Dear Imam, the Mayor, guests and brothers and sisters,
May peace be upon you
My dear brothers and sisters, on your behalf, I thank Mayor Edward Sullivan and his administration, Superintendent Mike Richard, Asst. Superintendent Kevin McQuillan and the city of West Springfield for letting us have this event at this lovely facility. We also thank the Chief of Police Ronald Campurciani and rest of the police department for their help. We welcome and thank Mayor Sullivan and all guests for accepting the invitation and honoring us with their presence.
On this day of Eid, we pray to God Almighty to accept our fasting, prayers and charities and bless the days of Eid for our nation. We pray to Him to bring peace and harmony among ourselves, our country and around the globe. May He save us from the menace of extreme and perverted religious and racial ideologies and actions. Ameen.
For your information, Alhumdulillah, the organizational and financial structure of the masjid and our center is strong. Our strength largely comes from dedicated individuals and families who provide sustained physical and/or monetary support year after year. May Allah SWT bless every one of them and their families and every other brother(s) and sister(s) who have contributed in any amount small or large, put any other type of effort, direct or indirect, to help in this cause, or prayed or even wished for the goodwill of the masjid, the center and the community. Our special thanks are to the brothers and sisters who help maintain and upkeep the masjid day after day, Jumah after Jumah, throughout the year. We thank Mr. Gary Muddiman for his service to our center for managing our parking. Our special thanks also to the brothers and sisters who helped organize and manage this event. May Allah SWT accept our deeds and forgo our mistakes and bless us with best of intentions to continue this work, Ameen.
As far as the future of our facilities is concerned, our proposed Master Renovation Plan envisions a better facility for Iqra, larger prayer space for men and women, new washroom facilities and more parking spaces. While the work on this project is on hold we continue to find ways to make it possible. God-willing, the plan would go forward when He wills and at that time He would bring appropriate people, ideas and resources to make it possible. We remain optimistic. Also, we continue to explore for a suitable and affordable place for our cemetery.
Muslims are part of almost every surrounding town in this part of the state but we have a special relation with the town of West Springfield; this is where our main center and masjid is. As much as possible, we would take active part to improve physical, business, health and spiritual environment of the town and in helping to alleviate hunger, poverty and any type of injustice. We are also involved in the city of Springfield in multiple social areas to do similar work. On individual level, our members are doing this type of work in almost every town they call home. For those who are still not involved, I request each one of you to give at least 3 hours every week for volunteer work. Do it yourself and be a role model for your children who may continue the tradition. You may contact Imam or any board member to find the appropriate position suitable for your experience and interest. At this time, there is acute need of volunteers for our Sunday school, youth programs and many social projects we are involved in.
Today, our hearts are with the suffering people of the world, especially the affected families and citizens of Chattanooga TN, and our brothers and sisters in Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Syria. We have an ongoing drive to collect funds, clothing and shoes for people in Syria and many other places. While we do all this, we understand that these types of efforts are small gestures for the enormous challenges these people are facing. On our part, larger efforts and stronger measures might not be possible at this stage and would require a different approach, a sustained and long-term approach. Being a part of this great nation, we are given opportunities similar to anybody else. To be more effective and to bring about more significant positive changes in the world, the first practical step is to improve our own situation. In whatever profession or line of work we are, we need to work hard and be creative and try to be better than anybody else. We need to make sure though that we are working in legal and Halal ways and staying away from Haram. Not only that, to get special blessings from Allah SWT, we have to be more honest, more just and more generous than anybody else. As we very well know that God does not change the condition of a community or a nation unless they work on it.
Today’s social and geo-political environment requires that we clearly understand and follow some of our fundamental positions and values. Racism has no place in Islam and there is no ethnic, national or tribal superiority of one over any other. We stand against religious intolerance, extremism and sectarian divisions. We categorically reject and repudiate ideologies and actions of devious and extremist like the two brothers in Boston or Mr. Abdul-Azeez in Chattanooga TN. We believe that the grouping of people in different religions and ideologies promotes a competition of who could excel in doing righteous deeds, the deeds that benefit others. Protecting the land we live in and the people we share our lives with is our religious obligation. We stand for the suffering and oppressed people of the world, today from Burma to Palestine. We promote that every person first improves him or herself before critiquing others. We work with the knowledge and understanding that we all are responsible for our actions and one day would be accountable in front of God, the creator, sustainer and manager of whatever is perceived by us and beyond.
Today should be the day to smile and be happy, meet and greet, forget and forgive, eat and drink, enjoy and cherish and be thankful. We understand all that but in respect to the suffering people of our nation and the world, we curtail our festivities. May God bless this gathering, this city, this state and our great country, the United States of America. Ameen.