Florida Community Members Express Grievances by Lina Dimashqiya
Community members across Shia Islamic Centers in Florida have filed grievances concerning perceived injustices they felt they suffered under a select number of individuals and clerics.
Disclaimer: Welcome to the World Shia Forum “Community Issues” section. This section is a space for Muslims to publicly discuss community issues or file grievances they have felt have been ignored. Below is a post that has been copy pasted from another site and does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Shia Forum or any of its staff and/or writers.
By Lina Dimashqiya (Muslim Community Grievances – Medium Blogs)
Over the years, community members across Shia Islamic Centers in Florida have filed grievances concerning perceived injustices they felt they suffered under a select number of individuals and clerics. They believe these people have been responsible for unjustly appropriating community funds and resources in order fund their own projects and thereby causing the closing of their centers.
Briefly put, the background of the story is follow: it has been reported to me that the Shia Community in Florida which ran a number of Islamic centers had a dispute concerning how to use the community funds vis-a-vis Islamic centers and programs. A certain number of board of directors took it upon themselves to bring a gentleman by the name of Syed Abbas Ayleya from Seattle, Washington as a religious advisor. However, as the disagreements grew over the management of the funds which was over a million dollars, it was agreed that a neutral alim or scholar would help resolve the dispute if not agreement was reached. This was an arbitration clause which the secular courts in Florida had supported.
What ended up happening is that those same board of directors who had brought in Syed Abbas Ayelya used him as an arbitrator even though he was not neutral and was on their side. Syed Abbas Ayelya ended up taking control over that money and used a significant portion of it to support his own personal organizational interests, the most prominent of which was using Florida community funds to fund Muslim Congress, which is an annual Shia Muslim community event.
Many members thought that this act was theft and the depletion and/or mismanagement of these funds under Syed Abbas Ayelya ended up causing the closure of some of their centers. Below is a letter from one of these members (Salah Harake) describing the event along with relevant legal files that allegedly prove the described event. Note that we have not made any edits to it and have left spelling and grammatical mistakes intact.
You think the main reason of joining an Islamic center is to offer good services to the community. And consequently, you hope Allah swt rewards back in the hereafter if you are sincere. But from day one since I joined in late 2005 I felt of hidden agendas and FBI intriguing episodes. Thanks to Mr Abbas Ayleya who was and still a major player in our suffering till now. It is quite an experience, almost 10 years but below is a short briefing:
Syed Abbas Ayleya was subtly imposed on our community as an advisory A’lim. His direct involvement with our community, The Islamic Education Center of Tampa, (“IEC”), started in 2006.
I was the one of the BOD members at that time and tried to explain to him that the process of selecting him to the position of advisory A’lim is not valid or lacks clarity at least.
Our community respects Ulama and believes a man wearing amama is a wholly one. The members were not comfortable of him being an advisory A’lim but hoped we can work together for the best. However, it was the not the case. Syed Abbas Ayleya took the side of couple self-conceited and vicious people who pushed for him to be the advisory. Those persons are the root cause of our suffering with the aid of Mr Ayleya.
*** His first weird action was when three brothers with an attorney’s written opinion tried to take over IEC. The BOD Chairman at that time Dr Jawad Akram wrote him an email that it is not Islamic to do it this way and mentioned O. J. Simpson murder case. A crime with powerful attorney can be disregarded. Syed Abbas Ayleya response 08/03/2006 was that “I did not discover this, I was told the attorneys have said that legally we have to do this, …”
***In 09/20/2007 Syed Ayleya filed via court case 07-8832 an affidavit supporting those guys.
*** In 02/15/2008 those guys filed a law suit case 08-3497 against me, Dr Akram, Jabbar Al-Mashahdani and another member.
*** In 04/19/2009 Dr Bahraini offered to help but the plaintiffs refused in 08/17/2009.
***In 08/13/2010 Shaikh M. Baig filed via court an affidavit supporting those guys. Shaikh Baig was affiliated with Syed Abbas Ayleya.
*** In 12/28/2010 Shaikh Shabbiri filed via court an award supporting those guys. Shaikh Shabbiri more affidavits later in time and he is affiliated with Syed Abbas Ayleya.
***In 12/08/2011 the law suit was dismissed case 08-3497 for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction.
***In 10/04/2013 a court settlement agreement was reached for case 07-8832 entrusting Scholars with IEC bank account $1.8million. “All transactions associated with this account must have the consent and signatures of all three Scholars”.
***In 01/14/2016 Syed Abbas Ayleya breached the agreement by giving a power of attorney to those plaintiffs who took over IEC bank account using it.