Who We Are
Here at SALAM we are just like you! Our community is made up of Muslims from all over the world, which makes SALAM the most diverse Islamic center in Sacramento. Since Islam is a universal faith, all of our programs are held in English so the message is universal for everyone to understand. SALAM strongly advocates for women to attend all the events. We believe in the highest Islamic qualities of modesty, decency and moral integrity but do not enforce segregation of the sexes. We are excited that you took the time to view our web site to learn about us, and please stop in so we can learn about you.
Articles of Incorporation
Click here to download or view Article of incorporation.
(According to the By-Laws) SALAM’s mission is to practice and promote Islam by providing religious, educational and recreational facilities and services for members of the public. The emergence of an American-Muslim identity is its prime goal.
History of SALAM
A Brief History of SALAM
Since its Official inception on February 24, 1987
(25 years of dedicated labor of love)
Dr. Metwalli B. Amer
Co-Founder of SALAM
Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento
This writing coincides with
The 25th Anniversary of SALAM
SALAM History: Summary
Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims, known as SALAM, was founded in 1987. Its purpose is to promote Islamic teachings, understanding, and unity among all Muslims in the greater Sacramento community. For six years, its activities were conducted through a PO Box and rented offices and community centers.
In June 1993, SALAM purchased the site at College Oak Dr. as its future Islamic Center; a two and a half acre-peace of property that included two houses and a fruit orchard.
The future Islamic Center was planned to be built in 3 phases and the use permit from the County was obtained on January 9, 1995:
Phase I to build the sidewalk, the fence and gates, the front parking space and its landscape, and the purchase of two big trailers; one for a temporary Masjid (mosque) and the second for a Weekend School. It started in June 1996 and was completed at the end of summer.
Phase II to house an education and community center. It includes a Weekend and an Elementary school, a community hall, a conference room, a commercial kitchen and the property parking lot. The construction started in April 2001 and was completed in February 2002.
Phase III to house SALAM Masjid. Originally in the master plan, it was supposed to be a Masjid to be built in the first floor in the middle of the building with a high ceiling, like the hall in the community center, surrounded by offices.
After surveying SALAM community and conducting further research into various functions of Islamic centers, the Development Committee decided to plan the construction for an Islamically-designed and functionally-focused “Masjid and Center for Higher Islamic Learning”. The Committee started to develop the project, to envision its prospective functions and to design the floor plans accordingly. The Committee drafted two floor plans with the first floor to house a “Center for Higher Islamic Learning” and with the second floor for the Prayer Hall “Masjid”.
This functional building completes SALAM Islamic Center, a Center that is a role model for others to emulate as an American Islamic Center.
It is a place for worship, a place for education and spiritual uplifting, and a place to promote a sense of belonging. It is a site to connect with God and to seek knowledge of the Islamic faith. It is a place to intellectually reflect on the creator and the creation. It is a source for nurturing the mind, the soul, and the body and is open for everybody seeking serenity and internal peace.
The Groundbreaking occurred on March 29, 2008 and the certificate of occupation was obtained from the county in October 25, 2010. The Grand Opening of the new facilities took place on Friday, April 29 and on Saturday, April 30, 2011. It culminated the construction efforts over 2 ½ years of hard work through the dedication of so many people who have enjoyed working to make the House of Allah at SALAM a towering monument in Northern California! It is the pride of the Muslim community in terms of moderation, openness, accessibility, and multi-ethnicity.
Dear SALAM Reader
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatu-Allahi Wabarakatuh السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
May the peace, mercy and blessing of Allah (God) be with you
In the first letter dated April 2, 1987 to declare the formation of SALAM, I raised the following questions to describe the state of the Muslim community and Islam as I saw them in Sacramento area at that time:
“Let us reflect on us Muslims to see the extent of our involvements in religious activities. How often have we seen our Islamic Holidays pass by, without even noticing? How reluctant are we sometimes to announce to our American friends that we are even Muslims, with values and traditions to respect and to be proud of? How often did we try to preserve our Muslim identity? Have we tried to achieve a balance between our professional success in life here, and our duty toward our Islamic practice and heritage? What have we done to establish effective communication with the non-Muslims in our community who are interested to know the truth about Islam? Many questions can be raised; but positive answers will be hard to find!”
I also conveyed in the letter the need to get organized through a new organization.
“We need an organized effort to mobilize our energies to work toward a united front to convey with pride the teachings, values, and heritage of Islam to ourselves, our families, and friends. We need to reach out to the greater Sacramento area to get every Muslim involved in such mobilization. We need to join hands as one block, in this age of communication technology, to put Islam in its proper place in our community..... Here comes the need for a strong and organized effort to achieve such goal. In the meantime, such a goal needs a strong community; and the strength of the community requires the devotion of each and every Muslim in it. It also requires the effective coordination of the activities of the various mosques to achieve unity, strength, and brotherhood.”
In the letter, the establishment of the new organization was announced. Its legal name is “Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims” with a beautiful acronym, SALAM. Its objective is to promote Islamic teachings, understanding, and unity among Muslims in the Sacramento area Community. It is officially incorporated in the State of California as a non-profit, religious, tax-exempt organization.
I concluded the letter with this statement: “All what SALAM needs to function effectively is the dedication of a small group of Sacramento residents who are motivated by a sense of responsibility, discipline, moderation, and team work; and who are willing to devote time, effort, and money to aggressively convey the activities of SALAM to the greatest number of people in the community.”
I strongly feel that the questions raised in 1987 have been positively addressed through the pivotal role that SALAM has played over the years. I also feel that the condition laid for SALAM to function effectively has been the mover behind how SALAM has performed its historical task for Islam and Muslims in our region. It is expected that with the same dedication and involvement of motivated individuals, SALAM will continue serving as a beacon for learning, worship, and social assembly for generations to come.
SALAM was founded to reach out and project Islam in its correct image, to be a moderate voice in our community, to be the home of each and every Muslim, to empower women as partners in building this center, to train young Muslims to be the future leaders, and to be an active part of Sacramento community at large. At the time of founding SALAM, there were two Masajid (mosques) in Sacramento: the Muslim Mosque Association on V Street and Masjid Annur in a small house on 14th Ave. Their activities were confined inside their premises. There was an urgent need for an organization to create new environment for Islam and Muslims and to be part of the community at large.
SALAM was established officially in February 1987. For 6 years, SALAM was functioning from a P.O. Box, renting facilities for family nights, speakers, Eid prayers and celebrations, and publishing a regular Newsletter, prepared and processed at my home.
It is always gratifying to reflect on the continuous efforts to develop this Islamic Center constructionally and operationally. With such reflection, many happy memories of working with various individuals and groups who put their marks on the strength of this Center come to mind. Since it is impossible to remember all of them to give each the proper gratitude, I decided to refrain from giving recognition to anyone or express, by name, my deepest appreciation to all the brothers, sisters, and youth who have supported this Center by all the means available to them since its inception. First, I probably will forget some names. Second, I know the rewards from their Creator are everlasting and better than any thanks from a brother and a friend.
Introduction: Why Did I Leave my Native Country?
Summer 1967 was a turning point in my life in Egypt. I was an Assistant Professor at Cairo University. My wife Rosalie was the university library administrator at the American University in Cairo. Both were happy in our positions until the 1967 defeat in the Egyptian-Israeli war which changed my outlook to living in my native country. In summer 1969, I decided to immigrate to the U.S.A., where I accepted the offer from California State University in Sacramento as Associate Professor effective September 1969.
A Mosque in Town!
I was very happy when I knew that Sacramento had a mosque downtown (V Street). It was the only mosque in Sacramento in 1969. I planned my teaching schedule to be free for the Friday prayer although the Khutbah was given in Urdu in those days. My relation continued with the V street Mosque for a good many years. My daughter Dija used to go to Sunday school after the construction of the new school facility. Together with many Arab-American friends, we went on Sundays and many afternoons to help in the gardening of the new school.
In November 1984, a small house was purchased to be Masjid Annur at 14th Ave. I supported it and helped in getting its property tax-exempt status. I started going to it for prayers because it was closer to my home and the university.
My Vision of the Needs of the Muslim Community:
The Sacramento area has been expanding significantly and the Muslim community has been corresponding to this expansion in greater proportion. Muslims reside throughout the Sacramento County and it was getting difficult for some to come to the existing two Masajid (mosques). In addition, while Islam transcends ethnic boundaries, the two local Masajid were ethnically oriented, and generally reached Muslims of the same ethnicity. I also felt that not much effort was done to reach out to the community at large to project Islam and Muslims in a friendly and favorable light to the media and to fellow Americans of other faiths. Creating a dialogue among members of other faiths was overdue.
In summer of 1986, I pondered about the above issues and affairs of local Muslims. I felt deeply that the community needed an Islamic Center, run by a group of professional Muslims who transcended ethnic boundaries. This would ideally present Islam in its true image of moderation and acceptance. I spent some times in prayers, seeking the guidance of Allah in this endeavor, and all my feelings were to go ahead. To be incorporated legally, the requirements of the State of California and the Internal Revenue Service were strictly observed. That was easy for me to do being a professor of Accounting and a CPA.
How the Name of SALAM Came into Being:
At the end of that summer, my wife Rosalie and I were driving to visit one of her relatives in Napa Valley. She shared with me her interest in correcting the negative stereotype about Islam and Muslims in the media and believed a course of action should be planned. In turn, I shared with her the plan to establish an Islamic Center to promote Islamic teaching, understanding and unity among all Muslims in our community regardless of their ethnicities. Such a Center should reach out to everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and cooperate with peoples of other faiths in our community. This will reflect the Islamic message, enhance our standing in the community, and thus enable us to exert influence in the society in which we live. We started thinking about a spiritual and catchy name, as an acronym. We thought of many names until we came up with SALAM which is one of the Arabic roots of Islam and it is mentioned 42 times in the Qur'an. We then started searching for words to stand for SALAM and came up with "Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims" as the legal name of the new Islamic Center.
I spent the fall of 1986 reading materials at the State Library on how to establish a Center. I wrote the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws in a way to avoid crisis situations that happened in some Masajid and Islamic centers. In writing those documents, I observed the requirements of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (pbuh). I did my best in drafting those documents to minimize any possibility for conflicts in managing the new Center. The management of SALAM is selected according to the Islamic principle of consultation from among those Muslims who have shown serious support to the Center and are willing to work as a team. In addition, the Articles of Incorporation are very broad to allow for establishing a variety of tax-exempt entities and projects under SALAM’s umbrella to meet future community needs. Each entity and project can have its own independent management and separate bank account without any further need to establish a new unit. Since SALAM, as a likely parent organization, is tax-exempt, its separate entities and projects will automatically be tax-exempt.
On December 22, 1986 I filed and signed the proper papers with the California State Department of Corporations and the Franchise Tax Board. On February 23, 1987 I received a letter of determination from the Franchise Tax Board that SALAM has been established as a religious, tax-exempt organization. I also filed and signed the necessary papers with the Internal Revenue Service and received similar letter of determination. Now that SALAM was legally established, it was time to announce it to the Muslim community in the Sacramento area.
The First Correspondence to the Community about SALAM:
On April 2, 1987 I mailed a four-page letter to the Muslim community informing them of the new organization. The letter outlined the management structure of SALAM as follows:
“SALAM is not a membership organization. It is open for the participation and involvements of every Muslim in the community regardless of national origin. There are no fees to participate in the activities of SALAM. Non-Muslims are also welcome to attend its activities in order to know the correct message of Islam.”
“The management of SALAM, as stated in its Bylaws, consists of:
- An Advisory Council whose function is to give advice to the Board of Trustees in making decisions.
- A Board of Trustees whose function is for making the decisions to run the organization.
- An Executive Director to oversee the execution of the decisions made by the Board of Trustees. I assumed the position of the Executive Director from day one.
- Various functional committees to help in the implementation of the activities of SALAM.”
The Dream that Occupied my Mind Then and Now:
I concluded the letter by putting my great hopes for our Muslim community in a dream!
“I dream to see the day that all Muslims in this community capitalize on the many things they have in common, and ignore the minor differences that may divide them. I dream to see the day that the leaders of the various Masajid (Mosques) in our community will join hands to coordinate the celebration of their religious holidays together, and will be able to agree jointly to have one start and one end for the month of Ramadan. I dream to see the day, when we perform the Eid’ prayers that all Muslims in this community will stand in one place as one block, at the same moment, and in one loud voice shouting Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Only then can we draw the attention of the people around us who will recognize our unity, strength, and existence. Once those dreams become true, then the claim can be made that we are practicing Islam as it should be practiced according to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (pbuh). The Qur'an says: ‘And hold you fast to Allah's bond, together, and do not disunite’ (3:103). Also Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in his Farewell Khutbah, stated: “O mankind, listen well to my words; learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.”
Before signing the letter, I said the following prayer:
“I pray to Allah to guide all of us to work unselfishly hard to achieve the above goals, and to bring the hearts and minds of all Muslims in this community closer together.”
