Driving while Black, Brown, Red or Green

July 16, 2016

I condemn in the strongest terms use of excessive force by many police department in the United States.  Therefore my comments should in no way be taken that I condoning the actions of the Police Department or the grand jurys in the deaths of some many Black lives.  There is a book recently written by a young man in my community but I think every young black man and apply to their lives if they want to thrive in America.

my father used to tell us when you know who you’re dealing with act accordingly.


Here are some sample questions. I included [my thoughts] in brackets to show where I am going with the question:

– What is your advice to limit the chances of getting pulled over?
[Head/brake lights in working order, etc, NEVER speeding, ALWAYS stop at signal lights/stop signs]

– What are the must haves of driving?
[Tags, registration, driver’s license, insurance, should NEVER be allowed to expire, etc. If you don’t have it DO NOT DRIVE]

– If pulled over how should one behave if one is pulled over?
[pull over immediately, roll down all four windows to show what is in the car, hands on stirring wheel, be polite]

– What is your advice for AFTER getting a ticket?
[SHOW UP FOR COURT!!! PAY THE TICKET!!! This is how many enter the system]

– What is your advice to limit (note: not stop, but LIMIT) any proking on the street?
[i.e., dress and appearance, keeping ID]

– Any advice you have for dealing with law enforcement in one’s home (i.e., you call them/potential domestic dispute)?
[keep ID on you, remain calm]

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله – peace be upon you
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik Ibn WR Seale

Dr. Sulayman Nyang Update

April 2, 2016

Brother Akmal wrote (April 24th 2016):


Dear Believers,

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu wa maghfiratuh! Today I visited Dr. Sulayman Nyang and Quasim Williams. Dr. Nyang is still at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. However, he is not on life support or in ICU. Seventeen year old Qausim is still across the street at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital.
Alhamdulillah, Dr. Nyang is in a private room on a regular patient wing (4C room 3). He still has a trach tube in so he is unable to speak. He is quiet aware; while I spoke to him he blinked his eyes. As I was leaving I greeted him with ‘As salaamu alaikum’ and he returned the greeting – his lips moved – mouthing ‘wa alaikum as salaam’! Alhamdulillah! He has a long recover to go but he is well on his way! May Allah (SWT) bless him with a complete recovery! Ameen!

☮ Peace Salaam سلام : Dr Nyang update: Alhamdulilah his wife reports that he is able to comprehend instructions and showing improvement but still in critical condition. Still not accepting visitors. Please continue to pray for him.

NPR StoryCorp: Muslims need to share our stories

March 31, 2016

I am forwarding an email that I received requesting assistance from the manager of the outreach team for NPR’s StoryCorps. For those of you who are not familiar, StoryCorps is essentially an oral history project–they collect life histories of ordinary Americans of all sorts of backgrounds for broadcast and archiving at the Library of Congress. They are apparently preparing for an upcoming mobile tour, and would like to reach out to our community for volunteers to share their stories. This is an opportunity for each of us to contribute something to the telling of our own collective history.

I am including the email sent to me from Ms. Gutierrez, which includes her contact information–please contact her directly if you would like to volunteer, or if you have any questions. Please feel free to tell your friends and families. Anyone can do this.

Ma salaam,


Jesse Gutierrez <jgutierrez@storycorps.org>

Greetings Ms. Auston,

My colleague Liyna Anwar shared your contact information with me. I want to start by saying thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences during the StoryCorps panel on diverse representations of Muslim and Arab Americans post 9/11. This was a great learning opportunity for me. I truly appreciate your time and insight. In particular, the reminder that not all Muslim’s are of Arab or Middle Eastern descent. I think we tend to overlook or forget that fact. Thank you for the reminder.

As manager of the outreach team for the StoryCorps Mobile Tour, I work on the engagement strategies for each city that we visit. During each stop we focus our efforts on creating partnerships with organizations that work within diverse communities. The African American and the Muslim communities are both communities that we always try to engage. If you care to share any contacts or make suggestions on who we should contact for our upcoming stops, we would greatly appreciate it.

Here is the list of our upcoming 2016 Mobile Tour:

Nashville, TN (March 11 – April 8)
Washington, DC (April 14 – May 13)
Baltimore, MD (May 19 – June 17)
Providence, RI (June 30 – July 29)
Colchester, VT (August 4 – September 2)
Buffalo, NY (September 4 – October 9)
Pittsburgh, PA (October 13 – November 11)
Columbia, SC (November 17 – December 21)

All the best,

Jesse Gutierrez
Associate Manager, Mobile Tour Outreach

StoryCorps | http://www.storycorps.org
80 Hanson Place Brooklyn, NY 11217
Office: (646) 723 – 7020 ext.34

Imam Johari: CNN – Trump Proposed Ban on Muslims

January 9, 2016

Meeting with Concern: American Muslim Leaders Meet With Visiting Muslim Heads of State

September 22, 2010

Some weeks ago I was invited to attend a meeting with an important but controversial international Muslim leader.  I was conflicted about accepting the invitation.  I called the ‘usual suspects’ and asked if they were attending.  I have had concerns regarding the utility of attending such meetings.   Should I risk attending? Are they really listening or merely using the meeting for validation?  What will my friends in other faith communities say?  And ultimately, what is my role as an American, as a Muslim and as a person committed to the peaceful advancement of humanity?

