On Their Guard

June 9, 2007

Author: Jennifer Garza

Source: The Sacramento Bee


Imam Mohammad Azeez reads aloud the weekly announcements on this Friday afternoon and again wonders why he couldn't find anyone else to do it.

"Remember to sign up for the new class starting soon," he says as many worshippers file out the mosque doors.

Pray for the mother of a member who recently had hip surgery, he continues.

Don't forget about the upcoming guest speaker.

Pick up a flier on the way out.

In the two minutes it takes to read the notices, half the worshippers have left. Azeez jokes that there is probably a special blessing for those who stayed.

In the past, this job usually was done by one of the members of the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims, or SALAM. But that responsibility has increasingly fallen on Azeez, the spiritual leader of the mosque.

That's because it has become difficult to find worshippers willing to speak publicly at the mosque, even to do something as innocuous as reading the weekly announcements, says Azeez.