Early Contributions of SALAM:
The reaction was favorable from the community in general. The first Advisory Council and Board of Trustees were multi-ethnic and their members were chosen from those who supported the new SALAM Center. The first Board of Trustees included: Dr. Atif Wardany, President, Br. Talib Madyun, Secretary and Dr. Arif Seyal, Chief Financial Officer. The first issue of SALAM’s Newsletter was published on April 2, 1987 and continued without interruption, until brother Rafat Alafranji started with SALAM’s Magazine in July 1996. The Newsletter has also been issued but is limited to inform the community with SALAM news, projects, and activities
SALAM activities were modest in nature since it did not have any place from which it can operate. We brought Muslim scholars to speak to the Muslim community at rented facilities. We established a dialogue with peoples of other faiths. We established good relations with the media and conducted interviews with TV stations and wrote a number of Islamic articles in The Sacramento Bee. We celebrated Eid’s holidays, catering to the children and youth to really make them feel the Eid occasion. In May, 1989 SALAM started a weekly TV Program called “Islam in Focus” on Sacramento Cable TV, the Religious Channel. In October 6th, 1989 Dr. Atif Wardany started SALAM’s Friday Family Night Program at the Interfaith Service Bureau Office 3720 Folsom Blvd. He and Sr. Badiaa Wardany were in charge of the program for ten years. Dr. Tousson and Sr. Geilan Toppozada followed in their footsteps and assumed the responsibility of coordinating the program also for another ten years. The program has been going on since then under different coordinators. It is a program that has provided something to each member of the Muslim family.
We brought the leaders of the local Mosques together to establish one criterion to unify our Islamic events and holidays. The Muslim community managed to work together and performed Eid prayers and celebrations at one place and at the same time for four consecutive Eids, starting with Eid-ul Fitr on Sunday, March 13, 1994. The Monday, March 14, 1994 issue of The Sacramento Bee wrote this headline on the cover page of the Metro Section, “Capital’s Muslims pray together”. Bill Lindelof, Bee Religion writer then, started the article by saying: “Muslims from Sacramento-area mosques met under the same roof for the first time Sunday as they celebrated one of the most important and joyous days on the Islamic calendar.” What brought up the Muslim community to perform Eid prayers and celebrations together for those four consecutive Eids was the agreement among the leaders of the Masajid at that time to follow ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) in its scientific approach to determine the Eid’s day. It was based on the calculation of the possible sighting of the moon in North America. What a wonderful and short experience we had during those two years, 1994 and 1995 of praying and celebrating the Eid together. This wonderfully unified experience was discontinued due to some disagreements among Imams in conducting the Eid prayers and in collecting donations to individual Masajid.
We led a team of organizers to conduct a fundraising event for Bosnian war victims. Because of SALAM good accounting system and the annual auditing of its financial statements, the organizing team decided to use SALAM for collecting the donations coming for the fundraising and for writing the checks to various recognized international relief organizations that had easy access to help the war victims.
On March 3, 1999, the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organization (COSVIO) was established to provide services to local area Masajid and Islamic organizations, coordinate activities among its members and enhance Islamic understanding among people of other faiths. In January 1999, Imam Loqman Ahmad of Masjid Ibrahim spoke at SALAM Friday Family Night Program on the importance of Muslim unity in Sacramento. A good discussion during the meeting encouraged those attended to form an organization to coordinate the efforts of Muslims and their Masajids. This led to the establishment of the Council two months later. SALAM has been an active member of the Council since then, and I served on the Council as its Public Relation Officer for 6 years starting March 1999 and its President for four years starting January 2001.
The first act of COSVIO was to issue a statement denouncing the burning of the three synagogues in Sacramento in June 1999 and to stand side-by-side with the Jewish community. I was the President of the Interfaith Service Bureau at that time and I led 300 clergy on the stage of the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium with more than 4000 persons in attendance in a solidarity event called “United We Stand”. During my remarks to the audience, I read the COSVIO statement and I also mentioned a statement that was echoed by TV stations and Newspapers for several days, “An attack on one place of worship is an attack on all places of worship”.
On the day of 9/11/2001 and in the aftermath, we met several times with law and order agencies for briefing and to be ready for any unpredictable events. We participated in several memorial services. SALAM held a special memorial service at La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael in September 24, 2001 for the victims of 9/11 attended by several interfaith leaders and we collected donations from several Masajid reached $ 17,000 and were handed to the Red Cross during the event. It was moving that many friends of the clergy visited SALAM Islamic Center to show their support for our community and to stand beside us in case of any harm that might occur to Muslims. Our efforts of reaching out to the Sacramento community at large and to the interfaith community paid off in their support of Muslims. Sacramento was the least in the nation in hate crimes.
For the first time in the history of Sacramento, sisters participated actively in SALAM activities and made presentations to the Friday Family Night Program audience. Both men and women were dressed modestly and sat in the same hall. All activities of SALAM have been financed by individual contributions. SALAM invested money and efforts in training Muslim youth and prepared them for leading roles in managerial positions. Both sisters and youth served on SALAM Board of Trustees and chaired committees.
The financial statements of SALAM have been audited by an independent CPA every year since its inception in 1987. It is a requirement in the By-Laws.
The Development of SALAM Property:
The Year 1990
Since the inauguration of SALAM, the donations and expenses were modest, just to cover the ongoing activities, such as paying rents for speakers, family nights, Eid prayers and celebrations, Newsletters, PO Box, postages, etc. After three years of operations with a building of our own, we started thinking of acquiring a piece of property for SALAM.
In October 1990 my wife Rosalie and I contributed $ 200,000 as seed money toward acquiring an Islamic Center for SALAM. I thought a number of families would follow suit in their contribution so we could establish the Center in a short time. During 1991/92, $ 25,000 was contributed toward the Center. Some members in SALAM’s management wanted to purchase anything, even a warehouse, with the funds available to start religious activities and worship. Others, including myself, wanted to start from scratch to build an Islamically-designed Center in a nice area and to function as a true Islamic Center that all Muslims would be proud of. My criterion for the quality of anything we buy and build was this: “the House of Allah must be better than the house of anyone of us.” Thus we had to wait until Allah so Wills.
The Year 1993 and 1994
Early in 1993, the Board of Trustees and the Executive Director wanted to test the Muslim community concerning their feeling toward establishing SALAM’s Islamic Center. On April 30, we held the first fund-raising dinner at one of the best hotels in town. I was apprehensive about how much contribution would be made that evening. Dr. Ahmad Sakr, a close friend since our graduate work at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in early 1960s, was the keynote speaker and fundraiser. To my pleasant surprise, contributions reached $ 35,000 and Br. Asghar Aboobaker came to my table and whispered in my ear saying: “I’ll match this evening’s contribution, dollar for dollar” That matching of funds made the total contributions to SALAM’s Islamic Center $ 70,000, the largest contribution to an Islamic cause in one event in the Sacramento history. The management of SALAM was pleasantly touched because of this community response. On the following day, I ran across Br. Asghar and I asked him what motivated him to make such a donation. He answered: “I have been pleased by the professional way SALAM is managed. Furthermore, SALAM has been the only Islamic Center in Sacramento that had consistently been conducting independent audit of its financial statements by a CPA every year.”
