Message From IIOK Chairman
بسم الله … والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آل بيته الطيبين الطاهرين
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
AlSalamu Alaykum. Peace be with you all.
For over 33 years, the Islamic Institute of Knowledge has been here for you in this beautiful and generous community. Through the good and through the bad. I know we had our shortcomings and that we may have disappointed some of you at times but that does not change the fact that we have always been here and we have been ready to help and serve whenever we can. The Islamic Institute of Knowledge is one of the most under-rated institutions in the area. Yet we are one of the most active institutions. We don’t advertise what we do. We just do it silently.
Our community has been so generous and so giving and we continue to do our best to give back to the community. Our track record testifies to that. Every penny you spend on this institution goes in the way of Allah (swt) and you will by God’s will get the rewards of giving. Here at the Majma we have been at the forefront of supporting our community. As you may know, we officially open our doors from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM but unofficially we are open from 8 or 9 in the morning until midnight or even after midnight on many nights at times responding to phone calls as late as you can stay. We are too busy with community matters that we have, in addition to ‘Samahat Alsheikh’ Imam Abdul Latif Berry, four other religious scholars that assist him in resolving personal and family issues.
In the early nineties, the Majma was the first to open an elementary Islamic academic school in the area. By Allah’s will we were able to build a full (K through 12) and beautiful school in early 2000. In the mid 2000’s we ran into financial troubles and those huge burdens forced us to lease the school out. I know some of you were not happy with what we did. But we had no choice. It was either that or lose both the Majma and the school to foreclosure. But Alhamdulillah, we gave it to a group of people that value our religion and our culture. They are providing our community with Arabic education to almost 570 students. But we still have full after-hours usage rights. Leasing the school out did not stop us from continuing to help our community and our youth to learn about Islam and their culture.
We at the Majma have at least three supplemental schools that teach the Islamic religion and the Arabic language for an average of 4 hours a week per student. The Arabic School which is a three-day program that starts nightly after public school teaching has ended. Hajji Salwa Bazzi runs the daily Arabic school with about 350 students with an average of two hours each day. I personally run the Saturday Arabic School which runs for five hours every Saturday with about 400 Students. Sister Bassima Hodroj runs the Sunday Arabic School for almost 4 hours with about 250 students. Not to forget the other teenage classes that we hold weekly here at the Majma like Dr. Abo Jawad’s Friday night class with about 50 kids and Hajji Khalida’s Class – The Young Ladies Guidance Class – of about 70 young ladies. That is over one thousand kids from our community that are taught about Islam and the Arabic language for at least 4 hours every week. That’s huge!!! And the cost per child is less than $2.50 cents an hour! That’s a lot cheaper than the cost of a babysitter!
In addition, the Majma built the first Fully Islamic Funeral Home in the area. The cost of a funeral at our facility runs at about half of what it is anywhere else. The Majma has been operating the Funeral Home at cost over the last two years so that we can relieve the community from the huge financial burdens of burial. Yet we are providing the community a completely Islamically controlled environment, of course, within the legal means under state laws and regulations.
Moreover, we have provided to this community the first Islamic Newspaper in the area. It addresses the many community issues and openly discusses them and provides solutions. You don’t have to call overseas to get your answers. You can call or email Sma7at El-Sheikh Imam Berry with your questions and he will answer you immediately.
We are giving back to the community and will continue to give back. But all these services come at an expense and because of the long hours of service and the many services that we provide, the operational and overhead costs are a bit higher. Utilities like water that is used for wodu and electricity or heating that’s used to keep the place open run too high. Our facility is getting older and the maintenance cost per square foot is on the rise. The cost to operate this building is higher than average and we always look for your help and support in in keeping this place running like a good institution should run.
As Chairman of the Board and on behalf of our board members, I thank Allah first and foremost, and thank you for your support. May God Bless you all.
بسمه تعالى والحمد لله على نِعَمِه والشكر له أولاً وآخراً..
وبعد، فإني أتقدم بالشكر الجزيل من أبناء الجالية الكرام على دعمكم المتواصل ومؤازرتكم المستمرة لمسيرة المجمع الاسلامي الثقافي الذي أثمر مؤسسات دينية وتربوية وثقافية. هذا الدعم يجعلنا نتطلع دائماً نحو الأمام لتحقيق المزيد من الانجازات. وفي هذا السياق استطاع المجمع الاسلامي الثقافي وبعد الاتكال على الله عز وجل وعلى همة المؤمنين والمؤمنات وأهل الكرم من أبناء جاليتنا المعطاءة القيام بخطوة نوعية وكبيرة تتمثل في البدء بمشروع المغسل الاسلامي والذي سيكون له فائدة كبيرة على جاليتنا بعد الانتهاء من إنجازه من الناحيتين الشرعية والمادية.
إن المجمع الاسلامي الثقافي ممثلاً بسماحة العلامة فضيلة الشيخ عبداللطيف بري والاخوة الأعضاء الكرام يسعى جاهداً ومن خلال مشاريعه ونشاطاته الدينية والثقافية والتربوية للحفاظ على شخصية الانسان المسلم في بلاد الاغتراب وخصوصاً جيل الشباب لكي يكونوا رسلاً صالحين للاسلام من خلال تفاعلهم وتعاملهم مع مختلف فئات المجتمع الأميركي وإزالة الصورة النمطية المشوهة عن الاسلام وذلك بإبرازهم للوجه الحقيقي للإسلام من خلال تطبيق تعاليمه السماوية السمحاء التي تسعى لرفع الظلم وإحقاق الحق والعدالة بين البشر. فالإسلام هو دين الايمان والمحبة لا دين العنف والتفرقة حيث أنه قام أساساً على إثنتين: التوحيد ووحدة الكلمة. وقد صدق الامام علي (ع) حين قال: “الناس صنفان، إما أخٌ لك في الدين أو نظيرٌ لك في الخلق.”
فإلى مزيد من إرضاء الله وإلى مزيدٍ من التعاون في خدمة الله. وفقكم الله ، والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.