Khaled AlmaeenaKhaled Almaeena

It was reported last Sunday that after several complaints concerning administration and finance and several other irregularities, some offices of dawah (the act of preaching Islam) and irshad (guidance) have been closed especially those offices dealing with communities. A number of recommendations have been made, including the ending of both the collection of funds and the opening of extra offices in residential and commercial areas. The public strongly supports this move. I think that putting such offices on a tight leash is very important. Nobody knows what is going on inside such places and who the people are who are teaching new converts about Islam. In this age of extremism and terrorism, we have to be extremely cautious. I have personally had several unsatisfactory encounters with those associated with such offices. A few years ago while going to a mosque near my father’s house, a group of five Filipinos asked me where the nearest mosque was located. I told them to accompany me. On the way, I asked them how long they had been Muslims. The average of the five was 17 days. However, their questions shocked me. One asked me whether I was secular or liberal. Another told me that we have to be careful of other Muslim sects and he named a few. I asked him why? And he said the “sheikh” had told him about this. The youngest of the five said that all women who do not cover their faces will go to hell! Well done, office of dawah and irshad! Extremism and hatred had been planted in the hearts of these five new Muslims. Who knows whether another sheikh may ask them to go and blow themselves up in the name of Islam. These are naive people. I was very concerned and spoke to someone who had connections with dawah and irshad. He just listened and said nothing. It is clear that we must keep a watch on such organizations so that they are not used by those who wish to further their extremist agendas. — Reprinted with permission of the Saudi Gazette and Khaled Almaeena. The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena