One of the leaders of a Virginia mosque has resigned over the board’s decision not to fire an Imam who extolled female genital mutilation (FGM) in a recorded lecture.
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, formerly director of outreach for Dar al Hijrah mosque, formally resigned Friday when the mosque’s board failed to meet his demand to fire senior Imam Shaker Elsayed, according to an AP report.
Malik cites “many deplorable statements” from Elsayed as the reason for his resignation, referencing Elsayed’s recent comments in support of FGM as a method to curb hypersexuality in women.
A video of Elsayed’s lecture was posted on the mosque’s Youtube channel but was later removed. Elsayed described FGM as “cutting the tip of the sexually sensitive part of the girl so that she is not hypersexually active.”
Though he cautioned against more aggressive forms of FGM, he also said that societies in which FGM is outlawed, as it is in the U.S., “hypersexuality takes over the whole society and a woman is not satisfied with one person or two or three.”
Malik and 20 other leaders in the Muslim community demanded Elsayed’s termination, releasing a statement admonishing the mosque’s board of directors “to immediately terminate Imam Shaker Elsayed’s contract. We cannot and will not stand for any Imam or Muslim leader who endorses human rights abuses antithetical to our beautiful faith.”
The mosque’s board of directors condemned Elsayed’s teachings on FGM on Monday.
“We at Dar Al-Hijrah DO NOT condone, promote, or support any practice of FGM,” read the board’s statement. The board noted that FGM is not only forbidden in Islam, but also by U.S. law, and condemned silence on the part of any Muslim leader “in the face of these harmful practices.” Elsayed apologized for and retracted his statements on FGM and has been placed on administrative leave by the mosque’s board.
Malik was not satisfied with the board’s disciplinary actions against Elsayed, and so sent a letter of resignation to the board this morning. The board stated via their website that they intend to meet with Malik to discuss his concerns.
Elsayed’s comments supporting FGM were revealed just days before a recent report that over 100 girls may have been victims of FGM at the hands of a doctor in Michigan, raising concerns over the issue of FGM in the U.S. as it relates to some interpretations of Islamic practices.
Both Elsayed and Dar Al-Hijrah mosque have had dubious pasts, according to the AP report. The mosque’s former senior Imam, Anwar Al-Alawki, left the U.S. to join al-Qaeda and was later killed via drone strike. Elsayed went on record supporting Hamas with statements he made in 2005 and also acted as an unofficial spokesperson for Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a former member of Dar Al-Hijrah who was convicted for forming a plot to assassinate George W. Bush after joining al-Qaeda during his overseas studies.