Shakeel Syed Steps down as Shura Council's Executive Director

“Br. Shakeel Syed has stepped down as the Shura Council's Executive Director. Last Friday,   July 15th was his last official day . The notes of appreciation arrive daily, in   our inbox  and each one is forwarded to him”, says a Shura Council announcement. It adds:

Although we will miss him at the Shura Council, he has gone onto another nonprofit,   OCCORD , whose mission is near and dear to Br. Shakeel's heart. We wish him the very best of everything in his new position and keep him in our prayers.

In a farewell note dated July 15, Shakeel Syed wrote:

Today is my last day as the Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council after11 fulfilling years.  Since making this announcement, I have received a steady stream of incredible farewell notes. And to each one of you, I say thank you most sincerely for taking the time to write to me.

I thank Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala (God, the Most Glorified) and you for making my tenure at the Shura Council one of the most meaningful and instructional years of my life. I believe it is an appropriate time for me to move on.

The Shura Council has developed a viable model of working together. Its success has been in its journey with you.  Together we successfully initiated and coordinated several programs and initiatives, such as:

  • The Open Mosque Day that has now gone national.
  • The first of its kind Masjid Operations Manual that   broke new ground and is now embraced by the regional Shura Councils and also by more than 250 Mosques affiliated with the North American Islamic Trust.
  • The innovative Masjid Group Insurance Program that continues to benefit member Masajid while supporting the Shura Council, and
  • Helping other cities to develop their regional councils.

These are but a few tangible successes that we celebrate together. However, what I personally cherish the most is that we succeeded in not only keeping the leadership on the table for more than two decades but have even expanded it…

While we celebrate past achievements, we cannot afford to overlook the challenges that we see on the horizon. The biggest among them, I believ,e are: Growth, Sustainability, Courage and Credibility.

We recently enjoyed Ramadan, an important season of revelation and renewed insights in our spiritual lives. It is now a time for a new journey. In a very particular way, it is true for me. 

Beginning August 1, 2016, I will be leading the Orange County Communities for Responsible Development ( OCCORD.org ), a social and economic justice organization with a rich  history. Its mission is to "bring workers, families and community partners together to organize and advocate for good jobs, strong neighborhoods and an inclusive democracy in Orange County." 

Each beginning has an ending and all endings reaffirm that everything is temporal. Only God is eternal. I knew that when I came to the Shura Council that someday I would have to say goodbye.  That day has come.  We can guess but rarely know about tomorrows yet I pray that the days to come would be better than yesterdays for me and for the Shura Council.  

I ask that you forgive me for my many shortcomings and keep me in your prayers as I do the same for you and for the Shura Council.

I am, of course, a bit sad to be leaving but I will not cry that it is over. I will, instead, smile because it happened!

Wassalam - In peace.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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