Demand Grows for U.S.-Style Imams

July 20, 2007

Author: Neil MacFarquhar

Source: The Detroit News

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- Sheik Yassir Fazaga regularly uses a standard American calendar to provide inspiration for his weekly Friday sermon.

Around Valentine's Day this year, he talked about how the Quran endorses romantic love within certain ethical parameters. On World AIDS Day, he criticized Muslims for making moral judgments about the disease rather than helping the afflicted, and on International Women's Day he focused on domestic abuse.

"My main objective is to make Islam relevant," said Sheik Fazaga, 34, who went to high school in Orange County, which includes Mission Viejo, and brings a certain American flair to his role as imam in the mosque here.