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Mufasa

Who Speaks for Muslims?

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There's a pretty big Muslim institutional structure, at least in the US. We have groups like MPAC, ISNA, CAIR, ICNA, and so on, yet it seems to me that most Muslims -- even the lesser religious -- give more credence to individuals as spokespeople of Muslims rather than organizations. A lot of Muslims follow closely what the big shot imams say, even beyond spiritual issues, but don't really care much about what the big institutions are doing or saying. I've noticed when people refer to the big organizations, like ISNA, they'll mostly refer to individuals within those organizations they know, like Ingrid Mattson.

 

I'm wondering

1) if y'all agree with my observation, and if this is the case in other countries,

2) if you have any speculation as for why this might be the case,

3) what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this 'model'.

 

 

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Well, I'm not trying to make a judgement here - it's more of an observation. I'm more interested in the 'why' question and what that says about the Muslim American community. I do think that an 'institutional model' reflects a more matured and organized community though. For comparison, the Jewish community is incredibly institutional. The only figures known nationally are those who lead large organizations -- they're mostly replaceable too.

 

It has its ups and its downs, but there's no doubt in my mind that communities with strong institutions also have better national and political representation.

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I'm wondering

1) if y'all agree with my observation, and if this is the case in other countries,

2) if you have any speculation as for why this might be the case,

3) what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this 'model'.

 

 

 

1. i agree.

2. -because we are all subject to the same celebrity worship thing.

-because certain people in these organizations are their spokespeople

3. i'll get back to you.

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It's difficult to get excited over an institution. Charismatic leaders who make us feel good about ourselves and motivate us is what we have. I guess we need that motivation to feel excited to continue being muslim. I think institutions are a long term goal, and maintaining them is important for future generations.

 

It is difficult being muslim now, we don't have much support and affirmation from the society, much unlike the jewish experience. So I understand why we require that from the celebrity leaders. Those leaders are using their influence to create institutions tho, so we are on the right path.

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It's difficult to get excited over an institution. Charismatic leaders who make us feel good about ourselves and motivate us is what we have. I guess we need that motivation to feel excited to continue being muslim. I think institutions are a long term goal, and maintaining them is important for future generations.

 

It is difficult being muslim now, we don't have much support and affirmation from the society, much unlike the jewish experience. So I understand why we require that from the celebrity leaders. Those leaders are using their influence to create institutions tho, so we are on the right path.

 

What do you mean?

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There's a pretty big Muslim institutional structure, at least in the US. We have groups like MPAC, ISNA, CAIR, ICNA, and so on, yet it seems to me that most Muslims -- even the lesser religious -- give more credence to individuals as spokespeople of Muslims rather than organizations. A lot of Muslims follow closely what the big shot imams say, even beyond spiritual issues, but don't really care much about what the big institutions are doing or saying. I've noticed when people refer to the big organizations, like ISNA, they'll mostly refer to individuals within those organizations they know, like Ingrid Mattson.

 

I'm wondering

1) if y'all agree with my observation, and if this is the case in other countries,

2) if you have any speculation as for why this might be the case,

3) what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this 'model'.

 

 

 

I do agree with you're observation, and I feel that this is the case due to the subsidiary differences between the muslims. Fiqh, methodology etc all play a part in which individuals the masses accept as their voice and representative. For example, A Hanafi and a Shafi'i will identify different individuals from whom they take there Knowledge from, a Tablighi and a HT will have different 'Elders' whom they consult and take advice from, and so on and so forth.

 

That's why many 'islamic Bodies' have an array of Scholars and Academics from various backgrounds to try and accommodate everyone, but it ends up as 'each to their own'.

 

Well, that's how I see it.

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There's a pretty big Muslim institutional structure, at least in the US. We have groups like MPAC, ISNA, CAIR, ICNA, and so on, yet it seems to me that most Muslims -- even the lesser religious -- give more credence to individuals as spokespeople of Muslims rather than organizations. A lot of Muslims follow closely what the big shot imams say, even beyond spiritual issues, but don't really care much about what the big institutions are doing or saying. I've noticed when people refer to the big organizations, like ISNA, they'll mostly refer to individuals within those organizations they know, like Ingrid Mattson.

 

I'm wondering

1) if y'all agree with my observation, and if this is the case in other countries,

2) if you have any speculation as for why this might be the case,

3) what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this 'model'.

 

 

Do Christians or Jews give more credence to the organization rather than the person behind it?

for example, do Christians care what the 'Vatican' says or what the Pope says?

 

I think it's good to have an accountable person rather than a faceless organization.

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What do you mean?

It's the reason we have those big conferences with the big name imams and scholars. Muslims go to those events, feel good during the conference, even a week afterwards, then it's business as usual. They go back to what they are used to. But in the time that they are in that iman zone, they are motivated and content with Islam. That is until our old way of life calls us and we fall back into it, and we rely on those events to feel that connection to Allah and being a muslim.

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