Imams Should Embrace U.S. Culture, New Islamic Society Chief Says

November 6, 2006

Author: Robert King

Source: The Indianapolis Star

Leaders of American mosques need to buy into American culture more and perform the full-time roles more common to Christian pastors, said the new head of the Plainfield-based Islamic Society of North America. Muneer Fareed, 50, a professor and former mosque prayer leader, says one of his challenges as the Islamic Society's new secretary-general will be to help imams, or prayer leaders, better embrace American culture.

"There is a greater alienation on the part of mosque leadership from Western culture than there is on the part of the flock," said Fareed, a former imam himself.

Imams should perform marriage counseling and pastoral care, Fareed said, even if it requires them to serve full time. Most mosques now have volunteer or part-time clergy, a model that worked well in the Arab homelands of many imams.