Statement of Resignation From Islamic Center of Inland Empire as Religious Director

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

The Muslim community in America is at a very important and urgent crossroad. At the center of this crossroad is religious leadership. It is a line of work fraught with many hardships, but also great rewards. I have been blessed to experience them both. But due to a number of persistent issues at the Islamic Center of Inland Empire: abusive and racist treatment from congregants (something I encountered my first day one on the job), lack of institutional support, and discordant community vision, it became clear to me that I must make a very difficult decision: it is time to move on from my post at ICIE. There is not an Imam out there who will not inevitably face challenges, but in order to succeed, he must be supported by the community and institutes leadership.

Believe me when I said that I do not make this choice lightly: my family and I moved here from across the country with great hope of making real and sustained changes in the Muslim community and in fact, we still harbor this hope. We also moved here at great risk to ourselves, leaving behind stable careers, all with hopes that the trade off would be worth it. We still believe this and we will be actively looking carrying on this search, this endeavor, and this struggle, in a new setting. But regrettably, after months of introspection, peer discussions, and of course asking for God’s guidance, I have concluded that tendering my resignation is what is best for the wellbeing of myself and my family.

I am very blessed and am grateful to have worked closely with so many amazing people in the community. I have witnessed shahadahs, weddings, and funerals. This position has opened my eyes to the needs of the Muslim community in a way I could never have known as a lay member, no matter how committed. I also could not have done my job without the immense support of Malek Bendelhoum, ICIE’s brilliant administrator. To you, and to the host of remarkable ICIE volunteers who repeatedly stepped up to the plate to support and assist me, I am greatly indebted.

I pray that as one Ummah, as one community, locally and beyond, we move to sync our operational and organizational functions to meet and address the challenging and dynamic needs of our Muslim community. It is paramount that our mosques move beyond the petty tropes of ethnic enclaves and theological fiefdoms and provide havens and sanctuaries for humans to reach their true godly potential. I realize this is no easy task given the diverse backgrounds and histories that must be reconciled under one tent, but I believe it’s a challenge we must, in sha’Allah, rise to the call of tackling if for no other greater reason than the future of our children.

My wife and I have met so many kind and welcoming souls here in Southern California. For all of you, we are eternally grateful for helping to make this transition livable and dignified. We eagerly look forward to continuing to build that key component of our community: a genuine sense of connectedness. For the time being, we will be hard at work on the next chapter in our lives right here in sunny Southern California.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to ask forgiveness of anyone that I have ever wronged. Let me repeat: This is not good-bye. I am actively looking to get my hands dirty in planting seeds in new, fertile soil. I can be reached by all of the regular avenues: website, Facebook, social media, etc. Please pray for our family and all of our families, communities and children. May God bless all of you and accept your good deeds and bring us together as one united community.

Marc Manley


9 Replies to “Statement of Resignation From Islamic Center of Inland Empire as Religious Director”

  1. As salaamun alaikum wa Rahmat Allaahu wa Barakatu Imam Marc,

    Khair InshaAllaah. Don’t despair. When Allaah closes a window from one side, he’ll have a door (french door I might add) opened for you & your family. Come get your hands dirty here in Beautiful Colorado (America’s Backyard). We promise to treat you well & stay grounded below a Mile High. (Get it?).

    Ahlan wa sahlan feek.

    Call the number on the website & ask for Br. NS Suleiman. It would be my pleasure to honor you by visiting our State & diverse community. We’ll keep the light on for you my brotha.

  2. Come back to Philly Imam. Forget about California. Those people are whack.

  3. My dear brother in Islam informaly, meet you at the halal market red tomatoes recently. You gave salaams at the meat counter while awaiting your turn. I felt an pure selflessness energy from you.which reading your resignation shows me what I picked up on was real and true. Your wife was extremely friendly and beautiful with similar great vibes coming from her. May Allah’s mercy and grace follow your family and blessings also. Your dear sister in islam.

  4. As Salaamu Alaikum! I pray that all is well with you and you family! My wife and I have experienced similar treatment here in the Phoenix area, and we agreed to move back east where we didn’t receive such mistreatment from those we line up in the ranks with but Allahu Alim! May Allah give you ease & peace! And keep pushing the envelope for us larger brothers to stay “fly”!

  5. Assalamu alaikum brother. My family and I live in Victorville (about 40 minutes north of Rancho). We are building a new community that had to split from a community for some of the same issues you had at ICIE. We stopped attending ICIE due to the subtle racism and tribalism. Inshallah, you find a community that will appreciate the knowledge you and your wife have to share.

  6. That’s ICIE’s loss and I hope that something great comes out of this like a model to be followed by other communities because as you correctly pointed out the issue there is reflective of the issue in 99% of other masajid structures around America.

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