There is no room for American Muslim leaders to either serve their own private interests at the expense of ours, or to further tarnish the Muslim image with acts that, legal or not, have the appearance of impropriety and further erode what little trust our fellow Americans have in us. For example, Mr. Alamoudi's emotional outburst a few years back in support of Hamas probably made him feel better, but that one statement cost Muslims much in the way of political goodwill and was used relentlessly in the 2000 elections to discredit all of us. And while Mr. Alamoudi probably thinks he has a good reason to collect $350,000 from an unknown person in London as compensation for his services to Libya's Qaddafi - a man perceived by the majority of Muslim Americans as a dictator who has used violent means to eliminate his opponents - he only shows himself as a man with extremely poor judgement who has forfeited any claim to moral, much less political, stewardship of a Muslim organization.
The Alamoudi case highlights a major flaw that exists in many American Muslim organizations and centers. In the pursuit of rapid organizational growth, transparency and accountability have taken a back seat. There is nothing inherently wrong in raising money overseas for causes here at home, but to do so without strict reporting of both donors and recipients, especially in the past few years, is reckless and causes more harm to our community than any PR program that such money could fund. And there is no room for people in people in positions of power to abuse the trust of Muslims by either pursuing personal enrichment or playing fast and loose with the laws of this country. Especially in this day and age, how could Mr. Alamoudi, or any notable American Muslim who lives in the limelight, not consider the possibility that such actions might have dire consequences that the rest of us have to pay the price for?
Sunday, October 12, 2003
a lack of leadership
Shahed of alt.muslim has a fantastic post about the need for the muslim community in America to be more critical of its leadership: