In Dearborn Heights, Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini is a very popular figure in the Muslim Community. He leads the Islamic Institute of America, a new mosque there that Al-Qazwini plans to use to educate people about the Muslim faith.
He plans to host interfaith seminars for non-Muslims, offer an outreach program for people suffering from drug addiction, assist victims of domestic violence, host programs for the youth and even open a Middle Eastern gift shop, among other programs. He also plans to open the first U.S. seminary to train Shia imams.
All of this to promote Al-Qazwini’s mantra of “Islam for All,” in a former church building.
“We as Muslims owe it to the American people to tell them what Islam is,” Al-Qazwini said. He believes most Americans aren’t familiar with what Islam is and have never “met a Muslim in their life.”
Hoping to combat negative stereotypes of violence and terrorism, the Imam seeks to educate non-Muslims.
“So it is right to educate, to dispel the misconceptions, fight the propaganda and to tell people you have to discern between Islam as a peaceful religion and fringe groups that are trying to hijack the religion for their political gain,” Al-Qazwini said.
Although popular, Al-Qazwini’s leadership was questioned when he left his previous post at the Islamic Center of America, one of the region’s largest mosques. Rumors of mismanagement of donation funds meant for an orphanage and a hospital swirled. Others believed he left over disagreements with board members, made up of men with traditionally male-focused ideas about the way things should be done..
Al-Qazwini believed his work should encompass more women, youth and English speakers.
The new mosque opened its door to hundreds on Friday for prayers in the gymnasium. Al-Qazwini said he is not concerned about beauty or tradition. He’s focused on a building that provides him “the opportunity to fly and to flourish” and to spread his message.
Plans for the new facility include a room filled with high-tech broadcast equipment to produce online sermons and radio programs. A website designed to reach Muslims across the Islamic world is also in the works.
H/T: The Detroit News
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