In May 1993, SALAM had $ 300,000 in contributions including the $ 200,000 my wife Rosalie and I contributed in 1990. Elation was the proper word to describe our feeling. We believed that we had the support of the community for the Islamic Center project. We started immediately looking for a piece of real estate property as a good site. On June 18, 1993, we closed the escrow on the purchase of a 2 1/2 acre piece of property with 2 houses on it for $325,000 for the SALAM Islamic Center. One of the houses, 4551 College Oak Dr., was being leased to the American River College as a Day Care Center for about $ 3,000 per month. We agreed to continue leasing it to them for 7 more years until they built their own. That monthly lease almost paid for the purchase price.
Acquiring this piece of property at College Oak Drive was a miracle; the price was excellent and the location was ideal because it is located in front of the biggest and well-known community college in Sacramento, American River College, in the North of Sacramento, far away from the locations of the existing two local Masajid, the V street Mosque in downtown, and Masjid Annur in the east of Sacramento, on 14th Ave., near 65th Blvd.
We did not lose any time. In October 1993, Br. Asghar & Sr. Nasreen Aboobaker with the help of Dr. Mahmoud and Sr. J. P. Eltorai started the new SALAM Weekend School and few Adult Education classes. The Friday Family Night Program also moved at the newly acquired property, the small house at 4531 College Oak Drive. We also started the tedious process of obtaining the “Use Permit” from the County of Sacramento to establish an Islamic Center with facilities for Islamic education, worship and social activities to attract youth and to build SALAM Community. Many Muslims volunteered to work on the detailed plans required by the Sacramento County for the Use Permit. We spent the remaining of the 1993 and 1994 working diligently with the County agencies to plan and implement what was needed. The plans were designed by Br. Rafat Alafranji, an Arab American architect. They were made to be implemented in three phases to go along with the availability of contributed funds. Late in 1994 we started planning for the hearing to be held by the County’s five members’ “Project Planning Commission” whose charge is to grant or deny use permits. We knew in advance that some neighbors were against the project. We had to plan for the hearings very carefully to counter any objections against granting us the Use Permit in an exclusive high class R-2 residential area. We hired a specialized company in obtaining use permits to work as a liaison between us and the Sacramento County.
The Years 1995-1996 (Planning and Construction of Phase I)
On January 9, 1995, the “Project Planning Commission” unanimously granted SALAM the Use Permit. This was done in spite of a number of neighbors spoke against the project. What a beautiful hearing it was! It was about diligent Muslim teamwork carefully planned under the guidance and blessing of Allah. Three well known religious leaders spoke on behalf of Muslims and SALAM; an orthodox Jew, a Catholic priest, and a Lutheran minister spoke convincingly in our favor. They were members on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Service Bureau of which I had also been a member, trying to reach out to work with members of the community at large to make them feel the presence of Muslims and Islam. American spouses of Muslim husbands spoke eloquently about how their children should have the same opportunity to learn about their religion as those from other faiths. Some neighbors articulated very well the rights of Muslims to have their own place of worship. We established good working relations with the American River College and one of its officials spoke on our behalf during the meeting. I was so happy to listen and see Muslims plan and organize their efforts, and get things done by following the Qur’anic verse which states: “And Say; Work, and Allah will surely see your work, and His Messenger, and the believers...” (9:105)
The beauty of being involved in this type of Islamic project is that there is no end in sight. You finish one stage to find another one in the waiting, and you are very anxious to proceed. This is the true feeling of every Muslim on the SALAM management team. We did not spare much time to enjoy the granting of the Use Permit. We started right away to get the necessary building permits for constructing Phase I. It is another lengthy process to meet all the requirements for construction. That process took the whole year of 1995. Again, many Muslims volunteered with time, money, and effort for the project.
The work on Phase I started in June 1996 and was completed at the end of summer. The cost of this phase exceeded $ 250,000. We were $ 40,000 short, but two supporting families loaned the amount to SALAM. We had an open house on September 8, 1996 to show the Muslim community and our neighbors the new look of SALAM property with the new front-parking facilities, landscaping, green iron fence with two gates, and a new basketball field for our kids.
What a blessing from Allah that the completion of Phase I coincided with the 10th Anniversary of SALAM.
We purchased a 36 by 60 square feet trailer for the Weekend Islamic School at the end of 1996. Later in 1997, we converted this trailer to a temporary Masjid and also to house a new modest library to be used by Muslims and the public, mostly on Sundays when the Weekend School was in session. We purchased a second trailer with the same size exclusively for the expanding Weekend School.
We opened the temporary Masjid for Fajr and Isha prayers in October 1997. A month later, we opened the Masjid for the first time for Friday prayer on November 7, 1997. I assumed the role of Imam until we hired Br. Mohammad AbdelAzeez in June 16, 2005 as the Director of Religious and Social Services.
The Years 1997-2002 (Planning and Construction of Phase II)
No time was spared to start planning for the construction of Phase II. This Phase of SALAM Islamic Center is a multi-purpose building to be used for Islamic education for our children and for religious and social meetings to accommodate for the needs of our community. It also included all the parking places built around the new building. The efforts for fundraising started right away through the annual dinner banquets in October of every year. By the end of the year 1999, SALAM has raised over a $ 1,000,000. The decision was made to get in touch with contractors, architects, and civil engineers for designing the detailed construction plans.
The Project Team for the construction of Phase II consisted of Br. M. Asghar Aboobaker as Project Manager and Br. Rafat Alafranji as the Master Plan Designer of the project. The Interior Design Team was Br. M. Asghar & Sr. Nasreen Aboobaker, Br. Rafat Alafranji, Sr. Lisa Bates, and Dr. Suzana Malik. The Project Committee included Br. M. Asghar Aboobaker, Dr. Metwalli B. Amer and Dr. Mahmoud Eltorai.
The Board of Trustees selected the construction team. The contractor was Buntain Construction, Inc. The architect was Gordon Rogers & Company, Inc. The civil engineering was JTS Engineering Consultants, Inc. The plans for construction started early in 2000 and it took almost a year to get the detailed construction plans approved by the County of Sacramento.
The actual construction of the Phase II building and parking started in April 2001 and was completed in early 2002. During the construction, SALAM Weekend School moved to Davies Hall at the American River College. It was memorable to see the construction of Phase II on a daily basis after we perform Fajr prayer at the trailer, our temporary Masjid.
The first function in the hall of the newly built Phase II was the prayer and celebration of Eid-ul Adha on Saturday, February 23, 2002. That was the DAY for the dedication of the new building. It was a graceful feeling to use this new elegant building for the first time for one of the two holiest days in the Muslim Calendar, Eid-ul Adha. With deep appreciation to Allah and with great feeling of internal happiness, I led the Eid prayer and delivered the Eid Khutbah.
