The Role of the Imam in Leading American Mosques


  • John Ederer Imam, Muslim Community Center of Charlotte



Imam, mosque, culture, custom, citizenship


Across the country, American mosques are struggling with dwindling attendance and/or stagnancy. The causes generally come back to four interconnected points: a lack of governing principles, the politics of control by personalities, little focus on social integration, and a scarcity of properly trained and empowered imams. The imam, the community’s leading inspirational motivating force, is governed by scripture and both supported as well as held accountable by a community rooted in scriptural values. These values are a broad realm of massive differences subject to an array of cultures that can be a cause for division.

Given this reality, Muslims must establish a mission, vision, and core value system for a clear cohesive divinely guided community. This system must priori-tize the community’s relevant needs with a strong focus on the big picture of Islam as it relates to the broader society. The administrative management of mosques should support their imam to lead them accordingly.






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