This is our mosque. Like being a Black American is some type of disease. It is horrible because if you ever experienced this you know what I’m talking about and I know it is not a figment of my imagination or some type of insecurity issue I have.

    Back to the masjid in Perrysburg, Ohio. Like I said, I was taken aback by the reception we received (or really didn’t receive) from the woman. I don’t know if she was a Muslim or not and although I have met with cold receptions before from Muslims I still try not to let it discourage me from having a positive outlook and not to categorize all Muslims as being rude, impolite, racist, prejudice, or ignorant. So, again, I was just shocked by the cold treatment we received. We traveled about 2.5 hours away and took an additional hour trying to get to the masjid and only to be met by a cold/rude acting person who was, by all intensive-purposes, the representative of that masjid (just like if a person would call their local utility company, as a customer, you would expect to be treated with respect and dignity and if you are met with a rude customer service representative, your experience will impact your view/perception of the company (although it was the rep who was rude)). It’s just how it is. We reflect that which we say we represent (expressed or implied).

    I felt so disappointed and embarrassed by the woman’s behavior. I did not want my sister (non-Muslim) to have experienced this. What if I was bring someone there to take the Shahada? What if I was returning to the faith and wanted to make an appointment to meet with the Imam? What about the fact that I was a traveler (wayfayer) wanting to make my prayers? It was just a horrible experience, such so, that me and my sister said thank you and walked out the door. The spirit and attitude in that place was so negative, cold and unwelcoming, I would rather not waste my time there.

    Later that day, when I returned home, I looked at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo’s website again (like I did the day before I traveled there), to see if I missed anything. Was this a true Islamic place of worship? It said “Greater Toledo” as if it was the masjid serving all of the city and surrounding area. So why in the world would it have a woman in the office who is so rude?
    Then I Googled the masjid’s name and saw that it had met with disaster. From what I understand, about a year a go, a man entered the masjid with a gun with the intentions on shooting Muslims and when he found no one, he set fire to the prayer rug causing over 1.4 million dollars in damage. What a horrible thing! The man was charged for a hate crime, arson, and various other charged and sentenced. Me and my sister discussed how tragic this was and how we were glad that no one got hurt or died (Subhanallahi!).

    The fire set by that man caused a lot of physical damage.

    Then my sister made a statement that will stick with me forever.

    She said, that woman’s actions (and if she behaves that way on an ongoing basis) will cause more damage than that fire could ever cause.

    Respectfully submitted by

    Tamirah-Amani Euphrates Jehan
    Columbus, OH, USA

  12. Jennifer aboufadle

    June 1, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    I think it is important to bring our Mosqes back to being the center of our communities. I think I have a good idea for how to help make this happen. I think first and foremost there has to be a huge community of woman at the Masjids all the time(fajr to Isha) especially those who speak the language of the area and have knowledge of Quran, we need to give other Muslim women somewhere to come for new converts and women in need of community support(with loss, tragedy, and other stressors). Also, I think the best thing is to offer free high school education at the Masjid to highschool girls(only). We need to cement their faith and islamic education before they become wives and mothers. Fathers should love this because it will bring them to the Mosque and away from boys. The priority in making this free will be to have the mothers involved with the classes. In Florida we have free homeschooling online program called flvs, witch offers local teachers you can call for support. Also, with this I think it would be simple to add daycare the student could help the younger kids and that will also help them with basic parenting skills and teaching the girls to help the kids will hopefully show them the joys and troubles of motherhood that will help them appreciate their parents inshallah. I think with minimal start up money and space and a few mothers this could transform the Islamic communities for eons to come. Allah knows best.

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