On MANA’s “Report to the Ummah”

Posted: October 27, 2010 in Uncategorized
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MANA Donations Being Put to Good Use.

Last week, Imam Talib of MANA attempted to mitigate the “reports of its demise” by emailing a pathetic “Report to the Ummah” to the Muslims. After reviewing the document, I can only say, contrary to Imam Talib’s statement in the report, that the “reports” of MANA’s demise have only been confirmed. There are many things that I can say about this ‘report”, but I will concentrate on the most glaring omission. Namely: WHERE ARE THE FINANCIAL REPORTS? A “report” detailing a litany of failed programs and boondoggles is not what the people had in mind.

Why, to this date, have the people not been given any financial statements on the failed MANA programs? Good word has it, for example, that MANA spent in excess of $600,000 on the two national conferences and lost over $100,000 (of the Muslims’ money) on both. Will they clear this up and give us the details of exactly how so much money was lost on these conferences when they release the financials?

How much do full time employees such as Qasim Khan and Ihsan Bagby’s wife get paid? Will we see detailed reports on the expenses of Qasim flying around the country and renting hotel rooms with MANA (the people’s) money? To say nothing of how much is being spent on meals, cab fare and other per diem living expenses. We can only know for sure with a DETAILED report answering these questions.

How much money was lost on the failed mini-conferences that were held around the country? Most, if not all of those “mini-conferences” lost a substantial amount of money. In short, tens of thousands of dollars of the Muslims’ money was flushed on these “mini-conferences”, and to date we have not been given an account of exactly how much was lost. Will we be given details?

For example, I personally attended one of the “mini-conferences” held at Howard University in February 2010 and I can report that this gathering was by any standard of measure an embarrassing failure. However, reading this “Report to the Ummah” one would be led to believe that it was a success. It wasn’t. Most of the attendees of this conference were speakers and participants of the event. From my long relationship with Howard University and having held many programs there myself, I can tell you that those rooms were not cheap. Meanwhile, downstairs in the same venue, Wesley Muhammad was speaking to a packed room at a Nation of Islam sponsored program.

How much money was lost on this “event”? Was any money spent to fly in speakers and provide hotel rooms? Why did this “Report to the Ummah” give such a false impression? What are we to think of the rest of the report if they were so dishonest about the reporting of this failed event at Howard? Will they answer these questions?

Finally, Imam Talib in his filler at the end writes “Reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated”. No Imam Talib! This “report” of yours only CONFIRMS your demise and the sad state of a sad organization that refuses to give an account to the people. You have tried to pull the wool over the people’s eyes with this “report”, but it has not succeeded and even the few supporters you have left feel dejected and embarrassed by it. We will await the detailed financial reports that you promise (not just an annual one but also for the previous years, to include reports on the 2007 and 2008 conventions) that will show how much of our money you have burned. Put everything on the table and let the people see it! Let’s have true transparency!

In his own words, Imam Talib states that they have formed a financial committee to “steer our ship economically aright”. We see here in his own words an admission that they have mismanaged the money, but they are years behind in any type of financial reporting. Yet they seem to be promising only one year of financials. Let us see the financials for all of the conferences and events that you all have held. Let us see how much operation money has been spent. Let us see how much money Imam Qasim is spending on his trips across the country for MANA. Let us see how much is being paid in salaries and honorariums. And since we’re asking tough questions, why is it that after ten long years, MANA has yet to aquire 501c3 status (or even an office address for that matter)? If someone wanted to visit MANA, where would they even go? I will be waiting for you all’s response.

Finally, I want to say LOUD and CLEAR that for all of those who took issue with the persistent challenge to MANA’s leadership: were it not for this blog and the pressure brought to bear by its faithful readers, even this anemic report would have never appeared. May Allah reward those of you that are holding the leadership’s feet to the fire. Continue to do so!

