The Islamic Center of Morgantown submitted this update in April 2009.
The community continues to evolve and mature to better serve the needs of its members. After the successful Open House in 2005 and the departure of polarizing figures that paralyzed the atmosphere for progress, an environment for open dialogue materialized.
The first step was a community-wide effort to overhaul the constitution to better position the mosque to serve the congregation. This work culminated into the largest general body meeting on record in November 2006. Roughly forty men and more than twenty women met for over four hours and in democratic fashion reformed the governing policies of the mosque. These actions directly led to better representation of the community in mosque administration and the creation of an independent school board. The resulting school board helped update the Sunday school curriculum and the school has seen attendance at an all-time high. Nearly eighty children now attend the school and there are plans to expand the scope of its educational mission.
The administration has also continued to include female representation. In the Islamic Center of Morgantown (ICM), women currently comprise half of the school board and a third of the Executive Committee. The Muslim Student Association (MSA) has seen a similar proportion of executive positions going to women and the largest number of female members in its 30-year history.
Through MSA and ICM efforts, West Virginia University now offers accredited courses in both Arabic and Islamic studies taught by congregation members.
The mosque leadership has also moved to make the administration more transparent with the first election of its Board of Trustees. Prior to the constitutional amendments of 2006, vacancies on the board were filled by appointment by presiding board members. While this method was acceptable and even preferable in the community’s early days, the growing Muslim community and logistics of the new mosque demanded change: one that ensured a crucial part of the mosque administration will always stay in touch with the congregation’s vision for the future. The resulting changes to the board have added young, dynamic members on its roster. God willing, this new board will be more apt to deal with the new challenges facing our community.
One of the most important steps this new administration has taken in line with congregation wishes is the appointment of an imam with administrative and clerical duties. During the time the documentary was filmed, the mosque did not have an imam but only the position of religious coordinator on the Executive Committee. Sohail Chaudhry has accepted this currently part-time position and has greatly increased the services and programming the mosque has to offer.
The mosque has also launched a website to help inform the public about events and activities at the mosque as well as communications tools to directly route concerns to appropriate administrators. These efforts have gone a long way at enfranchising the whole community in mosque affairs.
The community still has its share of growing pains that any organization, much less a religious institution as diverse as ours, must face. With the backgrounds present, differing opinions and viewpoints abound; however, the overriding goal of taking the community forward has not been lost. We in the community are grateful to all the past and present members who helped build this mosque. This still relatively new center has vaulted the breadth and scope of religious activities available to the Muslim community of Morgantown. We are committed to keep open channels of dialogue and civil discourse to continue to meet the needs and desires of the congregation. There is a bright future ahead of us here in Morgantown and we are grateful to Allah for the chance to be a part of it.
— The Islamic Center of Morgantown