-ORIGINS OF AL-MAGHRIB INSTITUTE-
What are the origins of the al-Maghrib Institute? One can guess it had nothing to do with moderate Sunni Islam. Rather its origins emanate from an older Wahhabi institute called Dar-us-Salam (or al-Huda) in Maryland, USA.
The following are excerpts from an announcement made by Muhammad AlShareef, the founder of al-Maghrib Institute. These statements shed light on the origins of al-Maghrib Institute. Of particular interest is Al-Maghrib Institute’s affiliation with Dar-us-Salam:
“On April 25-26th, 2005, the AlMaghrib Institute Shuyookh, AlMaghrib Institute’s USA management, and this author gathered together in Memphis, TN in an effort to determine the future academic course of action for AlMaghrib Institute.
Firstly: Where did we come from? Since AlMaghrib’s inception in 2001.
- AlMaghrib Institute was founded in 2001 by Muhammad Alshareef in cooperation with Dar-us-Salaam as the financial/community backbone and the American Open University as the academic backbone.
- An agreement was made between AlMaghrib Institute and Dar-us-Salaam with the American Open University. The agreement was to acknowledge course credit to students for the courses they took with AlMaghrib Institute.
Secondly: Where are we now? And where are we headed? In the last 6-12 months to present and beyond, in sha Allah.
- AlMaghrib Institutes founder/director moved back to Canada in October, 2004.
- Management and Administration of AlMaghrib Institute was moved from College Park, Maryland to Houston, Texas.
- AlMaghrib Institute became it’s own registered company, legally, under no other registered company/organization.”
As stated above, Dar-us-Salam was the “financial/community backbone” of the al-Maghrib Institute where its “Management and Administration” originated. Therefore, to know more about the al-Maghrib Institute, it is important to know more about Dar-us-Salam.
The Washington Post states that Dar-us-Salam practices Salafi/Wahhabi Islam:
“The kind of Islam practiced at Dar-us-Salaam, known as Salafism, once had a significant foothold among area Muslims, in large part because of an aggressive missionary effort by the government of Saudi Arabia. Salafism and its strict Saudi version, known as Wahhabism, struck a chord with many Muslim immigrants who took a dim view of the United States’ sexually saturated pop culture and who were ambivalent about participating in a secular political system. It was also attractive to young Muslims searching for a more “authentic” Islam than what their Westernized immigrant parents offered.”
-SAFI KHAN: THE WAHHABI FOUNDER OF DAR-US-SALAM-
Dar-us-Salam (al-Huda School), located in College Park, Maryland (USA), was founded by and currently headed by a Wahhabi named Safi Khan. Safi Khan was educated by Wahhabi scholars in Saudi Arabia. He also attended the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University in Riyadh and, as is no surprise, teaches Wahhabism. As al-Maghrib Institute is a modern extension of Dar-us-Salam, it no surprise that the al-Maghrib Institute propagates Wahhabism.
-ALI ASAD CHANDIA: DAR-US-SALAM & TERRORISM-
Just as the al-Maghrib Institute has links to dubious individuals, including known extremists and even an Osama bin Laden supporter, Dar-us-Salam/al-Huda School has had its share of extremist problems as well. The point is not to implicate the entire school of wrongdoing but simply to show the connections it has to scary individuals. Ali Asad Chandia who taught at the al-Huda School for four years was guilty of terrorism. Maryland’s Gazette states:
“Ali Asad Chandia, 29, a resident of College Park who taught at Al-Huda for four years, was sentenced Friday for aiding Lashkar-e-Taiba, an anti-Indian government organization.
Chandia was charged with assisting Lashkar-e-Taiba member Mohammed Ajmal Khan, who is serving a 9-year prison sentence in Britain for serving as a military procurement official for the group. Prosecutors sought a sentence of 30 years to life for Chandia, but U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton gave the Pakistani-born teacher 15 years.”
-AL-MAGHRIB INSTITUTE = REPACKAGED DAR-US-SALAM-
The al-Maghrib Institute is a repackaged, flashy, state-of-the-art version of Wahhabi Dar-us-Salam (also known as the al-Huda School in College Park, Maryland) that was created to escape the fallout against Dar-us-Salam from the September 11, 2001 attacks. Since Dar-us-Salam was Wahhabi-Salafi, cameras focused in its direction to publicize the unorthodox version of Islam it was preaching. The typical conservative Wahhabi image was a magnet for criticism by many, including the media. Therefore, it had to be ‘redone’ — rebranded — in a modern, “open-minded”, and alluring way. To deflect criticism by Americans and others, the new al-Maghrib Institute discussed issues that were normally taboo, including sex, gay people, and other ‘cool’ topics. Beneath the paraphernalia, colorful purple image, and high-tech make-over, however, is the same ugly Wahhabism. While Dar-us-Salam is more closed, al-Maghrib Institute attempts to accept all who wish to join in an attempt to make their unorthodox Salafism “adapt” to ‘Western’ environments like the United States, Canada, and UK.
The same Washington Post article states:
“Yasir Qadhi, a lecturer with AlMaghrib Institute, an Islamic educational organization founded by a former prayer leader at Dar-us-Salaam, cited his own experience as an example of how Salafism has adapted in the United States.”
Brothers and sisters, don’t be fooled. Stick with the majority of Muslims and not the dubious al-Maghrib Institute (and Dar-us-Salam) that represents a pseudo-Sunni splinter sect that appeared in the 1700s.
Allah Guide us on the path of the Muslim majority and Protect us from the scholars of deviation. Aameen!