In the News: Portrait of an American Imam

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Being an imam in America, it’s shocking sometimes, but my first duty is to comfort others. -Imam Magid

This is an excellent, and practical, follow up to our video interview regarding Finding the Right Imam for Your Masjid. Please take a moment to check out this article from the Huffington Post, Mohamed Magid: A Portrait Of An American Imam, and watch the accompanying video. We have posted some relevant excerpts from the article below.

Unlike many of the 1,500 mosques around the country, which often function for little more than Friday prayers, ADAMS has several full-time staffers and a gamut of activities and services. They range from badminton and basketball games in its prayer hall during off hours to Muslim Boy and Girl Scout troop meetings on its lawn, martial arts courses, health seminars, Arabic and Quranic recitation classes and a community garden. Magid is at the center of this network….

By definition, an imam leads Muslims in prayer, a function that can be fulfilled by any Muslim man that has memorized Islamic prayers. Increasingly, however, imams are playing broader roles akin to ministers and rabbis, even seeking professional training, as growing Muslim populations look for services such as Islamic relationship counseling, immigration assistance and help with Islamic financing.

“I never planned to be an imam,” says Magid ….

Leading prayers and teaching classes at the Islamic Center of Washington and at Howard University, he realized that Muslim Americans — many who were also immigrants — needed more than just a prayer leader. Magid enrolled in college courses in psychology and family counseling and, at one point, holed himself up at home to watch “Eyes on the Prize,” a 14-hour documentary on the civil rights movement. “I wanted to understand my place as an imam of color,” he explains. ….

 

 

 

 

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters, Qalam Institute, Muslim Strategic Initiative, and Debt Free Muslims. He is a regular khateeb and has served in different administrative capacities in various national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow him on Google+ or on Twitter @ibnabeeomar.

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