If MANA’s leadership had real jobs, many of them would have been fired long ago

  1. Hajji Muhammad says:

    When we say report to the Muslim Community what is being represented as “Mana report” is not what is meant. We should have escrow accounts with detailed (itemized) expenditures and deposits, so that all transactions can be viewed? In addition, in any U.S. based enterprise whether private or public this type of action can be classified as something else, so if you don’t want to be accused publicly then “show and prove?”
    One other note. Most of the enterprises which interestingly fall under tax exempt status’ that include Mosques cultural centers, etc. all have one thing in common, they are all incorporated entities, and that means there are by laws, boards of trustees, boards of directors, licensing, fees, attorneys, city, county and State codes, zoning etc. This means that most of the property professed to be Muslim is in fact a private corporation. This definitely has to change otherwise call it something else, not Islam.

  2. Ismael says:

    @ Hajj Muhammad

    good question. what are the by laws for MANA? how is the leadership elected? there are many questions I hadn’t even thought of

  3. Hajji Muhammad says:

    M.A.N.A. has been on the scene for more than 14 years. I personally was invited one evening to attend a session in Southeast Washington, D.C at a well known Masjid where the formation of M.A.N.A.’s Executive positions were discussed. Apparently we’re still being sold a bill of?

  4. Kwame Madden says:

    I favor MANA at this point totally disbanding itself.Just come clean and admit that the effort failed.What are they holding on to for God sake! Stop holding on to MANA like some of our Imams in BAM communties hold on to postion of Imams.Never admitting after 30 after 35 yrs. of ineffectual leadership it is time give it up.

  5. Hajji Muhammad says:

    Bismillahi wa salaamu ‘alaykum,
    Since this issue is one of great import and they are revolving one after the other, year after year in a circle (da’irah) repeating itself, over and over again. Charmers with bottles of cure all snake oil have come and gone each selling their brand of Islam. Unlike those who have made certain claims, I will again reiterate the following. On two previous occasions 1904 and 1964, two Sudanese arrived in the U.S. to attempt to awaken the masses to Islam and expose those who were selling their bottles of snake oil labeled Mislam.”
    With the assassination of Al-Hajj Malik Shabazz the enemies of Islam opened the flood gates,
    for they very well knew that Malcolm was connected to the Family of Imam Al-Mahdi of the Sudan, that they were aware intimately with the Prophecies regarding the destruction of and decline of Western Civilization beginning with the timing of the Universal Clock, that in 1914 the world entered what is known as the “pit,” and so they embarked on a plan to destroy Islam, creating first the Federal Reserve and similarly The Underwood Tariff Act of 1913 included an income-tax section that initiated the system we use today. All this as part and partial of making it religiously and economically impossible for the Muslims to avoid “riba.”
    Next, they created and or promoted deviant schemes portraying Islam, knowing full well there would be future clashes. All these well established and well financed subversive organizations coupled with anti adverse public opinion bode hard times ahead for true Islam.
    Nevertheless, Islam in America going through periods of trial and error reached its culminating point when Hajj Malik returned from Makkah with Shaykh Ahmad Hasun.
    So we say clearly that there will be no progress, nor will there be any cohesion until and when the Da’wah of Imam Mahdi of the Sudan is raised in America. And let me personally clarify for all those who have been mistakenly associating us with the deviant who called himself Imam Isa, aka. Dwight David York, he was at one time a true believer in the doctrine of the Mahdi, though has since renounced Islam and is confined to the Super Max in Florence Colorado. Further, as Muslims we are under the leadership of the duly elected deposed President of Sudan, As-Sayyid Saadiq al-Mahdi, great grandson of Imam Al-Mahdi. He is a blood line descendant of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If there are any questions and or comments and or objections feel free to email me directly, Insha’ Allah. My mail address is posted above.

  6. Umar Abdullah says:

    I heard a proverb a few years ago that I thought I would share here: “If you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with others.” We often think it’s important to make a quick decision, but it’s more important to make the right decision.

    Success is never a one-man job; it takes teamwork. There are some things in life that we will never be able to change without the support and encouragement of other people. That’s why it’s so important to be part of a team. The stronger your team is, the more you can fulfill your dream. The last step to going after your dream is this: you must pay the price. Success never comes without a price tag.

    If we are serious about making change then we need to ask ourselves three questions.

    1. What will it cost?
    2. What am I willing to give?
    3. Is it worth it?

  7. Amina says:

    Assalaamu alaikum to the beloved community of Rasul (saws).

