The 14th Annual Conference of
The Council of Shi’a Muslim Scholars of North America
In The Name of Allah The Beneficent The Merciful
All gratitude is to The Lord of the worlds and may His peace and blessings be upon the best of His creation Muhammad and his purified progeny
Through the guidance from the Allah’s words, “He who does good deeds be they male or female while a believer then We will give him a pleasurable life and we will reward them in accordance with the best of their deeds,”the 14th Annual Conference of the Council of Shi’a Muslim Scholars of North America was held under the title of “Mechanisms of Development: Preaching, Scholars and Youth” in the city of Detroit, Michigan on Monday and Tuesday the 21st-22nd of Shawwal, 1435 (18-19 of August, 2014). The participants and attendees included a group of scholars, preachers, professors of universities and academic institutes from different cities from across North America. Their goal was to work on two focal points:
· To deal with issues that the Islamic world is experiencing from crises and great challenges. Such as the increase in terrorism and its mechanisms, politically-driven sectarian violence that has defamed Islam and Muslims, the incidence of exile and the difficult humanitarian conditions facing those who have been exiled from their homes, as well as defining the position of the council on these issues.
· Providing concentrated academic workshops provided by professionals in each field. The purpose of which is to develop, and support the process of religious preaching which contributes to the preservation and security of the Islamic centers, as well as developing and supporting the abilities of the preachers and those who serve society.
After two days of diligent work, the conference attendees came to the following decisions and recommendations:
1. With hearts full of pain and sorrow, the members of the council express their anger and dismay at the crimes against humanity occurring throughout the world and more specifically in Iraq, Syria and Palestine. The council condemns such heinous crimes of blood shed that include the murder of the innocent, the mutilation of their corpses, systematic genocide and the exile of the innocent. According to the United Nations, 98% of all victims of terrorism have been attributed to sectarian violence. Most of whose victims are from the followers of the school of the household of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).
2. The conference attendees emphasize and renew their demands from the international community and those of power and authority to intervene and contribute to resolving the issue of terrorism in all of its shapes and forms – if truly their goal is to indeed have global peace and security. This should be done in adherence to the U.N.’s document of human rights by implementing its statutes equitably. Unfortunately, that which the council has warned from occurring persistently for the past years is unfolding and compounding, without a truly useful resolution in sight. On the contrary, we now see examples of such deviance being displayed by youth who are posing a great danger – despite the fact that they were born and raised in western countries. We must not forget the dangerous role that the media and popular forms of social media are playing in this issue.
3. The council expresses its gratitude for the attention, care and advice of the supreme religious jurist (marja’eyah) to the youth. The institute of marja’eyah has emphasized the importance of adhering to the tolerant teachings of the school of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.), abiding by the law, following the path of the righteous scholars, and working hard to seek knowledge so that they may build their nations and support their societies, where ever they may be in the world, coexisting and integrating in a manner that pleases the awaited Imam (a.t.f.).
4. The council is proud and appreciative of the great scholars and jurists of emulation in the religious seminaries, especially those of Najaf and Qom, on their unified position and call to all followers to abide by the edict of the supreme religious jurist. This position is currently embodied by his eminence Grand Ayatullah Sayed ‘Ali Al-Sistani, may The Almighty prolong his life and his wisdom in saving the Ummah in these difficult times, including his position against terrorism and those who accuse others of disbelief, both of which continue to spread day after day without true opposition to stop the massacres and crimes against humanity.
5. In addition to du’a, the council calls upon all to work hand-in-hand to come to the aid of the families of the martyrs, victims, and orphans by caring for the millions of exiled families. This must be conducted through the proper channels to ensure that aid reaches those in need in both a legal and religiously acceptable manner.
6. The council expresses its pride for the appreciation and the compliments that were expressed by global leaders such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and others regarding his eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Al-Sistani’s (may Allah prolong his life) wisdom and influence. They consider him an exemplar for true Islam. We hope that such statements translate into opportunities to work cooperatively to change the deviant behaviors of others who have for centuries defamed the image of Islam and its great scholars by politically-driven innovations that are far from the true religion of Islam.
On the internal affairs of the council, several activities of the 14th annual conference were discussed, as well as other affairs including the future of the council. The following resolutions were reached:
1. The importance of cooperation and unification among all religious scholars, activists, those in such positions, the leaders of Islamic centers and organization, forums, and associations to use all civilly acceptable means to have their communities exert pressure on those in positions of power (such as their governors, state representative, etc.) to face and defeat terrorisms, sectarianism, and apartheid globally.
2. Thanks and gratitude to the director of The Holy Shrine of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) for his efforts in extending the bridges of communication and cooperation with all Islamic centers and organizations in North America through his keynote letter to the conference.
3. The participants complimented and expressed their gratitude for the workshops, and the information shared by experts in the seven specialized workshops that were offered over the span of the two days. The workshops provided a forum for the discussion and study of issues that benefit the development of the centers, organizations, preachers and those in positions of responsibility. Such as: the principles of establishing a strong Islamic center, protecting the rights of the Imams of centers and those in such positions of leadership, a model for the best accounting system and financial reporting, the best methods for interfaith dialogue and communication, how to deal with media, the role of scholars and preachers in think tanks and institutes of strategic research. All were beneficial and fruitful.
4. The assignment of a group of young students and preachers, who participated in the conference, to form a forum to give their impressions of the council, to provide suggestions for the next conference and to discuss the role of the youth in both areas. This will serve as a means of participation, and preparation for them to be assigned future responsibilities and tasks.
5. The recommendation of Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi (Toronto), Shaykh Fadhel Al-Sahlani, (New York), Shaykh Muhammad Ja’far Bangalori (Miami), Sayyid Mahboob Mahdi Al-Najafi (Chicago), Sayyid Nabi Reza Abidi (San Francisco) as members of the Crescent Moon Sighting Committee for the upcoming year. The council extends its gratitude and appreciation to the committee for its work this past year.
Finally, the council would like to express its thanks and gratitude to all those who attended, participated, and contributed to the success of this blessed conference from the respected members of the council, I.M.A.M. organization team and volunteers, and the gracious guests. The council asks The Almighty to accept our deeds and efforts and that He makes it a cause for our cooperation, unification, support, kindness to one another and brotherhood. The council also asks that Allah Almighty hastens the appearance of our master Saheb Al-‘Asr wal-Zaman(a.s.) and that he fills the world with equity, after it has been filled with oppression. Surely Allah hears and answers.
May Allah bless you and Wassalamu Alykum wa Rahmat’llahi wa Barakatuh
The Board of Trustees
Shawwal 22, 1435 (August 19, 2014)