It began with private phone calls to other local imams and text message concerns from masjid leaders in the middle of the night.
There was a growing concern kept quiet amongst community leaders – masjids were losing funds and unable to keep their imams employed.
At other Islamic centers and mosques, imams were asked to take a pay cut and some even found themselves unable to provide for their families.
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The global spread of COVID-19 has led to indefinite masjid closures, a significant decrease in mosque donations, and a reduction in some staff members.
The inability to use fundraisers as a means of closing the financial gap for mosque budgets has drastically impacted the ability to keep mosque doors open.
One of the most significant areas of concern stems from the reality that many mosques are forced to let go of their imams, Sunday schools teachers, and other staff members.
This daunting reality has led to the launch of a crowdfunding campaign, endorsed by four well-known imams, Imam Yasir Qadhi, Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Omar Suleiman & Imam Suhaib Webb.
According to Religiousnews, “All four imams said they have seen some of their colleagues being left without adequate incomes to provide for their families due to stay-at-home orders and shutdowns of gatherings across the country.”
Additionally, according to LaunchGood and Religionsnews.com, “The initiative has raised about $155,000 as an emergency measure to maintain mosque staff’s income. The funds will be distributed to mosques and Islamic centers that apply for assistance in one-time grants ranging from $5,000-$10,000.”
Muhi Khwaja from American Muslim Community Foundation believes it is American Muslims’ duty to support imams at this difficult time.
“As a Muslim living in America, it’s our duty to create the community we want to see ourselves living in. There’s a prophetic teaching that says if you see injustice anywhere that we should change it with our actions, and if we cannot with our actions than by our speaking out, and if we cannot speak out than by our belief in our heart. Also, in the Qur’an it states: The believers are helpers of one another, joining in what is good (9:71). Helping this campaign to help save our masjids and support our imams is a way to create change and pitch in during this uncertain and challenging time,” he told AboutIslam.net.
As the crowdfunding campaign continues to gain traction and support, partner organizations have expressed their interest in assisting with the “Caring for Our Own: Masjid & Imam Support” and plan to directly support the campaign by promising to match donated funds.
“NAIT is pleased to announce that $100,000 has been dedicated to match funds being raised as a part of the “Caring for Our Campaign” to support masjids/Imams across the United States,” said Salah M Obeidallah, Executive Director of North American Islamic Trust.
“Since its founding, NAIT has developed extensive expertise in assessing Islamic Centers needs and protecting Islamic centers properties through its Waqf program.”
Eligible masjids/Islamic centers can apply from funds raised in this campaign through a partnership American Muslim Community Foundation.
All funds collected will be sent in Ramadan, with a maximum amount of $10,000 but likely less, depending on total funds raised.
All mosques that require funding should fill out a Letter of Inquiry from the American Muslim Community Foundation at https://AMuslimCF.org/covid-19. For community members who would like to donate or support this cause, campaign details are on http://LaunchGood.com/amcfcares.