    Subhan’Allah! what a thought provoking article (and responses). In reality, the ummah has a collective right to question and to expect a reasonable reponse from (any) conference organizers. Certain agendas, financial records and/ or transcripts become par for any course when being enquired about; which is why there are secretaries, treasurer’s, amirs, and meetings, etc.

    What I object to the most in this blog is the statement: ” May Allah reward those of you that are holding the leadership’s feet to the fire”. Ouch! under any circumstances-that hurts!! …and instead offer:…” May Allah save us all from the torment of the fire”. Ameen.

    To the Imamate:

    Despite negative statistics, the black American community is showing itself viable and educated. We don’t want our Imams to become travelling salesmen. We want you to stay “home” during the month of Ramadaan (esp. during the last 10 nights) and to take care of your respective communities well. The sisters would like to feel protected and assured that there are windows, working heat and ventilation in our our “quarters” not to mention adequate wudhu stations. If we are in need; we’d like to be able to turn the masjid for help. Sadly, that is not the case for many.

    Brothers, the only true role of an Imam is to lead and observe the prayer. Sometimes, great notoriety and travel can cloud the senses and take you away from the very mission of your own masjid! Herein, lies the danger…

    Can MANA survive? By Allah, yes! We just need to trim down on the grandiosity, the arrogance and all that testosterone! Where are the sisters voices??? We raise children (often single-handedly), work, pay bills and take care of home. Surely we can offer intelligent input. Afterall, we’ve been cleaning up the mess for years!

    First, though, brothers need to LISTEN…there’s a brick wall up ahead and you need to change course. Stop, think and once again, listen. Read the blogs not disparingly, but with an opportunity for growth and positive change. There is plenty of wisdom in honest re-evaluation. And as we are all aging, perhaps leadership should be grooming others to take thier place instead of (always, usually, commonly) garnering top bill…

    In closing, my most sincere dua’a for “good in this life and for good in the hereafter and safety from the torment of the fire; to Imams Siraj, Zaid, Luqman and others who have worked so diligently to carry out the vision of MANA for over 12 yrs. It’s not been in vain, so, don’t cave in to vanity now. The people have a right to know! And sooner or later we will be held accountable. Until then, never believe that a man has no faults…

  8. Oje Ike Olugbala says:

    I don’t see MANA or any other organization providing serious solutions to the problems we have in African-American Muslim communities.

  9. Oje Ike Olugbala says:

    @ Amina

    MANA can only survive if they start addressing real problems and engage the people on the ground. They have no currency on the street in Philly where there is a large population of black Muslims who need the help of some competent organization. You would be shocked at the amount of black Muslims that don’t even know what it is that MANA is supposed to be doing.

    I too make du’aa for our Imams that are leading, and hope that they figure it out sooner rather than later

  10. Umm Kamal says:

    Amina wrote:

    Can MANA survive? By Allah, yes! We just need to trim down on the grandiosity, the arrogance and all that testosterone! Where are the sisters voices???

    This is an excellent question Sr. Amina! It is an excellent question because many of the men on the diwan have for many years been absentee husbands and fathers while talking about “healthy marriage”. What a joke! Imam Siraj himself has been married multiple times and as recently as a few years ago divorced the mother of 9 of his children leaving her to fend for herself while “replacing” her with a younger wife in Atlanta. Is this what we are calling “healthy marriage”? Is this the example that the leaders are setting for everyone else? How can a man raise children and be a responsible father when he is traveling around the country giving speeches? One of Imam Siraj’s older daughters does not even like him because of the way he treated her mother. And this man and the others have the nerve to put themselves up to talk about “healthy marriage”? It makes me want to puke.

    With this type of leadership, is it any wonder we do not see sisters involved in MANA?

  11. Kwame Madden says:

    Oje the deen over dunya show 10/28/10 program is one to go to archive for and listen.This program had a lot of substance and was addressing solutions in the future for BAM! Aminia I love reading your commemts they are very thought provoking and honest.

  12. Oje Ike Olugbala says:

    Kwame, do you have a link to what you are talking about?