The size of the building is 16,000 square feet with two stories and a multipurpose hall, conference room and classrooms in the two stories for Islamic education. The architecture plan of the building is a tasteful combination of East and West. It borrows the Renaissance's window rhythm of arched and square windows on the first and second floor respectively and banded with exterior colored stripes reminiscent of the Middle Eastern Islamic architecture of the Mumlook Dynasty era. The building is topped with metal green roof representing the popular Islamic color and yet projecting contemporary California architectural style. The interior style including skylight and color scheme is from present era California buildings.
The building is utilized for SALAM’s Weekend School. It has seven large classrooms, which are divided to make up into 13 smaller classrooms. There is a large conference room to be used for Friday Family Night programs and meetings. It has a room to temporarily house SALAM library until its permanent place is built in Phase III.
The building has a 3,500 sq ft. hall with state of the art conferencing and presentation facilities for 484 people and dining capacity for 300. SALAM has purchased beautiful round dining tables and comfortably padded chairs for the hall various uses. The facilities are available for religious and social events with a full commercial kitchen. They are available for educational conferences and seminars with breakout conference rooms available.
The cost of the building, parking and landscaping reached $ 2,500,000. This amount was made available by private contributions except $ 700,000 was obtained through interest free loans from few members of our community. These loans were paid back during 2002-2004. Several Muslim families contributed the cost of classrooms and offices as Perpetual Charity (Sadaqah Jariah). The M. Asghar Aboobaker family contributed the largest amount to cover the cost of the Multi-purpose Hall of $ 500,000.
We did not waste any time after the building became functional and operational and we received the Certificate of Occupancy. The Board called it SALAM Community Center, in reference to the multi-purpose hall which is open to SALAM community. The Weekend School moved to the new Community Center on March 17th, 2002. Surely, it was nice to come back home again to SALAM new facilities after almost one year of renting the facilities at the American River College. An Afternoon Islamic School, teaching our children Qur’anic reading, Arabic language and Islamic studies, started on April 16, 2002, Monday through Thursday, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The Afternoon School stopped by the end of Summer 2003 because it was hard on students to come from their public or private schools, during the school year, to resume religious studies while they have to work on their daily homework.
SALAM appointed for the first time a paid part-time Administrative Assistant who worked at SALAM every day. The Assistant was handling the facilities, office work, and other responsibilities. SALAM has also a modest bookstore, managed from the new office in the new building.
By opening the new Community Center, the people at SALAM are contributing to the Islamic education and the social well being of the Muslim community as well as Sacramento Community at large. People of other faiths are welcome to visit SALAM Community Center and attend SALAM educational programs.
I wish to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Management of SALAM, to express my deepest appreciation, with sincerity in my heart, thoughtfulness in my mind, and a strong feeling of the presence of Allah in our work, to all those who have supported this new Islamic landmark, the new SALAM Community Center. Special thanks are due to Br. M. Asghar Aboobaker and Br. Rafat Alafranji for their managing the construction of Phase II project.
Broadening the Management of SALAM
When SALAM was founded in 1987, there were crises in the management of the two Masajid in Sacramento at that time. To avoid similar crises and to secure continuity in the administration of SALAM, the management followed the model of non-profit, tax-exempt organizations in this country. The Executive Director had a wide range of duties and responsibilities, similar to those of the Chief Executive Officer of a company. In the absence of the Board of Trustees, he was given the authority in the Bylaws to act in the Board’s capacity. This authority secured the continuity of running the daily affairs of the Islamic Center effectively during a conflict between the Board and the Executive Director. This happened once when the Board resigned in August 1998 due to personal frictions. The Executive Director assumed the responsibility of managing SALAM until March 1999 when a new Board was installed. In addition, the Executive Director had much say in the slate of the Board of Trustees to be submitted to the Advisory Council for approval each two years. As you can see, the Executive Director was much protective of this young Islamic Center on the expense of broader and more consultative management. That proved to be a wise decision during those early years of building up SALAM and securing its continuity.
Now SALAM is a stronger and more viable Islamic Center. It does not depend on one person. It has many stakeholders who are heavily involved in its activities and well-being. It is time for SALAM to broaden its management and develop a large base of supporters in a new attempt to expand its community.
During the second half of 2002, the Board of Trustees and the Executive Director spent considerable time in serious consultation on how to open up SALAM for broader management and broader base. We reviewed some bylaws of other Islamic Centers with longer existence. We invited Dr. Yahia Abdul Rahman in September 2002 to spend a whole day in a management retreat in a private room at a hotel. We went through our current management model and a draft of the proposed new By-Laws outlining the new model of managing SALAM Islamic Center. After careful review, the Board of Trustees adopted the new By-Laws on October 28, 2002. This action achieved the opening up of management and the opening up for those who wish to be closely associated and actively involved with the SALAM Islamic Center.
The Advisory Council met for the last time on Saturday, November 2, 2002. The Board of Trustees and the Executive Director updated the Advisory Council on SALAM activities and finances. The new By-Laws were distributed during the meeting to the members of the Advisory Council who were encouraged to be active members in the new management.
The new By-Laws require the expansion of the Board of Trustees into nine elected members. It opened its doors to four types of members. Active members have the right to vote in General Membership meetings. Associate members have the right to vote after one year from their admission to membership. Life Time Members are those who contributed $5000 or more to SALAM after July 2000, the beginning of the construction plans for Phase II. Honorary members are selected by the Board of Trustees because of their support and services to SALAM, but they do not vote and they do not have to be Muslims. A nominating committee nominated 15 Muslims to the General Membership to vote for 9 Muslims to serve on the first expanded Board of Trustees.
Under the new By-Laws there are provisions for the appointment of an Executive Director to take care of the administrative affairs of SALAM and a Director of Religious and Social Services to take care of its religious and social affairs. In addition, a host of standing and functional committees were added to run the affairs of the Islamic Center
The new By-Laws became effective on February 8, 2003 and the new system of management became effective on Sunday, the 9th of February 2003 when the General Membership met for the first time. During that meeting, 9 members were elected to constitute the first Board of Trustees under the new management structure. On Monday, February 17, 2003, the old and new Boards met for an orientation meeting and to elect the new officers, the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson, the Secretary, the Treasurer and the Parliamentarian. The position of President of the Board of Trustees was replaced by the new title, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
The new Board has made history by being the first to be elected by the people of SALAM, from the people of SALAM, and for the People of SALAM. Allah and the stakeholders of SALAM have entrusted the new nine elected trustees with this Islamic Center. The eyes of many must be watching them during this first critical year of the new Board.
