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Georgia Mosques Pursue Change After Al-Farooq Summit

Georgia Mosques Pursue Change After Al-Farooq Summit

Author Edward Mitchell by

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Photo: Al-Farooq Masjid

Al-Farooq Masjid plans to host training sessions for Georgia imams on May 2nd and May 16th. This would mark the first action taken after the leaders of 17 Georgia mosques met at Al-Farooq last month to discuss and solve problems facing Muslim houses of worship across the state.

“There is no doubt that if Georgia masajid unite, we can effectively address the needs of the community and counter some of the modern challenges in our society,” said Musheer Ahmed, a volunteer at Al-Farooq Masjid who previously launched the Atlanta mosque’s New Muslim Program for converts.

One mosque representative who attended the March 14th meeting at Al-Farooq said that the summit was “important” and “long overdue.”

“It brought the masajid together [to create] a centralized solution center for some of the common issues faced by the masajid in and around metro Atlanta,” said Moin Khan, chairman of the Islamic Community Center of Atlanta.

During the roundtable meeting, imams and board members from 17 participating Georgia mosques discussed numerous issues facing Georgia mosques, including the need to address the “unmosqued phenomenon,” properly train imams, welcome and educate Muslim converts, ensure the proper distribution of donations, and improve accommodations for female mosque attendees.

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The group ultimately settled on a five-point action plan to address such issues: hold expert-based training sessions for imams; place khutba suggestion boxes in all mosques; participate in more volunteer and relief efforts in local communities; create a list of resources for imams regarding domestic violence and counseling; and meet again in three months to review progress.

The upcoming training sessions are the first action item tackled by the group.

“[W]e are doing a series of training sessions for imams, masjid counselors and organizations that are involved with helping people,” Ahmed said. “We are inviting expert speakers on each topic to discuss how community leaders can help Muslims that are dealing with modern societal issues, share available resources and legal implications if any.”

Expert speakers at the May 2nd and May 16th training sessions plan to address issues related to child abuse, domestic violence, youth counseling, addiction and recovery, intergeneration conflict and premarital counseling.

Future training sessions, Ahmed said, could address conflict resolution, mental health, marriage and divorce.

But training imams is just one of the various issues the group hopes to address in the coming months.

“[Mosques] may not be welcoming enough, especially for sisters,” the group wrote in its meeting minutes, encouraging gender-segregated mosques to keep female areas clean, make khutbas clearly audible in such areas, and increase activities designed for sisters.

The group also noted “a small but vocal number of Muslims are choosing not to attend the masjid.”

Possible solutions the group discussed included making khutbas more relevant and topical, expanding “physical space” and “activities” for women, and increasing the number of educational and social programs at the mosque.

The group also agreed to combat Islamophobia by reaching out to local media outlets, avoiding reactionary behavior, engaging with law enforcement, and publicly clarifying Islamic teachings in a “non-apologetic” manner, among other things.

The 17 mosque representatives plan to meet again within three months to examine their progress in achieving such goals.

“In Islam we all brothers and sisters of each other,” said Dr. Khalid Siddiq, a member of Al-Farooq’s Board of Trustees. “The same is true of masajid. We can benefit from the individual experiences and the collective wisdom of each other.”

Dr. Siddiq added, “This is all the more important when we address common issues that affect the community. Such interaction will not only enlighten us all but go a long way in promoting mutual trust and friendship, not to talk of allaying misperceptions that may arise from time to time."

So far, participating mosques are Al-Farooq Masjid, Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, the Georgia Islamic Institute (Lawrenceville), Masjid Al-Momineen (Clarkston), Gwinnett Islamic Circle (Suwanee), Islamic Center of North Fulton (Alpharetta), Hamzah Islamic Center (Alpharetta), Masjid Al Hedaya - ICM (Marietta), Masjid Al Hedaya - ICNA (Marietta), Masjid Maryam (Duluth), Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Al-Mu'minun, West End Community Center, Islamic Community Center (Fayetteville), East Cobb Islamic Center (Marietta), Masjid As Siddiq (Douglasville) and Greenview Madani Center (Lawrenceville).

Other Georgia mosques interested in joining the roundtable meetings may contact Musheer Ahmed at

Edward Ahmed Mitchell is an Atlanta attorney who serves as News Editor of Follow him on Twitter @edmovie.

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