The Muslim American Society (MAS) is a not-for-profit organization that serves charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational purposes. The organization has approximately 30 chapters around the country, with the central chapter is located in the Washington D.C. area. The Muslim American Society envisions itself as a pioneering Islamic organization, an Islamic revival, and reform movement that has as its mission uplifting the individual, family, and society. The Muslim American Society describes its mission as follows: “To build an integrated empowerment process for the American Muslim community through civic education, participation, community outreach, and coalition building; to forge positive relationships with other institutions outside of our community, that will ensure and facilitate the protection of civil rights and liberties for American Muslims and all Americans.”
The roots of the Muslim American Society trace back to the Islamic revival movement that evolved in the late 1950s and early 1960s.The early pioneers and Islamic movement followers established the Muslim Student Association in 1963 in order to serve Islam and Muslims in North America. Other services and outreach organizations soon followed, such as the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Medical Association (IMA), the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA), the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which were established to serve the needs of the indigenous immigrant Muslims who emigrated to North America. In 1992, Islamic movement followers recognized the needs of future generations of Muslims and made the decision to start the Muslim American Society.
The Muslim American Society engages in Masjid-based grassroots education, local leadership training, youth training, coalition building and networking, and special events towards positively impacting mainstream America. The Society seeks to engage an array of American institutions and organizations in order to build a broad based coalition that will enhance the religious, political, and social viability of the American Muslim Community: voter registration and education organizations; local civic groups; municipal and state officials; the U.S. Congress; civil rights and progressive political groups (NAACP, ACLU, ANSWER, SCLC, CRLC); organized labor; the media; college campuses; immigrant groups; African American, Hispanic, and Asian churches; and other non-Muslim religious institutions.
Muslim American Society engages in a variety of social and recreational, educational, political, and religious activities. There are social activities such as Iftar (Breakfast) in the month of Ramadan for the Muslim Community and periodic picnics; recreational activities such hiking, sight seeing, and bowling; lectures to teach different aspects of Islam to the community; workshops to deal with family issues, voter registration, Dawah (inviting others to Islam) and outreach, political participation and activism; and Iatikafs (a monthly program of nightly talk, prayers, and early morning prayers.
The membership size of the MAS chapter in the greater Richmond area has significantly decreased in recent years as members graduating from schools have moved out of the Richmond to pursue job opportunities elsewhere As of April, 2007 there were only a handful of members.
Muslim American Society, Central Virginia
P.O. Box 74454
Richmond, VA 23236
Abdul-Rahman Hamed, Youth group co-ordinator
Profile prepared by Ashkan Noushabadi