With a sponsorship from IIIT, Cordoba House, in partnership with Hartford Seminary, has successfully launched the Muslim Leadership Training Program in New York City in spring 2016. The vision for the program is to train moderate, forward-thinking and spiritually well-versed leaders. The program provides a foundation of practical skills and the knowledge required for individuals to confidently guide and lead within their communities. Through five Saturday workshops the attendees learned to conduct religious services, address challenges and provide relevant solutions for Muslims living in contemporary America. In addition, attendees gained the skills to serve as bridge-builders with other faith traditions.
Cordoba House president Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, with an experienced team of instructors, trained a select group of 20 participants, 12 of whom will be receiving academic credit from Hartford Seminary. The workshops were divided into two parts: I. Leading Congregational Prayers and Delivering Effective Sermons, and II. Skills for Muslim Ritual Life.
Joshua Salaam, Youth Director of the Adams Center in Virginia, and moderator Timur Yuskaev of Hartford Seminary, engaged attendees on the best practices and strategies for effectively writing and delivering khutbahs. Imam Zakir Ahmed, a current Hartford Seminary graduate student and New York City imam, along with Imam Feisal, instructed attendees on how to preside over Muslim life events such as Nikah (marriages), Janazah (funerals) and Aqeeqah (child naming). In addition, Cordoba House invited two guest instructors, Dr. Khalid Rehman, a senior medical Oncologist, and Erhan Yildirim, a Muslim funeral home director and official NYPD liaison officer, to engage attendees on lessons and experiences of end of life medical care and funeral and burial procedures.
The workshops seek to enhance the capability of aspiring and emerging Muslim leaders to take ownership and responsibility to positively guide their communities. The program will continue over the course of one year until spring 2017. Future workshops include: A Practical Introduction For American Muslims To Understanding Shariah Law (Fall 2016), Leading With Islamic Spirituality (Spring 2017), and Engaging the Interfaith Community & the Media (Spring 2017).