As-salaamu 'alikum ICCSC community members,
We would like to provide a summary and detailed explanation of recent events at the Masjid in order to clarify the confusion that has been circulating. At the heart of the dispute is a list of 20 names of people, from one ethnicity, that were proposed as preferred members to vote for in the November 2022 Shura Election. Many Shura members believed this was un-Islamic. This lead to a series of bad Islamic conduct and failure to condemn the list which resulted in membership removal of all 20 members. Subsequently, the group who proposed the list (Plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit against the Shura (Defendants), alleging that their removal violated the bylaws.
Islamically, arbitration conducted by knowelegeable Scholars is the preferred way to handle such disputes before going to a civil court. After unsuccessful mediation, the Shura agreed to arbitration, but Plaintiffs did not. Unfortunately, Plaintiffs began court action only two days after this dispute started and many days before their membership was revoked.
The matter now sits in the courts and a recent motion to dismiss Plaintiff's lawsuit was filed on the grounds that religious matters have no place in secular/civil court and decisions made by the governing body (Shura) are final.
The ICCSC Shura typically does not share confidential documents with the community. However, to put an end to the rumors and accusations that have been circulating, the Defendants are releasing documents to clarify what happened. It is the Islamic way to show the truth. The Defendants are providing a detailed timeline of the events below - all which is public information, as well as instructions on how to view all court documents. Most meetings were recorded and available to anyone.
Yours in Islam,
ICCSC Shura Board
An email was sent to the 2022 Shura Election Committee regarding a WhatsApp message circulating in the community. This message listed "20 people to vote for Shura," all of whom were of the same ethnicity.
Election Committee's response: "We (election committee) request to the current Shura to convene a meeting to address this matter with urgency for any further investigation of this matter and resolve it internally in the Shura until which we plan to put the election process on hold...."
The ICCSC bylaws states that we must "promote unity".
This "preferred list" of candidates was discussed and Shurah members on the list acknowledged the list and did not condemn the list.
The Shura voted to postpone the election and meet again on November 15th to discuss this matter further.
Ikram Khan begins a long series of email blasts to the community by breaching and exposing personal and professional emails with accusations concerning the election. These abrasive emails are not customarily used by Shura members to promote their personal views.
The then-President, Ikram Khan cancelled the scheduled meeting for Nov 15th, which was to resolve the issue with the "list". He did not set alternate date.
Further, Khan stated "I will call the next Shura meeting when it is required."
Plaintiffs begin legal action against the Shura (Defendants). This sudden move comes without any attempt to peacefully resolve the issue within the Shura.
View court document
All 36 Shura candidates met to discuss the election issue along with the Election Committee and Sheikh. None of the Plaintiffs denounced this list during open discussions.
After the meeting was adjourned and the Defendants left the meeting, a vote in the absence of the Defendants to go ahead with the election was documented in fabricated meeting minutes by then-President Ikram Khan.
At the beginning of the meeting, Sheikh clearly stated: "This is NOT an official Shura meeting."
The then-President Ikram Khan calls for a Shura meeting at the Masjid with one (1) hour's notice (the standard is 3 days notice). Most of the 20 candidates/Plaintiffs and non-Shura members were present at the meeting. View email.
Ikram Khan's membership was immediately revoked based on breach of bylaws Article III, Section 1.b (Member should be of good Islamic conduct).
Ikram Khan, a former member, dissolves the sitting Shura. Only the Board of Directors have the power to do this. He then meets with other Plaintiffs and forms a new Shura and sets new election dates. This is the beginning of Plaintiff's Shura.
On Dec 1, 2022, after failing to denounce the monoethnic list, supporting a newly formed illegal "Shura" to force an election, disrespecting the Imam, and demonstrating bad Islamic conduct, the Shura revokes the membership of the remaining 20 members.
On Dec 1, 2022, Plaintiff Suleman Waheed (a non-Shura member) registered the website “iccsc.us” which was an unlicensed copycat site intending to mislead and confuse the community. The authentic ICCSC website is iccsc.org.
On Dec 1, 2022, Plaintiff Suleman Waheed then created a WhatsApp group by manually exporting (without user consent) all 750+ of the existing WhatsApp members from the authentic ICCSC WhatsApp group. This impersonation of the sitting Shura has caused major confusion to the community and it is a form of identity theft, which is punishable by law.
Plaintiff holds illegitimate Shura election resulting in 20 seats.
Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Defendants/Shura - three days after mediation started.
Shura election held resulting in 16 seats.
Forensic analysis of email communications from Plaintiff showed that Plaintiffs have committed email spoofing using "email@example.com"
Email spoofing is a federal violation.
The Plaintiff's copycat website iccsc.us was suspended by the web host (Blue Host) due to copyright and trademark infrigement as well as impersonation.
Plaintiffs forged South Carolina Secretary of State documents. Forgery is a crime that could result in misdemeanor or felony.
Defendant Mustapha Saoui, the registered agent for ICCSC, was unlawfully replaced by Mannan Shaik, who then resigned the following day, reinstating Saoui.
Plaintiffs consulted with Sheikh Bassam of ICC for Islamic arbitration as a way to resolve this issue. After four weeks, however, the Plaintiffs decided against arbitration.