  13. Jafar Abdus-salaam says:

    Wow, thank you Abdurrahman Muhammad for utterly poisoning the MANA brand, allowing us to take out some trash we should have dispensed with long ago. We couldn’t have done it without you making it so clear to the people that there was nothing behind MANA. We’re not going to take that kind of garbage at face value ever again. Now the problem is the question of who will step up and lead? With no leadership there is chaos. We need to have town hall meetings, conferences and rallies to pick things up

    • @ Jafar Abdus-salaam

      The MANA brand was already poisoned, all I did was expose it. But anyway, Allah will produce new leadership, there are many talented brothers and sisters who have been stymied by the MANA crowd. They are now coming forth however; will you be one of them? Some of us are working on a new initiative brother, if that is something you would like to be a part of just let me know. The Ummah needs everyone to step up. I like that townhall idea. lets work on it inshallah.

  14. Hadayai says:

    As Salaamu Alaikum,

    Let’s focus on the positive. If MANA or anyone else is not what we like or need then step forward in faith and do what you can do. However do not waste your time damning others. It is not worth it. Allah will reveal what needs to be revealed in due time. We are under attack as Muslims. We must unite to stay strong and to protect the weak (Muslims and non-Muslims).

    I am with anyone doing positive work. Let’s unite and do what we need to do in our community and the world.

    ma salaam

  15. Wannabe Jannati says:

    You think you are doing Muslims a favor by attacking one of the only indigenous organizations focused on the issues that afflict our community? My feeling is that you are doing more harm than good. Maybe not if you consider how easy it is to popularize yourself by attacking others for what you perceive to be their mistakes. Do you have any mistakes that you wouldn’t want broadcasted throughout the Ummah Brother? If I were you, I would fear that Allah(SWT) might expose my sins.

    You talk about how they have “failed” but have you ever contacted the MANA officials and respectfully offered your advice on how they could better manage their resources? Or have you simply availed yourself of the opportunity to build your reputation at the expense of your brothers? That’s not Islam Brother, that’s American Politics. This isn’t the Demoncrats vs the Repugnantcans, we have rules to how we should advise each other if you didn’t know. The foremost of which is “wanting for your brother what you want for yourself”. How about exercising a little discretion Brother.

    Or would you like to see this kind of disrespectful, back and forth, you blog against me I blog against you type of nonsense become common place among the Muslims? Maybe that’s it. Who are you really working for Brother?

    I am a supporter of Muslim Organizations in general and do not appreciate this kind of approach towards improving the efficacy of our organizations operations.

  16. Abu Mubarak says:

    @ wannabe jannati

    the problem is that MANA is not being held to the standard of professionalism we would expect. it is not about “exposing sins” but holding the leaders up to a higher standard. are we to just remain silent and continue to allow them to fail us at every turn? honest muslims can disagree with various aspects of what others do that is not specifically outlined in islam, but the problem is that these leaders do not lead or stand up for islam, so when they speak, no one listens to them

    they are leaders of apology and confusion and the only muslims who listen to them are those who are ashamed of their islam and want futher assimilation into the ways of the kuffar

  17. abd-Al-Hakim says:

    Imam Siraj is a good man that means well, but I have found that he is not only incapable of delivering on his lofty promises, but he was also in over his head. When pushed, be becomes aloof and divisive. In a crisis, he reacts like a deer in headlights.

  18. Wannabe Jannati says:

    @Abu Mubarak, I understand that we should be able to respectfully question leadership but the tone of this message is anything but respectful.

    “How much do full time employees such as Qasim Khan and Ihsan Bagby’s wife get paid? Will we see detailed reports on the expenses of Qasim flying around the country and renting hotel rooms with MANA (the people’s) money? To say nothing of how much is being spent on meals, cab fare and other per diem living expenses. We can only know for sure with a DETAILED report answering these questions.”

    These kind of baseless accusations are inappropriate because he provides no evidence to substantiate them. He relies on this “gossip column” style of rhetoric to influence whomever he can to adopt a negative attitude towards our fellow brothers/sister and this organization.

    Allah(SWT) says, (24:13) “Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they (the slanderers) have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars.”

    As Muslims, we do not make these kind of accusations without producing clear evidence. As the ayat says above, who ever does so is a liar with Allah(SWT).

    This blog is irresponsible, its slanderous, and it is not constructive. I am not saying that we should not ask questions. I am saying that we should not put forth baseless accusations without the supporting evidence. Defaming other Muslims is a serious thing and to do so without the proper evidence reflects badly on this brother. Who really isn’t acting like much of a brother if you think about it.

