Growth of Muslims in US creates need for religious scholars

Growth of Muslims in US creates need for religious scholars

Growth of Muslims in US creates need for religious scholars

Shaykh Amir Mukhtar Faezi is the founder of Ahl Al-Bayt Islamic Seminary. The U.S.-based seminary is focused on the Shiite tradition. Faezi founded it in 2014, offering a five-year graduate program. Imam Mohammad Qazwini‘s deep understanding of Islam and his formal training at a seminary in the holy city of Qom, Iran, draws students to this suburban Detroit classroom just off the large prayer room of a mosque. But there’s another attraction. The Quran, Islam’s holy book, is written in classical Arabic, but many of the students aren’t well-versed in the language. Qazwini navigates its intricacies effortlessly—in the everyday English they use, opening a door for many of the students.

An increasing number of US Muslims want guidance from religious instructors who they can understand linguistically and culturally.

For mosques around the country, the need to produce US-trained religious leaders is increasing. Traditional imams and scholars who once came from the Middle East or were educated in schools there are having more difficulty entering the US.  The Trump administration imposed a travel ban in January 2017, on people from several Muslim majority countries, and the government has made it harder to enter the US entirely, with more rigorous interviews and background checks.

“In many other states there are mosques with no…functional imam, who can assume the responsibilities of the religious leader or even speak,” said Islamic Institute of America leader Imam Hassan Qazwini, who started the seminary with his son. “I thought maybe a long-term solution for facing this shortage is to have our own Shiite Islamic seminary in the US, instead of waiting for imams to come.” Al-Hujjah Seminary is the newest of several seminaries focused on the Shiite branch of Islam in the US and Canada working to address a shortage of leaders.

Source: BusinessMirror

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