The 15th Annual Conference
The Closing Statement
of the 15th Annual Conference of The Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America
Chicago, Illinois, USA
In the Name of God, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful
All praise belongs to God, Lord of all the worlds, and may blessings and peace be upon the best of His creatures, Muhammad, and his pure progeny
With inspiration from the holy verse, “He said, ‘We will strengthen your arm by means of your brother, and invest both of you with such authority that they will not touch you. With the help of Our signs, you two, and those who follow the two of you, shall be the victors,’” the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars in North America held its 15th annual conference under the banner “Cooperation and Collaboration: It's a necessity now, not an option,” in Chicago, IL on Saturday and Sunday, 8-9, August, 2015, corresponding to 23-4, Shawwal, 1436 A.H. A number of religious scholars, imams, Islamic and cultural center directors, university and academic institution professors, and religious and cultural activists from various cities and states in North America attended the conference. The guest of the conference from the religious seminary in Najaf was His Excellency, Shaykh Amjad Riyad al-Sa’di, the superintendent of Najm al-A’immah religious school, who enriched the conference with guidelines from the supreme religious authority.
During two days of debate and discussion about the various internal and external challenges facing Islam and Muslims, the participants arrived at the following decisions and recommendations:
The council reiterates its call for all members and subsets of the Muslim community in North America to be committed to their national identity and abide by the principle of rights and responsibilities, in addition to their commitment to their religious identity and preserving its noble traditions. That includes: first, doing what they can to protect the community from all kinds of extremism and ideological deviation that the terrorists are trying to spread in order to influence society, and second, boosting peaceful coexistence with the members of all other communities, responsible integration, and participating in social activities according to the instructions and conditions called for by the council in a previous conference on the subject, including participation in local and federal elections.
The council calls on all Islamic and social organizations and clubs to pay more attention to the young generation than ever before by granting them participation in all intellectual and cultural activities, in addition to providing them with a healthy environment for recreation and entertainment. Neglecting this vigorous and vital subset of the community may open windows –God forbid- that enable extremists and terrorists to infiltrate through to influence them by exploiting their emotions and sentiments.
The council recommends ignoring the media harassments and provocations that are considered “Islamophobic” so that the Muslim community does not become preoccupied with them and forgets its priorities. Occupying ourselves with such provocations would help achieve the goals of the evildoers and racists who mean harm to Muslims. Instead, we should concentrate and focus on explaining the noble values of the Muslim community in the West and shed light on the scientific, academic, economic, and social accomplishments that Muslims have achieved during centuries of presence on this continent.
In light of the fabricated sectarian strife and the accompanying propaganda, the council reiterates its condemnation and denouncement of the use of religion by anyone as a cover and a means to achieve political agendas. Furthermore, the council emphasizes the necessity of confronting and remedying such acts through the practice of the principle of moderation and good advice by all imams, speakers, and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers and by all those who have dedicated themselves to serving the religion and the community. This is a Qur’anic principle of which the best examples are found in the life and conduct of the noble Prophet and his progeny, may peace be upon him and them, the models and exemplars God commands us to follow.
The council urges all concerned religious and social leaders to multiply their efforts in boosting inter-Islamic cooperation in order to minimize the chances of success for those who incite sectarian strife by pulling the community toward radicalism, extremism, violence, and terror. The best means of doing this is to increase the frequency of meetings, visits, and dialogue, and to concentrate on the numerous points of agreement and ignore the few differences, and to aid and endorse the moderate influential organizations on both sides –Sunni and Shia- in order to stand in unity against all extremists and terrorists.
The council calls attention to the necessity of maximum alertness and caution from being dragged into competitions and rivalries that do not have any benefit other than causing more unjustifiable division and strife, such as striking the cords of race and ethnicity, the multiplicity of intellectual and jurisprudential authorities, and the plurality of political allegiance and association. Every individual has the right to be proud of his race and ethnicity. Yet we are all members of the human kind. The plurality of intellectual and jurisprudential opinions helps enrich knowledge. It is an innate principle, and freedom of choice has no meaning without it. Moreover, emulation and jurisprudential reference are personal choices. However, public stands pertaining to the interests of religion and the community should be taken unanimously by all jurisprudents, as was witnessed when all jurisprudents of religious seminaries in Najaf and Qom took a unified stand supporting the edict of the supreme religious authority of the Shia denomination, the Grand Ayatollah, Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani, may God prolong his life, in regard to combating the terrorist ISIS organization in Iraq and the waves of fabricated sectarian conflict sweeping the Islamic world. Furthermore, the variety of political affiliation and allegiance is but a temporary issue relating to certain place and time circumstances that will end when the circumstances end, and should not be generalized and applied to all denominations and intellectual schools and all Muslims in every time and place.