Meanwhile, the Defendants fully agreed to Islamic Arbitration with this signed agreement.
The court has indicated that religious matters should not be handled in a civil court and, as such, neither side was granted an injunction. Instead, the court hinted arbitration as an alternative means of settling the dispute.
Plaintiffs created a nonprofit religious corporation in North Carolina under the name:"Muslim Community Center of Carolinas".
Named Officers and Registrant: Ikram Khan, Arshad Khan, and Masoom Shaik respectively.
Court date for motion to dismiss case is set for March 8, 2023
Plaintiffs file to dismiss Defendant's counterclaims.
The Plaintiffs demolished the playground set without approval from the Shura and attempted to construct a new one using Masjid funds. As the playground area may be relocated during the construction of the new Masjid, members of the Shura ordered the Plaintiffs to remove their materials.
The Lancaster Sheriff was called and the Sheriff STOPPED the Plaintiff's construction. The Sheriff advised "... Arshad [Khan] to have the court approve any work before starting so there is no further issues."
The Plaintiffs ignored the Sheriff's warning from March 10th. Sheriff stops construction once again and indicated that work cannot continue until there is a court order. Further, Sheriff stated verbally that the facility could be shut down if this continues.
Arshad Khan's blatant disregard for the law is unacceptable. There will be no capital improvements/construction until there is resolution to this test from Allah.
Both parties agreed that the playground set needs to be replaced by the Plaintiffs and money spent on playground by the Plaintiffs needs to be returned to the Masjid.
No Sheriff report was filed.
The Plaintiffs claim that "The Islamic Community Center of South Charlotte (“ICCSC”) is not a church or a mosque."
The Defendants strongly disagree with this claim and insist that ICCSC is the House of Allah. From the beginning, ICCSC has functioned mainly as a Masjid and other activities and amenities (soccer field, gym etc.) are beneficial services to the community-at-large in support of the core Islamic mission.
in 2013, ICCSC adopted a resolution transferring ICCSC’s real property to North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) “as a perpetual Waqf for the use of the Corporation and its congregation.” Clearly, ICCSC’s directors and NAIT considered ICCSC to be, first and foremost, a Masjid. It is not a “club” or a “community group.”
According to ICCSC's Declaration of Trust with NAIT, "activities must align with the Islamic faith and adhere to Islamic Rules of Conduct and Code."
A court hearing was held regarding the Defendant's motion to dismiss the case, which was subsequently denied by the Lancaster Judge. The Judge has previously and consistently indicated that this matter should be resolved outside of court.
During Ramadan (week of April 10th, 2023), Defendants noticed that the Plaintiffs were handing out donation slips to collect funds for ICCSC projects and programs.
On April 26, 2023, a subpoena to Wells Fargo bank was filed, resulting in the discovery of funds going to an unknown organization: "Muslim Community Center of Carolinas", NOT ICCSC!
Not only is this action against civil laws, but it also goes against Islamic principles and moral values.
Following explicit and documented guidance from Sh. Abdidahir, both orally and in writing that a second Jumu'ah prayer was not authorized, the Plaintiffs disregarded this advice and proceeded to hold a second Jumu'ah prayer. Surprisingly, they repeated this action the following Friday, failing to inform the guest Khateebs about Sh. Abdidahir's disapproval.
These local Khateebs hold deep respect and admiration for Sh. Abdidahir.
JUNE 14, 2023 - FALSE CLAIMS AND DEFAMATION CONTINUES
Plaintiffs made this announcement in their WhatsApp group. These accusations are empty of any supporting evidence and neither Sh. Abdidahir nor Marlon Haniff were present at the second Jumu’ah on June 9th. The Shura has video surveillance evidence to support this claim.
The Shura strongly encourages community members to seek the truth and ask this group to provide evidence and facts to support their claims. Defamation is punishable by law.
Read the Official ICCSC response to these activities.
The ICCSC Board of Directors has issued an official statement concerning this dipute.
The Shura has been accused of stealing money. On March 16th, we shared why sudden spikes of unauthorized spending prompted the Shura to immediately protect and move funds to a separate bank account, held solely by ICCSC.
ICCSC Shura moved Zakat funds to protect them after an unauthorized individual misused $16K of Zakat money. The remaining funds have been transferred to a bank account (First Bank) that is solely controlled by the ICCSC Shura. A balance of ~$12K is still missing. The Shura acted to safeguard Zakat donations solely to be used according to the Quran and this missing balance must be returned.
There is no legal basis by some individuals claiming that the Imam is not employed by ICCSC. Sheikh Abdidahir is the official Imam of ICCSC and his contract was renewed by the Shura.
A letter to the community was sent out last June discussing why multiple Jumu’ah prayers are impermissible/invalid without establishing a need. The Shura has repeatedly addressed this matter but certain individuals insist on holding a second Jumu’ah.
Recently, some of these individuals refused to pray Salat al-Jama'ah and conducted their own Salat concurrently.
Are these individuals, who are currently suing the Masjid and claiming that ICCSC is not a Masjid, praying for the sake of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala?
The Founders of ICCSC communicated in August that they will assure that the Waqf agreement with NAIT will be upheld by continuing to operate ICCSC as a Masjid. They will work towards a resolution while this matter remains in court.