  19. Ismael says:

    @ Wannabe Jannati

    May I ask where the “accusation” is in the part you quoted? They are simple questions. Not accusations. I think you need to READ what was said instead of throwing out charges.

  20. Wannabe Jannati says:

    The implications are clear Br Ismael. He is claiming that people are being paid more than they deserve and that others are “living it up” on the people’s dime. These are serious charges and require hard evidence. If he was simply asking for a detailed description of expenditures, he could have easily done so without making these insinuations.

  21. Wannabe Jannati says:

    For the record, I agree that MANA should have been providing the community with an account of how their money is being spent. However I don’t agree with making these type of accusations without justifications or attacking the organization. I hope that is clear.

    If they have made some mistakes I can accept that as long as they make the necessary corrections. Every organization makes mistakes along the way. Calling for them to step down seems a bit extreme to me.

    I don’t see how the brothers blog could be intended to accomplish anything other than to turn people against MANA. Not encourage more transparency in the future or offer constructive criticism.

  22. Ismael says:

    @ Wannabe Jannati

    That YOUR mind went there says more about what you PROJECTED than what was in the text. I and many others saw no such charge. They are valid questions. How much are the employees getting paid? We do not know because it has not been released to know whether or not they are overpaid or even underpaid.

    Mistakes is one thing. Not knowing what one is doing is another. How would you suggest that we improve the condition of MANA without actually calling them to account and being silent?

  23. Wannabe Jannati says:

    I respect your position Ismael. Unfortunately I see inappropriate implications where you do not. That’s fine, different people see things differently.

    What would I suggest? I would suggest contacting all the responsible brothers/sisters directing that organization prior to discrediting them publicly. I would suggest calling for transparency without implying that something irresponsible has occurred. Because the lack of information does not afford us the right to assume that something wrong has been done.

    I would suggest this course of action only after some concrete evidence has been obtained or as a last resort.

  24. Ismael says:

    @ Wannabe Jannati

    How do you know that the brother has not contacted the leadership? I still think that we (including you) need to call them to account. Why not write letters to MANA asking for transparency on the issues at hand? Let’s see if we get any response. Their email address is mana@manaoffice.net

  25. Hajji Muhammad says:

    Unfortunately I don’t have the time right now to read the comments of the present leader of the MIB, though I will later today, i do want to add a short note:
    Its ashamed that many of the so called leaders and Imams of the Muslim communities have become so distant and have arrogated to themselves an heir of false piety and wrapped themselves up in sanctimonious pedantry. Since when has public criticism and reminding them that they are the custodians of the office of leadership of the Muslims and not pariahs and dictators? The first accusation out of such mouths is always “agent provocateurs and or appellations to this effect, perhaps it is they who are agents? It’s always the bogey-man, an abstract entity for which we can always rely on and summon when stuff gets too hot?
    And publicly calling to account those who assume such airs of scholarship and piety and sit with the real enemies of Islam and or allow an anti-Islam mushrik such as the former Mayor of NYC into a masjid for a few photo ops is beyond me. I said it previously and I’ll reiterate it, all you brothers can quote all the sacred text you want and your audience can applaud you and nod in agreement, ultimately you all will answer the questions?

  26. potenzmittel says:

    and what have YOU done for this deen sir?????

  27. AbuMubarak says:

    As a personal friend of some of these indigenous imams for years, I am afraid that our leadership in the USA is poorly misguided and reeks of cowardice in light of the fact that the USA is the chief murderer of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, yet we cannot stand up and speak about such atrocities in this time. That we have become so fearful of the governments that we remain aloof as our ummah is being used as target practice.

    Rise Oh Muslims!

    Abu Said al Khudri heard the Prophet (saws) say;

    “Let none of you despise himself!” The Sahabah asked “O Messenger of Allah, how can one despise himself?” The Messenger (saws) replied “He sees the command of Allah on him about which he should say something and then he says nothing about it. So Allah will say to him on the Day of Rising ‘What prevented you from saying such and such for My sake?’ and the person will say ‘the fear of the people’. Allah will say to him ‘It is I alone that you should more have feared more!’ [Ahmad and Ibn Majah]

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