The new Board of Trustees elected Dr. Metwalli Amer to be the first Chairperson of the Board, after managing the affairs of SALAM as its Executive Director since its inception in 1987.
The Year 2004:
On Friday, March 5, 2004, we started praying Friday prayers at the hall of the new Community Center. The trailer became small to house all Muslims coming for Friday prayer at SALAM Islamic Center. We started a national search for a Director of Religious and Social Services by placing ads in the Islamic Horizon and the Minaret Magazine in May and June of 2004. The Board of Trustees assumed the duties of the position of the Executive Director to conserve money to pay back money we borrowed to complete the construction of Phase II.
The Year 2005:
The Appointment of the First Director of Religious and Social Services for SALAM:
On June 16, 2005, Br. Mohammad AbdelAzeez, joined SALAM as its Director of Religious and Social Services. He assumed the role of Imam. His appointment culminated a one-year national search which brought to SALAM six applicants for interview out of 10 applied for the position from various states. Imam Azeez philosophy and that of SALAM in serving Islam and Muslims are very compatible. He and SALAM has been a good match since his appointment.
SALAM Elementary School and Pre-School:
SALAM Elementary School started on September 6, 2005 in the SALAM Community Center. SALAM Pre-School started on November 7, 2005. Information about the Schools is listed on SALAM Website.
The Years 2005-2010 (Planning and Construction of Phase III)
Phase III is the Islamically-designed and functionally focused “Masjid and Center for Higher Islamic Learning” with 22,000 square feet total space. As the Chairman of the Board of the Trustees during the 2005/2006 term, I spent some time searching for a dedicated and competent person to lead Phase III Development Committee. Br. Javed Iqbal just recently retired from his job at Intel and I know that he is a hard working, non-political, and highly competent and reliable person. I invited him for lunch in March 2006 and asked him to lead Phase III project. After some arm twisting, he agreed. The Board approved my recommendation to appoint Br. Javed the Chair of the Phase III Development Committee and to be the Project Manager.
The Charter of Phase III Development Committee was written by the Committee Chair and was approved by the Board of Trustees on April 3, 2006. It is to manage all aspects of phase-III building development through its completion in an independent and timely manner and in full consultation with the community and the SALAM Board of Trustees. The committee consisted of four members: Br Javed Iqbal (Chair), Br. Farrukh Saeed, Dr. Metwalli B. Amer, and Imam Mohammad AbdelAzeez. Phase III Committee membership included various sub-committees, spawned as needed, at its discretion. The Committee selected Br. Muthana Ibrahim to be the Architect of the Project on April 4, 2006.
To design the functional floor plans, the Committee started with exploring the functions and activities of an optimal Islamic Center to meet the various needs of Islamic worship, learning and social services for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. From such an exploration to various needs, the Committee has drafted two floor plans for the new building:
First floor: SALAM Center for Higher Islamic Learning
The Center occupies the entire first floor of about 12,000 sq. ft to realize the following vision:
The Center positions itself as a preeminent source for Islamic learning by providing extensive resources of Islamic knowledge and modern delivery methods for all members of the community regardless of religion or gender.
The Center, through its extensive educational programs, promotes Islamic learning at intellectually higher levels based on research, concepts, analysis, contemplation, and critical thinking.
The Center fills a growing need for providing authentic Islamic knowledge by establishing close affiliations with various educational and religious institutions to sponsor or support a variety of educational programs.
The Center employs ijtihad methods as a processor reasoning in order to find Islamic answers to contemporary issues and promote them for adoption by the community and the governing political structures as a matter of policy.
The Center develops and provides curriculum resources to area teachers in private and public schools and to other educational institutions through curriculum resource services.
The Center reaches out to local colleges to establish joint academic programs where faculty and students can visit SALAM and its facilities to learn, first hand, about Islamic teachings.
The Center receives groups such as congregations and school and college classes to visit the Masjid and the Center. We conduct tours of the facilities for them and answer their questions about Islam and Muslims. Some of the groups visit on Fridays to observe Friday prayer service with us.
College students (Muslims & Non-Muslims) are encouraged to enroll in special projects and internships for credit in their colleges and be supervised by SALAM knowledgeable personnel. For instance, CSUS has the following lists available to students for up to 3 units of credit:
· 195 Internship: supervised work experience with outside organizations
· 196 Experimental Offerings
· 199 Special Problems
· 295 internship
· 296 Experimental Offerings
· 299 Special Problems
The Center conducts a series of lectures and seminars in the new Auditorium on various Islamic topics directed at enhancing Islamic education and resolution of issues through Islamic perspective.
The Center alters as necessary the Islamic educational plans for SALAM community, including the plans for adults, men and women, youth and children, through a variety of training classes.
The Center consists of the following key facilities to realize the above goals:
The heart and the brain of the center is the library which occupies over 1900 sq ft of floor space. The Library is planned to provide thousands of books, CD’s, DVD’s, and video tapes. It is planned to be equipped with an electronic catalog, computer work stations and audio/video stations, in addition to desks for circulation and reference services. It is planned to be furnished with tables for reading, individual study carrels, and a group study room. The library is planned to be electronically networked to access national and global information from resource and research centers. The online catalog is planned to be Internet accessible.
The library’s learning environment is in a quiet area of the Center in order to encourage study and research.
The auditorium has seating capacity for about 200 in auditorium format. It is the state-of-the art facility with 12x16 ft stage area, well equipped with latest audio/ visual, lighting and acoustic technology. The Auditorium caters to the growing need for variety of community programs such as conferences, seminars, panel discussions, large group lectures, town hall meetings, and Islamic programs. Additionally the auditorium also serves as a source of revenue through rental income.
The Conference Room
The Center has a Conference Room for meetings and/or workshops.
The Community Lounge:
The Center has a Community Lounge to provide refreshments for conferences, seminars and meetings. The Lounge includes youth recreation center with table games, ping pong tables, etc.
The Book and Gift Store
A 450 sq ft facility is configured as an Islamic Book and Gift Store, open to the community at large. It is intended to be operated professionally and is slated to be a significant source of revenue for SALAM. The demand for Islamic materials has grown significantly among both Muslims and non-Muslims and this facility is planned to fill that need.
Special emphasis has been placed to attract the youth to this center by providing venues for socializing and recreation along with a multitude of educational activities and well equipped fitness center. III
Second floor: SALAM Masjid
The Masjid is located on the second floor and occupies the entire surface area, which is about 8000 sq ft. It consists of the Main Prayer Hall along with all the wudu facilities for men and women. There are two observation areas for press and non-Muslim guests on each side of the Main Prayer Hall. The second floor location of the Masjid provides the seclusion and spiritual environment desirable for worship and contemplation. The circular shaped Main Prayer Hall, open to a 10ft dome, houses about 500 people. Nine verses from Surat Fatir (The Qur’an 35:27-35) are designed on the soffit of the circular shaped in a beautiful calligraphy. The interior décor of the hall reflects Islamic architecture with a mihrab, and a minbar. The wudu and shoe storage areas for men and women are well thought out for an efficient flow of people in and out the hall. There are two entrances to the second floor on each side of the Main Prayer Hall. Each entrance has an elevator and a set of stairs. The Masjid is equipped with modern audio/video and networking technology. It can be virtually expanded electronically to other areas of SALAM campus if needed on events such as Adhan, Eid prayers, Khutab, etc.). It can broadcast to the community via the internet.