I believe that in this critical time, American Muslims must exert leadership on foreign policy matters and that The White House and US State Department need to deploy American Muslims to address visiting diplomats.  Unfortunately, many Muslim heads of state while visiting America rarely take the initiative to meet with American Muslim representatives.

The Islamic Republic of Iran stands out as an exception.  Not having an embassy here, I must applaud the efforts of The Iranian Interest Section which serves as their diplomatic arm in the US.  They consistently gather representatives both Shiites and Sunnis including American Muslim voices of descent to meet with their representatives during state visits.

The first Muslim head of state I ever met was Iranian president Mohammad Khatimi.  During a visit to the United Nations he shared with American Muslim leaders over dinner his vision for the “Dialogue of Civilizations” and not Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”.  I enjoyed our interactions and hoped that he would work toward improved US-Iranian relations.  After the change in the political futures of President Mohammad Khatimi, their US representatives continued the tradition with now president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Last year I and other leaders had dinner with the Iranian president.  I shared with the President of Iran that it does no good to his advocacy of the Palestinian cause to ‘appear’ to deny the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany.  We confronted him on the issues of human rights for religious minorities such as the Bahai’s in Iran and denounced the development of nuclear capability for both peaceful and military uses.  God only knows how effective our discourse was.  But we can say that we said it directly to the president of The Republic as Muslims and as Americans. We presented letters from the mothers of the three hikers arrested in Iran for “spying”.  We applied our influence to ask for their release and just prior to Ahmadinejad’s recent visit he released the female hiker, Sara Shourd, for that we were grateful.

After deep reflection, I accepted the invitation for dinner with the president of The Islamic Republic of Iran and last night (Monday, September 20th 2010), I and many  “so called” American Muslim leaders met in New York City with president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  We requested the release of the remaining two American hikers.  In each gathering I and many of our representatives have expressed our commonality as Muslims but we also have differences of opinion.  Not withstanding my criticism I am invited back year after year.  I pray that our advice and criticism will have a positive influence on the understanding and policies of foreign leaders.

Although, American Muslims have been sent by the US State Department to improve the image of America abroad by engaging the “Arab Street” through cultural performances, academic visits and economic diplomacy a significant criticism after the powerful “Cairo Speech” was the regrettably limited engagement with traditional Muslim leaders in America.  Our president, Barack Obama, has said that if we want peace we must talk not only to our friends but those who we have differences of opinion with.  In that spirit American Muslim leaders must meet with visiting Muslim officials as long as we are free to raise our voices to provide constructive criticism and strategic insight from the perspective of Muslims and Americans.

A positive sign from the Obama administration is the appointment of Rashad Hussain as the US Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).  The OIC is composed of the ambassadors from majority Muslim nations.  I look forward to dialoguing with him regarding the engagement of America Muslims to meet with the leaders of the OIC representatives.

Finally, if our government were to facilitate the networking of Muslim ambassadors and American Muslim leaders it would send a clear and consistent message that American Muslims are valued and respected partners in US society.  I believe this would be a good next step in building bridges between America and the Muslim world and a giant step in the service of world peace and global understanding.

Who knows maybe one day I might be serving my nation as a US Ambassador to a Muslim country forging global relations between America and the Muslim world….But until then….I’ll Be “Living Islam in America”.

CNN-Black Pulpit: “Islamic center’s struggle echoes that of African-Americans”

August 29, 2010

As-Salaamu alaikum,

Please share the link to this article with your friends.  Imam Johari featured in CNN.com today:

“Islamic center’s struggle echoes that of African-Americans”

Please comment on the article.  The discussion is going.

Here is the link to your story:


And it is currently on the home page of CNN.com under “latest news” with the title “Opinion: 2010’s civil rights struggle”

Imam Johari Resigns from Non-Profit Boards

June 8, 2010

Over the past decade, it has been my honor to serve on many boards, committees and commissions.  I have tried to bring my full capacities to each one of these obligations.  Unfortunately, I have reached a point where my ability to be effective in my personal and professional life has caused me to reconsider and thusly reduce my obligations.   I fear that in many of these commitments I have not been able to work to level of commitment required to achieve the noble objectives set forward by my faith, my family or the organizations that I am committed to serve.

It is my opinion that I can better serve the objectives of serving Allah, my family and my community by freeing myself from many of these excellent efforts.

Therefore, I have elected to resign from the obligations listed below.

  1. Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)
  2. Muslim Council of America (MCA)
  3. American Muslim Task-Force (Representative of MANA)
  5. North American Imams Federation (Founding Board member)
  6. Georgetown U – Chaplain Advisory board
  7. University of MD-Chaplain Board

I will continue to serve on the following Dar Al-Hijrah Related Boards, Committees and Commissions:

  1. DC Mayor’s Interfaith Council (Mayor Fenty’s Administration)
  2. Virginia New Majority (VMN)
  3. The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC)
  4. Fairfax County Multicultural Advisory Committee
  5. Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE)
  6. Interfaith Communities for Dialogue (Annandale)
  7. Fairfax Partnership for Youth: Students on Suspension (SOS)
  8. The Council of Muslim Organizations (Greater Washington)
  9. IMAN-DC

I will remaining on the non-Dar Al-Hijrah related board Faces of Our Children (Sickle Cell Fund).

I remain grateful to I have had opportunity to serve and I look forward to being a viable contributor in other ways to this great work.  May Allah continue to bless you in your work and make your efforts successful.

Sincerely As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum,

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik,

Outreach Director, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center