Former Passaic County Islamic Center board discusses appeal | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Former Passaic County Islamic Center board discusses appeal

By To the Editor
Published: July 1, 2015


We would like to update you regarding the lawsuit against the Defendants, Mazooz Sehwail, Nabil Abbassi, and Mohamad Qatanani.

The Defendants have hired a second attorney Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett to help attorney Aymen Aboushi and filed an appeal in the Appellate Division.  This is the Defendants’ second attempt to dismiss the case from court.  The Defendants want all the claims to be dealt with in arbitration, but Hon. Judge McVeigh disagreed with them.

Judge McVeigh’s Order on 3/20/2015, states that the matters of financial mishandling must be heard in court.  However, the matters related to membership, performance, and function of current Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) Board are to be handled by an arbitration committee. We are confident that the Appellate Division will affirm Judge McVeigh’s order.

The current board members and the Imam Qatanani’s current and previous lawyers have avoided any attempt to defend any claims of financial mishandling and self-dealing.  In fact, they filed a counterclaim against the former trustees of ICPC alleging financial mishandling.  These allegations are full of deception and lies.  A behavior, which represents of very low morals of Imam Qatanani and the current trustees.

The truth will come out, eventually.

This raises many questions and concerns in regards to hiding and attempting to cover up any wrongdoing.  A serious question cannot be simply explained by saying that arbitration would cost less, but in fact, an arbitration process would save the Imam and board members from being fully exposed before the court and the community.

We, as former trustee(s) have requested several times to resolve the issue.  However, the current ICPC Trustees have ignored all requests and only gave us their own conditions that would favor only one party.  We value our community, and have taken this issue to court only after we found that the current Imam and board of trustees have deviated time after time from the core principles of ICPC constitution and bylaws.  We believe that this case will bring transparency, and accountability in our center and community.

The ICPC community and general assembly have the right to address current ICPC Trustee with the following questions openly and listen to their answers and learn the reasons behind taking a position that will lead to challenge the current financial and leadership operation of ICPC in court of Law.

1. Why have the current ICPC board and Imam ignored demands of financial review for over a year?
2. Why do the ICPC board and Imam insist on having the issue discussed behind closed doors?
3. What are they hiding from court?
4. Why did the ICPC board and Imam file a counterclaim that is full of lies?

A verbal statement to the community from the Imam or a trustee is not enough. Any claims of responsible action should be supported by documentation. We believe that at this time that the ICPC community and general assembly should take a lead in this case and create their own fact-finding committee in order to determine which side is credible. We support and welcome such action that will bring back ICPC into an environment that is free from corruption, financial mismanagement, and self-dealing.

Letter written by former Passaic County Islamic Center board of trustees.

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