In the name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful
June 11, 2022
The Muslim community in Southern California, and across the nation, expects Muslim organizations and Masajid to maintain high standards of ethical conduct, good governance and inspiring leadership, founded in Islamic ideals and expressed in accepted social practice. It is imperative for such institutions to ensure that board members, staff and others officially associated with the institution engage in a responsible, transparent, appropriate and professional manner when dealing with one another and with their constituents. Unfortunately, there are cases that arise regarding inappropriate actions on the part of current or prospective associates, including spiritual abuse, sexual assault, boundary violations and other forms of misconduct. When there is sufficient evidence or testimonial that calls into question the suitability of an individual to hold a position of leadership or authority, it behooves institutions to disassociate from them, even if no legal or criminal judgments come into play. The primary criteria involved is ethical, drawing from the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. Even if such individuals express regret or make amends towards those who’ve been victimized, a position of public leadership is not appropriate. Such individuals may find alternative ways to serve the community should they wish. The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California encourages all organizations and Masajid, whether they are members of the Shura or not, to exercise due diligence and caution in granting positions of leadership (after background checks, reference verification, etc) so as to maintain the broad community’s trust and support. May Allah help us to do what’s right and protect us from harm.
The Shura Council has conducted harassment training by legal experts and provided the following resources on the matter. Each organization is requested to comply by creating policies, implementing training and reporting incidents in a systematic manner internally to appropriate parties. Please see the recently finalized comprehensive Islamic Code of Conduct for our members and the various materials attached for employers/employees as well as boards and volunteers.
The Board of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
Resources: Shura Council Code of Conduct & Ethics Presentation (pdf), What is Sexual Harassment (pdf), Professionalism and Sexual Harassment Training (pdf)