Change of Leadership at Islamic Society of York Region
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Asalaam Alaikum, Dear York Region Community Member,
After 20 years of tireless efforts to drive growth and change within Islamic Society of York Region (ISYR), it saddens us to say that we as a community have failed to speak up, and have played a passive role in developing a strong and positive place that will bring goodness to our children, parents and ourselves and cause positive changes in our lives and the generations to come within York Region.
Forbes defines a great leader as one who is honest, delegate, and has the intuition to make the right choices. The self-appointed leader at ISYR has also failed to show any of these characteristics in the last decade. He has made commitments to the community as the Imam that he has failed countless times; the state of the centre has not improved in years, and the little programs he has started have been poorly managed and organized as mere means to collect funds.
The property of the centre has been funded by the community and has resources that the community members could greatly benefit from, yet he has not even considered their utilization. We as concerned members of the community wanted to take a few moments to share the following to bring some awareness to the challenges and concerns we feel you should all be aware of.
Lack of Transparency and Accountability
- We all have donated hundreds and thousands of dollars over the years, and there’s no clear breakdown of where and how the funds are being used and shared with the community. There’s no financial statement being shared.
- Members of the community have reported that a portion of the property was sold by members of the leader’s family, and no one in the community was consulted about this - where did the funds from that transaction go?
- Members of the board have reported that they have not been invited to a board meeting in the last 10 years. This is against Canadian and Islamic values. This style of behavior has no place in Canadian society.
- There is no voting, membership, or community meetings that all major masjids in GTA have.
- There’s no platform that allows members of the community to openly share their concerns and have any form of engagement about how and what happens within this community
There’s no real shura, all decisions are exclusively led by one person
Mismanagement and Misuse of the Property
- The back corner of the property has a fence perfect for a baseball diamond, yet it is used as a garden of weeds
- The swimming pool that came with the property has been destroyed due to lack of maintenance,
- The closed off tennis court in the back is not maintained and is now unusable, yet it stores stalled trucks
- The leader uses the property for his personal use to run his own 3rd party publication and ventures
- These ventures have caused massive political issues between ISYR, Muslims of York Region and have placed our community at risk, which has led to the ban on developing of a mosque in Richmond Hill for at least another 10 years
- Prayers are not offered 5 times a day in the centre
- The place is not a welcoming environment for children to play, learn and be active on an ongoing basis
- There is no basketball court outside or inside for our youth and future. No gymnasium for them but rather there is not one but two banquet halls.
- No formal programming/activities are being offered or led by ISYR, everything is being done by small community activated groups that have got frustrated after tireless attempts to drive change
- Development projects (including the ‘seniors’ project, which was changed after it was 90% built, to a school, which now is called a ‘building’ project'), to just support his constant fundraising tactics
Lack of a Qualified, Loving and Experienced Leader
- The current leader is a self-proclaimed Imam, without any formal training and/or ijazah that officially considers him an Islamic Scholar, Shaikh, Teacher in any Imam circles of being considered an Imam
- He has been leading ISYR alone for 20 years without giving the community the right to vote and decide.
- He is rude, arrogant and constantly rudely mocks women and children, by making fun of their attire, the children’s noise, and their behaviors. (see comment below)
- There’s no full time, qualified Islamic Scholar who can lead, engage, grow and strengthen our community, whose main mission is to share inspiring stories and teachings designed to spreading goodness with love, compassion, and patience (as other masjids in York Region and GTA have)
Dear members of the community, we have all tried in several ways to discuss these matters with this leader, but they've all fallen on deaf ears and there is always a resistance of change, community engagement and a willingness to bring in experienced, seasoned and caring leaders from within this beautiful community to assist in solving all of these issues. Some of the best gems of our community have migrated to the west end because they have given up and do not want their kids to be raised in this non-inclusive, non-active, disengaged community, we all call home.
We ask that you work with us, sign our petition and lets come together to push the leader to sit down with the community, address these concerns and work with all of us to deliver a plan and provide him or someone else the support to execute on this simple, yet powerful plan that can reshape not just the Muslim community within York Region, but above all create a landmark of goodness, truth, and excellence for all members of the Muslim Community, across the GTA.
Please sign the petition, and show your support to cause a strong, selfless and passionate mission to drive change and bring all of us together insha’Allah.
We end with the wise words of our Beloved Leader, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) who said, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]
Your Muslim Neighbours
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