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