The “SALAM Masjid and Center for Higher Islamic Learning” are open to all Muslims and to all people of other faiths to meet their needs for worship, for learning and for various social activities. If you see and examine the floor plans, you will find out that they are the most beautiful and sophisticated plans in many places, with a dome on the top. One Minaret is planned to be added to the building, at its southeast corner, at a later date. The base of the Minaret is already built as part of Phase III construction.
Phase III of the SALAM Islamic Center is a place for worship, education and spiritual uplifting. It is a site to connect with Allah and to seek knowledge of the Islamic faith. It is a source for nurturing the mind, the soul, and the body and is open for everybody seeking serenity and internal peace. Phase III completes SALAM Islamic Center, a Center that is designed to be a role model for others to follow in the American society.
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of SALAM (1987-2007)
The year 2007 coincided with the 20th anniversary of SALAM. It also coincided with the completion of the architect work and detailed floor plans for Phase III. The architect plans were ready to be submitted to the county for approval by December 15, 2007. They were ready to be submitted to contractors for bids. After reviewing the bids, the Development Committee selected ASE General Contractors, Inc. whose president is Br. Abdul S. Esmail.
Landmark Culmination of SALAM 20th Anniversary:
We concluded our celebrations of SALAM 20th anniversary by the fall fundraising banquet, held on Saturday, November 3, 2007. It was a miracle. We raised $ 1,554,000, the largest amount ever raised. I was pleasantly thankful to Allah and humbly serene while reflecting on what happened during the fundraising evening. Right before the fundraising, Br. Bassam Dahduli came to the podium to share his moving story with those who attended the banquet. 15 years earlier, he could not pay his house mortgage. However, whenever he came to SALAM to pray Friday prayer, he paid whatever cash he had in his pocket, and Allah has given back to him in multiples. He came to realize that in his practice of charitable giving that the more he gives, the more Allah gives him back in multiples. Allah has given him from His bounties to make him a millionaire.
During the banquet, Br. Bassam challenged the audience to match his contribution that evening of half a million dollars if five people contributed $ 100,000 each. His challenge energized the audience, indeed. This was in addition to the one million he pledged a year earlier, to pay for the cost of the prayer hall.
Six charitable Muslims pledged $ 100,000 each that night, and lived up to the challenge. Others followed in giving with various amounts.
SALAM has launched the drive to solicit contributions for the construction of Phase III starting with the Spring Fundraising banquet of June 2005. By November 3, 2007 banquet, close to $ 3,500,000 were raised out of $ 4,500,000, the initial cost of construction.
After the banquet ended, I went home trying to get some sleep, but I could not. So, I got up and wrote this heart-felt letter and mailed it to the donors and supporters of SALAM. Here are my reflections:
Sunday, November 04, 2007 (2:00 am)
To all those who contributed last night to build the “Masjid & Center for Higher Islamic Learning” at SALAM Islamic Center:
Assalamu Alaikum السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Last night was not an ordinary night. Last night, the angels of Allah surrounded our fundraising meeting. Last night the Hand of Allah was moving the pens of those who wrote the checks, the pledges, or gave cash in the cause of Allah.
What was touching last night were new phenomenon especially among the youth and young Muslims beside other marvels.
Of course, the generous brother Bassam Dahduli challenged those attended the fundraising banquet to match their contributions up to half a million dollars,
All those charitable givers who lived up to the challenge by contributing in various amounts, between hundred of thousand as the brother required, or down to just a hundred dollars, by those whose hearts were softened by Allah and immensely enjoyed what they gave to build His Masjid.
Muslim children and youth, coming to the podium to hand, with their angelic hands, cash notes and checks in multiples of small amounts of money, between a hundred to five hundred dollars,
Seeing young Muslims who joined SALAM Weekend School after it started in October 1993 contributing back to the place where they first learned to say “Praise to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds” ألحمد لله رب العالمين
Seeing the Muslim Women Network at SALAM presenting a collective check to help in building the House of Allah
A young girl student, at SALAM Weekend School, donated her small jewelers to build the Masjid to find Br. Hakmat Lababedy putting the words of the Qur’an into action, buying her small jewelers for a $ 1000 on the spot and gave the jewelers back to the young student. “Is there any reward for good but good?” (55:60)
هل جزاء الإحسان إلا الإحسان؟
Last night Allah moved many hearts and hands to give $ 1,554,000, the largest that was ever raised in one night in the last 20 years in the life of this young and vibrant Islamic Center. It was as if Allah was saying: Here is My Gift from My sincere charitable givers who lent me money tonight on the occasion of SALAM 20th Anniversary, to help you build My House at SALAM Islamic Center!
Let everyone who contributed last night be assured that the angels who surrounded the meeting last night recorded whatever you gave in your book of good deeds, and you should also be rest assured that Allah shall give it back to you and your family in multiples and in various ways. This is your legacy and this is your Sadaqah Jariah (Perpetual Charity).
With God's appreciation to everyone who has made the vision and dream come true last night.
Your appreciative brother,
Metwalli Amer, Chair
The Groundbreaking Ceremony of Phase III
With $ 3,500,000 in cash and pledges available for the construction, the Board of Trustees decided to go ahead with the construction. On March 29, 2008, the Groundbreaking Committee organized an outstanding event where more than 150 people attended. The small house and the trailer were already removed and the ground was cleaned and flattened for the occasion. The contractor brought in 12 shovels and 12 hard white construction hats with SALAM green logos on them. Teams of twelve brothers and sisters took turns for breaking the ground in straight even lines with the white hats on their heads and the new shovels in their hands. It was an enjoyable seen with everyone happy for the occasion of getting ready for the construction. After the groundbreaking, the invited guests went inside the hall of SALAM Community Center for lunch and few went to the podium to reflect on their happy memories about the role they played at SALAM or their recollection of what others did for SALAM.
