NPR: Imam Sheikh Rashid Lamptey

Here is a positive story about the imam of the Dar al Noor community in Manassas, Viriginia.

NPR: Young Imam Serves as Islam’s Face to the Community

Some quotes from the article:

The imam’s duties range from spiritual guide to resident psychologist, sorting through the never-ending details of his people’s lives. The work begins with 5 a.m. prayers and ends when Lamptey drags himself home, often after midnight. In between prayers, he teaches the Koran and youth class. He preaches at funerals and weddings. He counsels parents and children, couples in love and those in distress.

Sheikh Rashid Lamptey:

“It is up to us Muslims to put our religion out there and make it very transparent for people to see,” he said, “and understand that this religion is not about bombing, it’s not about killing, it’s not about marrying 70 women in heaven, as I heard somebody say. It’s about accountability; it’s about sincerity; it’s about forgiveness; it’s about love.”

A Cool Reception:

“I wouldn’t say that it’s the Muslims who are the terrorists,” said nearby resident Johnny Wilson. “But they do some things that cause some concerns for me.”

Such as? A 10-second pause ensued while he considered the question.

“You know, off the top of my tongue I can’t name any,” he said, laughing, “but they do some things that cause some concerns.”

Bridging Cultural & Gender Divides

“This may sound controversial to a lot of people,” he said, “but that is the fact that men and women can pray in the same room. Though the women are delayed behind the men, they should be in the same setting. The women should not be taken far away and hidden from the public. Because that was not what the prophet did. And it’s more of a cultural issue than a religious issue.”

At noon prayers one day, when Lamptey told the women to move forward and participate in the service, visitors in the room looked around, surprised, before moving forward. Lamptey said in Dar Al Noor, it would be an outrage to treat women with little respect. Many of them sold jewelry and other valuables to raise money for the $14 million mosque.

“After the women did all this, I do not believe we can relegate them to the footnote.”

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