The participants condemn the media propaganda that aims to deface the edict of collective Jihad issued by the supreme religious authority with which thousands of volunteering young believers complied and rose to combat the band of crime and terror that brought together the deviant and the eccentric from more than sixty countries around the world. Those volunteering young believers sacrificed their lives and blood and went to combat with the simplest of means and with domestic support only. They volunteered to combat the cruelest terrorist band on the face of earth on behalf of the entire world, which is threatened and terrorized by this group. Thus, the participants call upon all the conscientious people around the world to do what they can to at least silence these cacophonous voices if they cannot provide physical support to these volunteering young men whom all of us should be proud of.
Another topic of discussion was regarding the internal issues and matters of the council, and continuing to reorganize and develop the council in order to achieve greater credibility and bigger accomplishments to make the council take the role that it was founded to play two decades ago. This subject that has been open for discussion for years was discussed extensively beginning with the first meeting of the conference, and the following announcements were made:
The council of scholars was founded with candid and sincere efforts and has positive physical and spiritual effects on the ground that believers see in various parts of Canada and the United States, even though the council is limited in many fields, including media and finance. Therefore, the participants stress the necessity of preserving this achievement and contributing to protecting, nurturing, and promoting it.
This council with such a vision, such goals that encompass all the members of this denomination, the significance it carries, and its spiritual, instructional, directive, non-executive, and non-administrative importance should be adopted by a competent and strong entity that is endorsed by the supreme religious authority. The council recognizes that I.M.A.M. organization is capable of this mission today.
In response to requests that have been coming for years, the participants agreed to hold a special conference for the dedicated, qualified religious scholars who are devoted to carrying the mission and message of the council in order to renovate it and organize its internal workings in a better manner that suits its stature and the expectations of the believers of it.
The participants thank and appreciate the year-round work and efforts of the moon-sighting committee. These efforts have been met with wide relief and acceptance by believers in North America. The Esteemed, Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi (Toronto), Shaykh Fadhil al-Sahlani (New York), Shaykh Muhammed Ja’far Banglory (Miami), Sayyid Mahboob Mehdi Abedi (Chicago), and Shaykh Sabah al-Ebadi (Vancouver) have been recommended to be members of the committee next year. We wish them success.
As we thank and appreciate everyone who attended, participated in, or contributed to the success of this blessed conference, we supplicate God, the Glorified, to accept our works and efforts and to accord all of us with success in achieving more cooperation, collaboration, and joint activities that would please our Awaited Imam, may the Almighty expedite his righteous return. May peace be upon you, and the mercy of God, as well as His blessings.
Board of Directors
24 Shawwal, 1436 A.H.
9 August, 2015
The Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America
عن المؤتمر الخامس عشر لمجلس علماء المسلمين الشيعة في أمريكا الشمالية
The Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America
Title of the conference:
Cooperation and Collaboration:
It’s a necessity now, not an option
Interdiction, preface, theme…
This conference intends to focus on the most significant challenges that Islam, Muslims, and the followers of Ahlul-Bayt (as) encounter, as internal and external provocation rises daily, and violence, insolence and disrespect against the Shia school of thought and the Shia community continues to soar. Furthermore, internal disagreements are increasing among the Shia, thus making the community more fragile day by day. All of these factors have raised the concerns of people who have devoted their efforts to serving religion and society, by overcoming a variety of differences, and taking part in resolving major issues which affect Shia society.
Due to these factors, we hope to create an opportunity to develop and improve Islamic centers and make the performance of our scholars and missionaries more efficient through the efforts of this conference. In doing so, our Islamic institutes and communities will have better outcomes, and more successful strategies and approaches.
