Individual Relational Meeting with Imam Huzaifa
The assignment require me to identify an arena in which I want to build and exercise power. I have been thinking about this for a while and I decided that I will reach out the religious and social community leaders and try to understand, how we can minimize the distance between different religious communities after the atrocities that happened on 9/11. This is why I went to my nearest Mosque and meat with the imam after my prayers to understand, how he is reaching out to Muslims and Non-Muslims to build a bridge between the communities.
My meetings with Imam Huzaifa started with worm greetings inside the mosque. I told him about my interests. He said that he will be more than happy to answer my questions. I asked about his background and who and why he became an Imam. He said that he is originally from Qatar. He has a rich family background and did not come to America to earn money. He actually can to America to spread the message of humanity and peace as taught by the Islamic teachings. He said that since childhood, he has been very interested in studying religion. His father was a Muslim cleric and always encouraged him to pursue his interest in religious studies. The Imam Huzaifa said that back home he studied religion and also participated in social activities like raising money for charities and giving talks on religious and social issues. He was always keen on presenting the image of peaceful Islam. He was in the US at the time the 9/11 happened and this is where he thought that he has a bigger role to play. He taught that he has to separate the Muslim youth from what the terrorists portray as Islam. He is an open critic of terrorism and extremism.
Imam Huzaifa said that he realizes his present and future leadership role as a Muslim religious leader. He said that he leads by an example by inviting Non-Muslims to his mosques for different events. By this he want to convey a message of coexistence to both Muslims and Non- Muslims. He thinks that when there are terrorist acts by some misguided Muslims, his relation to the Non-Muslim community becomes very tricky. Then they ask hard questions about the Muslim faith that are not easy for him to answer straight away. Also he faces difficult questions from young Muslims who are angry by the way they are sometimes treated by others due to the acts of violence by Muslim terrorists. So I concluded that Imam Huzaifa has a complex network of people to interact with and he has a greater responsibility to lead in a way that he can satisfy those who ask him difficult questions in different situations.
Imam Huzaifa is a great person and I believe that in his leadership and in the leadership of other religious scholars, we can one day develop a society which is free of any hatred towards each other based on the believes we have.
Relational networks and leadership capacities analysis:
I went back to the notes that I prepared after my meeting with Imam Huzaifa and redid my analysis. Imam Huzaifa has a complex network of relations in my opinion. He has to deal with people from his own and other faiths. Sometimes there are questions from people from his own faith that, he said, are biased towards people from other faiths. He said that there is a reason behind it as these people observed some anger from people from other faiths after 9/11 and that do not get out of their minds. So he has to very carefully calm them down and let them know that they need to change the way they take things on its face value. People from other faiths also see that there are acts of extremism happening on the name of Islam and they are also angry. Imam Huzaifa has to deal with them carefully and make them understand the view point from his religious views and highlight the peaceful message of his faith.
In relation to his leadership capacity, I believe that he is really good faith leader. He is lading his followers towards a peaceful resolution towards their grievances and in a sense providing counseling. In the same way, he has been an effective representative leader of the people of his faith when he has to confront other people. I believe, with time more and more people will come under his leadership and he can then contribute his part to a peaceful society. Imam Hozaifa is committed to the ongoing process of building a bridge between communities. This is a good leadership capacity to be able to connect people rather than scatter them and create mistrust. Being a religious leader, he is trying his best to promote a positive culture of harmony and peace despite the difficulties he is facing from both Muslim and Non-Muslim communities. He is focusing on the youth which could well be a source of producing future leaders who will be dedicated to the principles Imam Huzaifa believes in.