Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid Admits to Massive Losses on MANA Conferences

Posted: May 16, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid

Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid

Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid has apparently gotten his back up over our recent revelation that the organization he represents, MANA, lost over $100,000 on its last two annual conferences. You would almost think that our leaders believe they have a God-given right to burn through that kind of money (hard earned as it is) without ever having to account for it. His response is the sort of  typical spin usually offered up whenever unpleasant truths about their program come to light. The real question is; why did it take a scathing expose for the Imam to finally come clean on this massive loss?  Of course, my expert exegesis of this “admission” without an admission is soon to follow in another post.


Brother Abdur-Rahman – the problem with “seek and destroy” methods of cyber- “journalism” is that they eliminate sincere inquiry and information, by substituting selective facts and unbridled supposition, for the truth. Such sincere inquiry is an essential element of communication, which in turn leads to understanding.
Muslim bloggers and the like must be more responsible before they start wounding the sincere character of Muslims ,and adding to the poison of an already fetid pool of fitnah. Allah knows that there are too many instances of injustice in our faith community, and they need to be appropriately and responsibly exposed , but we need to all work together to eliminate injustice, not add to it.
We of MANA are not perfect, but we are sincere and far from incompetent. Your report of our demise is premature, your picture of the burning air-ship going down, and dismissal of the work of a lot of good people as a “charade”, are insulting and mis-leading. The seeming eagerness with which some seem to rush to judgement about the supposed “failure” of MANA is disappointing, but understandable. We as a people are used to being disappointed, and exploited, and many of us have crushed hope. But there is hope in the Ummah, by Allah’s Mercy.
Personally, I appreciate you sending me notice of the link to this post , but responsible journalism (if that’s what this is), and even more so – taqwa and Islamic brotherhood ,require some simple, investigative inquiry, as we learn from study of Allah’s Book ( 4:83 ). To do so would have led to the truth.
For Instance – question: “MANA, is it true that you lost money on your two conferences?” “answer: “Yes. Holding quality conferences like our people deserve, in a first-class venue like the Philadelphia Convention Center, in today’s economy , is expensive. We worked hard, planned in great detail, and executed our tasks with tenacity and proficiency,and Allah knows best.
We even included some degree of possible deficit, in our planning . However the deficit factors (resulting from such elements as total expense to our target population of large family grassroots folk, the effect of that on overall attendance, etc.) exceeded even our planning,not once, but twice. And contrary to what some think, we are very careful and responsible with the believer’s money.
So we re-evaluated our approach because as one Diwan member reminded us during an executive, organizational , self-critical session, “We did not form MANA just to have annual conferences, but to WORK”. question:”MANA, are you in debt?” answer “No, our bills are paid,alhamdulillah.”
question “Was financial loss on the two events the only thing you took into account, in deciding whether or not to have a 2009 conference?” answer: “No. we on the MANA Diwan evaluated several options, as there was a strong call for another conference (e.g. “Why don’t you have it on a college campus?”). But we have decided that the time is right for shifting MANA focus, modifying it to put more emphasis on the local, on the ground work being done in cities, and perhaps to get it going in others. This is why we intend to move to more of a mini-conference, local in various cities type of format,instead of a big, annual event solely in one city. We haven’t eliminated the national gathering. We just believe that with the need to build infra-structure in the inner cities, encourage operational unity, and yes – dealing with the reality of a national economic down-turn that is effecting everyone, and has everyone – Muslim and non-Muslim – re-adjusting their strategies , that for us to do so is only prudent. Our next conference is tentatively projected insha’Allah, for 2010″.
question – “Is MANA defunct?” answer – “Far from it! Please go to http://www.mana-net.org for an update on our activities (and where the money goes that we fund-raise).Sign up for our cyber newsletter, and keep abreadst, or better yet – join the work!”. question: “Is this shift consistent with what you have communicated thus far?” answer: “Yes, it is. Our first conference was specifically identified as a “working conference”, focusing upon “The State of Black American Muslims”. Our 2nd conference focused upon “Forming a Domestic Agenda”. We believe now is the time to enhance our work by “stepping up the pace” of our grassroots work. We seek to increase our outreach and service to the believers, based upon what we learned and determined at our two annual conferences. ”
My brother Abdur-Rahman, Is that so hard to do? We don’t think so. We believe that we ALL need do better, because only Allah is perfect. We say to all, pray for the success of MANA as its success is yours. The brothers and sisters associated with the work of MANA , from the leadership to the on-ground workers and volunteers, to the participants, are honorable people, and your brothers and sisters in faith. Don’t count us out because we take a hard punch and our knees wobble a bit. We are just beginning, and we are in this as a long-term struggle. May Allah forgive us all and guide us aright, amin.

As-Salaamu Alaikum
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid (the only way that I spell my name)
Deputy Amir, MANA.

Comments
  1. Hamza 21 says:

    His response is the sort of typical spin usually offered up whenever unpleasant truths about their program come to light. The real question is; why did it take a scathing expose for the Imam to finally come clean on this massive loss?

    My question is why didn’t YOU contact him before you wrote your original post? You seem hellbent on slander and so called “exposing” others when there is little known about what you’re exactly doing. If you think others are at fault and you know the solutions to the problems AA muslims face in the US why don’t you start your own organization to tackle the problems?

    Personally I don’t any influence of MANA where I live but I wish them the best. For my observation of them there seems to be a lack of leadership and a clear detailed plan as how they intend to according their mission statement:

    “.. establish the strong presence of viable, healthy and dynamic Muslim communities, neighborhoods and institutions that meet the religious, social, economic and political needs of the Muslims in this land.”

    What specifically does that mean? Open a masjid in every ghetto in the US in five years? Coordinate nationally so every weekend there are brothers giving dawah to people? That what I mean by specific. Until MANA can get out of that college educated mindset of writing a mission statement is equated with actually doing something then they may never truly fulfill their potential.

  2. […] Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid Admits to Massive Losses on MANA Conferences […]

  3. @ Hamza 21

    You just haven’t been burned enough to understand the hurt so many of us are experiencing. Of course I don’t know you, but if I had to guess, I’d say I’ve been in this thing a little longer than you have.

    Before you accuse me of slander why don’t you take the time to read the writings contained in the archive, then you’ll have a clear idea of my aims and intents. I’ve been around a long time brother, and have witnessed the devastation and corruption first hand. It is simply too painful to sit here and watch another train wreck in the name of someone’s “sincerity”. If these self appointed “leaders” can’t get their act together they need to fold up the tent and end this charade. People refuse to be hurt anymore!!!!!

    How is it “slander” to inform people giving to MANA that their money is being flushed down the toilet? Why should I have to call ANYONE when I know the facts to be true?

    • The Question says:

      What happened to MANA anyway? It has completely disappeared. There have been no more conferences and no more activity at all.

  4. Hamza 21 says:

    Why should I have to call ANYONE when I know the facts to be true?

    Well how do you know if the “facts” are true if you haven’t spoken to the people involved? There may be some things not known which could be present the “facts” in different light. You’ll never know until you investigate.

    And yes I have read several past posts and indeed my life in Islam is not the same as yours. Fortunately I wasn’t ever taken in by the salafi dawah scam nor belonged to any “islamic” organizations. I learned my Islam through books not people. So people’s bad behavior doesn’t affect my Islam.

    I agree with you MANA has wasted money but I would not put them in a category of criminals or scam artists like other groups. They’re more like a group of sincere people who are inept and devoid of leadership and focus.

  5. “I agree with you MANA has wasted money but I would not put them in category of criminals or scam artists like other groups. They’re more like a group of sincere people who are inept and devoid of leadership and focus.”

    @ Hamza 21

    For someone not particularly close to MANA your analysis is spot on. Of course I myself have never called them criminals, but the problem is that they are incompetent, self appointed “leaders” who believe they have some kind of proprietary hold on this thing called “Black Islam”. They have NEVER sought out the best and the brightest among the African American Muslim population, but ony those most willing to carry water for Siraj Wahhaj and his delusions of grandeur of becoming the “Sunni Farrakhan”. In so doing, these water carriers have attempted to make a name for themselves as well.

    Brother believe me when I tell you, the thing is a massive charade, and at this point I would counsel anyone not to give a dime to it. Take your money and spend it on your kid’s education or something else worth while, that will do more than anything to create a strong community.

    I’m going to write a full blown post on Imam Talib’s response very soon (Inshallah).

    @ Hamza 21

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