Saturday and Sunday, August 8th and 9th 2015 (Shawwal 22nd and 23rd, 1436)
1725 E. Algonquin Rd., Schaumburg, IL, 60173
Tel: +1 (847) 221-0627
Topics for research and discussion
Shiism and Contemporary Challenges
- The necessity of unity and mutual collaboration in addressing the malicious attacks upon the Shia Islamic faith and community worldwide
- The methods and techniques to narrow differences and increase cooperation
- The rights of the Shia worldwide and their demand to be recognized at the level of international law
- How to achieve unity both within and beyond the confines of the Shia community
Collaboration with Humanitarian Institutions in the Middle East
- Caring for orphans
- Aid to Widows
- Financial assistance
- Supporting charity projects
Clergy Preparation Program at Najm al-Ayimmah Seminary in Najaf
- Recruit qualified youth (both male and female) from the West
- Provide full support and funding until graduation
- Hawzah status, and student struggle and challenge in Najaf
- Recognize the value and output of seminary students, while maintaining high levels of achievement, knowledge, piety, and moral and ethical behavior
The Institute of Shia Studies in Washington, DC
- Plan and report the activities of the institute
- How to engage intellectually and research as a religious scholar or missionary
- Support and reinforce the mission of the institute which will lead to its success
- Guarantee the mission and vision of the center, as well as the role of the religious scholar
Strategic Planning in Religious Institutes
- The factors which delay and prevent the progress of religious institutes
- The organization and design of general charity institutes in the Western world
- How to distinguish between leadership and management
- How to plan for institutes and societies to co-exist side-by-side in order to guarantee the growth and continuance of the project and the growth and transformation of committee members
Professional and Administrative Influences
- How to discuss and handle conflict among religious leaders and Islamic center committees
- The various circumstances, aspects, and rights of spiritual leadership and administrative management
- How to model successful solutions from the corporate environmentin terms of spiritualleadershipand administrativemanagement
Honored Guest and Key Speaker
Shaykh Amjad Reyadh
- Editor and Researcher of Fiqh and Usool lessons of Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Rida al-
- Supervisor of the Najm ‘Ayimmah seminary in Najaf for gifted students
- Supervisor of al-‘Ayn Social Care Foundation, which specialises in caring for children who have been orphaned by terrorism
Conference Attendees List:
- Shaykh Amjed Riyadh Abbas, Najaf, Iraq.
- Sayyid Muhammad Raizvi. Toronto. Ont
- Shaykh Mohammad Ali al-Halabi, Miami, FL.
- Shaykh Fadhil al-Sahlani, Jamaica, NY
- Dr. Abbas Kadhim, Washington, DC
- Sayyid Mahboob Mehdi Abedi, Chicago.
- Sayyid M. B. Kashmiri, Dearborn, MI.
- Sayyid Hussayn Saberi, New York, NY.
- Shaykh Baha al-Khaqani, Dearborn Hieghts, MI.
- Shaykh Mohammd Alwan al-Ansari, Chicago, IL.
- Shaykh Mohammad Ali al-Saimari, Alene Park, MI.
- Sayyid Shahryar Abidi, Chicago, IL
- Shaykh Abd al-Munem Sharara, Windsor, Ont.
- Shaykh Mohammad Jafar Banglori, Miami, Fl.
- Shaykh Aous Asfar, Dearborn, MI.
- Sayyi Rashid Saberi, San Deigo, CA.
- Shaykh Muhammad al-Saadi, Dearborn, MI.
- Shaykh Abed al-Bodairi, Dearborn, MI
- Borair Asim, Dearborn MI
- Sayyid Haidar Bahreloom
- Shaykh Kamil al-Baghdadi, Dearborn Hieghts, MI.
- Shaykh Dr. Odeh Muhawesh, Minneapolis Minnesota.
- Shaykh Murtadha Al Maliki, Richmond, AV
- Shaykh Abbas Almosafri, Dallas, TX
- Shaykh Saed Kulayni, Tampa, FL
- Shaykh Rahim Abbas Al-Saidy, Louisville, KY
- Shaykh Falah Alattar, Fontana, CA
- Shaykh Liyakat Takim, On, Canada
- Shaykh Bahaa Al-Khaqani, Dearborn Highest, MI
- Shaykh Ahmad Bahrani, Potomac, MI
- Dr. Sakhawat Hussain, New York, NY
- Shaykh Mustafa Akhound, Alexandria, VA
- Sayyid Abdulsattar Almouswi, Dearborn Heights, MI
- Shaykh Salman Alabedy, On, Canada
- Shaykh Muslim Chawla, East Amherst, NY
- Shaykh Sabah Rasoul Mohsen, Beaverton, OR
- Shaykh Fawzi Alsiraj, Atlanta, GA
- Shaykh Mohammed Ali Essa, Dearborn MI
- Shaykh Saleh Seboweh, Qb, Canada