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The need for leadership education embodied in Imam training programs for Muslims in America has never been felt more acutely than now. There is a growing demand for American-born leadership but few practical tangible efforts at satisfying this need not to mention a deficiency of funds to fuel the concept. This is not to say that we are at ground zero in Islamic education in the United States but we are far from getting a passing report-card.

The need for quality higher education presents a number of question marks regarding the priorities and psyche of the Muslim community. There are questions that demand we ask what value does Islamic education have in the overall community beyond the basics and pop Islamic culture. Leadership education is qualitatively different than being cultured in Islam. And yet leadership education and scholarship too are world apart if we are to speak seriously and frankly.

It is not always the case that an Imam is a qualified scholar although we would desire such. But a solid leadership education would be sufficient to develop qualified  Imams even if they don’t blaze the scholarship trail. What we do know is that scholarship overall is a rare art, a craft practiced by too few people. But it is scholarship in its most authentic and refined sense that we are in need truly but attaining to a concept of generating indigenous scholarship that are relevant to today is a long term pursuit. The same is to be said of being a good Imam it is a rare art, a craft mastered by few too people. In the end we can cry over our needs our words to meet them. In this case this means mustering up the resources to engineer qualitative education programs to meet our needs here at home -the US.

Yusuf Rios

 

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