By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Writer, TMO
Dearborn, MI – “Imam Qazwini has done his part in our lives, it’s time to do ours! Please join us Friday after Thanksgiving in supporting our Imam, supporting Unity.”
Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini
Photo by Adil James
This message is an excerpt from a mass e-mail campaign sent out to all who have been inspired by Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, the Imam of the Islamic Center of America, in Dearborn, Michigan. The campaign was created by a group of Qazwini’s supporters in response to letters circulating in the community, which they say include false accusations against their beloved spiritual leader.
The letters, which are being sent to people’s homes via U.S. mail, are from an unidentified group calling themselves The Muslim Youth of Dearborn. Among other things, the letters accuse the Imam of misusing masjid funds.
The Young Muslim Association (YMA), a group which Imam Qazwini founded, responded to clarify that this group is in no way affiliated with them, or the Islamic Center. “We perceive these letters as an unwarranted attack on Imam Sayed Hassan Qazwini, The Young Muslim Association, and the community at large,” they said in a statement. “We stand in full support of Imam Qazwini and are forever indebted to him for all that he has done for our community in his 18 years of service,” the statement said.
As founder of the Young Muslim Association (YMA), Imam Qazwini has influenced many young American Muslims, helping to spiritually guide them in daily living, and even creating an annual retreat to emphasize learning about their faith. After such an experience, many who attended these retreats began to wear hijab permanently.
“Imam Qazwini really understands the American Muslim mentality. Without him, his understanding and guidance, I don’t believe that the young Muslims of the community would be as advanced Islamically as we are,” said Hussein Beydoun who joined Imam Qazwini for Hajj in 2012.
Last Friday, over a thousand community members from cities across Metro-Detroit gathered at the Islamic Center. With the women on one side, and the men on the other, they all joined hands, circling the prayer hall. Wearing signs around their necks and chests that read “We Stand In Dignity,” “Protect The ICA,” and “Our Community, Our Voice,” the community voiced support for their Imam.