I read an interesting article recently by Mohamed Abdul-Azeez, the former head of the Salam Center in Sacramento on the “Crisis of Imams in America”
By: Belal Khan
Due to the way Muslim communities have been developed, the challenges they face are different from that of other faith communities.
Among the Christian community you find one of two types of models.
Model 1 – Corporate Franchise Clergy Structure
Model 2 – Local Visionary
The American Muslim community for the most part doesn’t follow any of these two models.
Typically you have a bunch of local folks that want to establish a place to pray. They come together, form a board, write out the policies, buy some real estate and make that a place to pray.
Then they realize they need to get an imam, and they end up hiring one of two types.
As a child, I used to laugh and run around. Joking and kidding each other were the norm, but the teachers of Islam whom I had come to know seemed sombre and didn’t think laughing was a grand idea.
Everything about the religion seemed serious, culling happiness at bay.
Many years later, I know for a fact that when new reverts come to Islam, many of them suddenly feel a paradigm shift in lifestyle that is not always positive. Although they find a lot of peace and serenity in this new religion, there is a persistent drone over how a Muslim should behave, without considering the questions “why”.
There’s the different dress-code, a constant need to be vigilant about their deeds. Some have to distant themselves from family and friends who are un-supportive.