The construction of Phase III (SALAM Masjid & Center for Higher Islamic Learning) started in full gear. The land was cleaned and was ready. The slab was poured on September 8, 2008 (Ramadan 8, 1429). The steel pillars to carry the dome and the second floor were erected in November, 2008. During 2009, the structural framing, the closing of the walls, and the placing of the foundation of the Dome on top of the Masjid were completed. We had a special permit from the county to pray the Taraweeh prayer during the 2009 month of Ramadan in the new multi-purpose hall of the new building. Imam Azeez entertained the Ramadan worshippers by sharing the stories of the prophets during the short talk every night between the Taraweeh prayers. And of course we had Iftar every night at SALAM Community Center. We really were spoiled during that holy month of Ramadan which coincided with part of the months of August and September of 2009. It was the most spiritually enjoyable Ramadan, we ever had
The 2008/2009 financial melt-down has impacted the pace of construction of Phase III due to the slowdown in the payment of some big pledges receivable. Construction has continued, but on a slow pace. The Board of Trustees understandably decided to borrow money in order not to disrupt the construction; otherwise, it would have been a great loss if we completely stopped the construction. The Board managed to get a construction line of credit of $ 2,600,000. This practice of borrowing was not new to SALAM. We did borrow $ 700,000 during the construction of Phase II and we paid them back from the fundraising banquets in 2 years after the completion of the construction.
In spite of the slowdown, the construction of Phase III was completed by the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan of the year 1431. We used the new Masjid for the Friday prayer for the first time on August 13, 2010 which was the 3rd day of Ramadan. The new Masjid was full and the backflow of worshippers prayed in the multi-purpose hall in the first floor (the auditorium and the 2 lecture halls combined). It was a moving experience. The dream came true! A new Masjid was built in Sacramento!
We used the new Masjid for the five daily prayers as well the Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan. On Friday, September 10, 2010, Shawwal 1, 1431, we prayed Eid-ul Fitr in two shifts for the first time to accommodate for the ever increasing number of SALAM worshipers. In each shift, both the new Masjid and the multi-purpose hall were used to accommodate for the large number of worshipers.
Certificate of Occupation:
The certificate of occupation for the new “SALAM Masjid and Center For Higher Islamic Learning” was obtained from the county on October 25, 2010.
The Grand Opening:
After a lot of planning and preparation by the Grand Opening Committee, headed by Dr. Anne Kjemtrup, the new facilities were opened for Sacramento public on Friday, April 29, 2011 for the VIPs, and on Saturday, April 30, 2011 for the public. Teams for guides were on hand to lead the groups of visitors around the new facilities explaining the architecture of the new building and the functions of its parts. A video of the construction history was also shown to the guests. After each tour, the group enjoyed ethnic refreshments at the new community lounge.
The Grand Opening culminated the construction efforts over 2 ½ years of labor of love through the dedication of so many people who have enjoyed working to make the House of Allah at SALAM a towering monument in Northern California! It is the pride of the Muslim community in terms of moderation, openness, accessibility, and multi-ethnicity.
Word about the Minaret:
Phase III Committee did not consider building a minaret as part of its original plans. During the construction, an interest in building a minaret was advanced by many Muslims since it has been a symbol for Masajid especially in Muslim countries. Some went as far as to argue that there should be four minarets, one at each corner. Others were critical of using money for building just a symbol instead of using the money to make the building functional through providing furniture, equipments, educational & Islamic materials, hiring staff to administer various functions, etc. Finally, the Board agreed with the recommendation of Phase III Committee to build one minaret at the southeast corner of the building. The cost of the minaret will be financed by individual contributions and not from the funds designated for construction. The base of the Minaret was already planned and built during the building construction.
Word about SALAM PO Box and its original phone at my home:
On Monday, February 9, 2009, I cancelled SALAM phone number at my home which was the first phone I installed to run its affairs since its inception in 1987. Its number was (916) 451-7650. On February 26, 2009, I also cancelled its PO Box 19905 which was used for SALAM correspondence also since its inception.
What makes SALAM unique?
First: SALAM has transcended the tensions of ethnic diversity. Our People come from all geographical origins and ethnic backgrounds and work together in harmony and understanding.
Second: SALAM has transcended sectarianism. Whenever we are asked whether our center is a Sunni or a Shiite Masjid; our response is that this is simply a “Muslim” Masjid.
Third: SALAM has transcended the gender question. Sisters are very active and highly involved at our Center. They serve on the Board of Trustees and Chairs of various committees.
Fourth: SALAM has transcended the immigrant mentality. We are an American Masjid in the true sense of the word and we no longer consider ourselves foreigners. Our mission is to send down the root of the Islamic tree into the heart of America.
Fifth: SALAM has transcended the “interfaith “taboo. We reach out to the public at large through inter-religious dialogue and our association with civic and grassroots organizations. SALAM has been a pioneer in this vital effort since its inception in1987, an endeavor that protected the community from the post 9-11 backlash.
Sixth: SALAM has transcended the unnatural separation between worldly and otherworldly activities in traditional Masajids. We feel that the viable Masjid must cater to the needs of the Muslim individual, be they spiritual, social, educational. SALAM has been a beacon of this balance since its inception.
Seventh: SALAM is a professionally run organization with established Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and Statement of Principles to guide those entrusted to manage the Islamic Center on a daily basis. It is open for membership which elects a Board of Trustees to manage the affairs of SALAM. Its financial statements are prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles and audited annually by an independent Certified Public Accountant. The board delegates tasks and projects to standing and functional committees, which rely on the help of volunteers to accomplish their missions. There are more than 100people involved in the management of SALAM.
Eighth: SALAM envisions a Religious and a Learning Center where the diverse Muslim community and their children as well as prospective users from the Sacramento Valley Community at large gather to learn, worship, celebrate and socialize. This Islamic Center shall be a beacon of refuge and peace, whose architectural integrity will shelter and nourish each individual soul. There is a place at SALAM for young and old, males and females, whites and blacks, and for Muslims and non-Muslims.
Conclusion: Passing the Torch:
In 25 years, SALAM has grown in multiples, thanks to the many generous contributions of many of its donors and supporters. We came along way when I used to spend a lot of time on the phone recruiting people to serve on the Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees. Now we receive requests from Muslims wishing to volunteer to serve. With this attitude, SALAM no longer depends on one person or a group of persons. The torch has been passed to a group of young American Muslims, not ethnocentric although belonging to many ethnicities, dedicated to serve Islam and the Muslim community through this vital American Islamic Center. Thanks to Allah for inspiring many dedicated Muslim professionals to work for His cause. I expect one of those Muslims will write about the achievements of Muslims through this young Center, SALAM, in the years to come.
May Allah bring us together as a community of associated Muslims, give us the vision to realize the importance of SALAM projects to the Islamic education of our children and to their children, provide us with the urge to pay Zakah dues to purify and bless that which Allah has entrusted to us, and grant us the means and the strength to accomplish the Muslims’ will in our generation, in the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. Amen.
With God's guidance and blessings,
Metwalli B. Amer
Co-founder of SALAM