Umma Inside Out: Bridging the Gap || Sep, 2014

Submitted by Amin Eshaikher

Ummah Inside Out – Bridging the Gap (Community) Inside to Outside


Brother Abdul Majid Wahid Mujeeb began correspondence with IIOC last year by mail. Continuous daily studies and da’wah are some things he enjoys while striving to please Allah in prison. However, one of his biggest passions is helping to unite the outside Muslim community with incarcerated brothers and sisters. Brother Abdul Majid submitted this profound reminder about the importance of bridging these two communities together.

“Verily, this ummah of yours is a single ummah and I am your Lord: so serve Me (and no other).” -Surah 21 Al-Anbya, Ayah 92

“Oh mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” -Surah 49 Al-Hujurat, Ayah 13

My name is Kevin D. Washington (Abdul Majid Wahid Mujeeb). I am a convert to the deen (way of life) of Islam since my shahadah (declaration of faith) in August 1997. In my 21 1⁄2 years of incarceration, I’ve had the honor of holding various positions of leadership in the Muslim community in prison. Throughout the depths of darkness of ignorance to the guidance of knowledge in light of the truth, it has become apparent to my heart to seek the unity, bond and love for the sake of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) of the outside Muslim ummah.

We Muslim men only desire to commit ourselves to the cause of Allah, once paroled, to make amends to those we’ve wronged, family we’ve hurt and children we’ve abandoned. Further, we desire to heal the scars of destruction we handed down to the generation under us by speaking to the people and inviting them to the deen of Islam. We are looking and seeking to bridge the gap by correspondence with brothers and sisters to receive much more needed information on what’s desired of us once our feet touch back down in freedom. In conclusion, we incarcerated Muslim men have an oath and obligation to Allah to fulfill and answer our duties to our life aim, goal and purpose of worshiping none but Allah alone.


Salam au’aliykum,

Beloved Brother

Abdul Majid Wahid Mujeeb


Ummah Inside Out is a monthly segment of the IIOC newsletter dedicated to giving a voice to our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters on the inside.


Outreach Corner: Sharing The Joy Of Eid || Sep, 2014

Outreach Corner 201408 - 01Submitted by Amin Eshaikher

Eid ul-Fitr, the Islamic festival that marks the end of Ramadan, is joyous for Muslims across the world. However, for many incarcerated brother and sisters, each year the day passes without celebration and without family and friends to rejoice with. Last year, the Dawah Outeach Committee sought to help change that by sending 15 greetings cards in the mail to incarcerated Muslims for Eid. This year, the committee mailed out 50 cards to incarcerated brothers and sisters in prisons throughout the country.

Another frequent concern shared by incarcerated Muslims is feeling disconnected from the larger Islamic community. Last month, the Dawah Outreach Committee paired up with the Public Relations Committee and the IIOC office administration to print and mail out copies of the masjid’s monthly newsletters along with copies of Al-Kalimah, a magazine published by the Muslim Student Union at the University of California-Irvine.

The response to both efforts has been extremely positive. Streams of letters came to IIOC complimenting the material received in the mail. Below are a few excerpts from Muslims in prison who received an Eid card and newsletters.

“I’m writing this letter to thank you and your ummah for the Eid card. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. To most, the Eid card is nice but nothing more. To me, it’s more because my own family doesn’t correspond with me. Out of the love of Allah, people who never knew me accept me just because I’m Muslim. Like my flaws and past don’t matter. I’m actually on the verge of tears.”
-Brother Nur, San Luis Obispo, California

“I love to study ilm ul’hadith (knowledge of hadith) so I loved your article on the hadith concerning wiping the socks…I am happy you have a good newsletter to offer the brothers, they truly want reading materials.”
-Brother Abdullah, Folsom, California

“Thank you for your monthly newsletters and magazine. I enjoyed reading everything very much. It is nice to know that you sisters and brothers do a lot for the ummah, community and humanity.”
-Sister Oytun, Dublin, California

“May Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) grant peace, blessing and a gracious reward upon everyone involved in the newsletter and all the Al-Kalimah writers!”
-Brothers Abdul Majid & Mika’el, Blythe, California

“I found the newsletters to be thought provoking and progressive. May you be rewarded for your good deeds and may your guiding light be strong!”
-Brother Shabazz, San Luis Obispo, California

The IIOC Outreach Committee is chaired by Shaykh Mustafa Umar and has been responsible for dawah (outreach) to both Muslims and non-Muslims in the community since 2009.

Meet the Junior Board of 2015 || Sep, 2014


New School Year. New Faces. And New Junior Board. As the school year begins, IIOC Youth Group is gearing up for another exciting year of fun, educational, and relevant activities and discussions for the Youth. Helping alongside us will be our Junior Board. Masha’Allah we had many Youth apply for Junior Board, but we only had five positions open. After reviewing applications and interviews, alhamduillah, we selected our candidates.

Please welcome our 2014-2015 IIOC Youth Group:

Sameer Khan
10th grader at Canyon High School

Rewa Ousman
10th grader at Brea Olinda High School

Ahmed Abdelmonem
11th grader at Valencia High School

Reema Jlelati
11th grader John F. Kennedy Middle College High School

Danya Rafiqi
1st year at  Santiago Canyon College

Arfa Khan
2nd year at Santiago Canyon College

Henar Abdelmonem
2nd year at Irvine Valley College

The Youth Committee is eagerly excited to work with these wonderful youth and looking forward to what they will bring to the Committee insha’Allah!

Youth Ramadan Program Spotlights || Aug, 2014

Submitted by Dania Mohammad


During the blessed month of Ramadan, IIOC was fortunate enough to have several incredible events lined up for the youth in hopes of achieving an increase in not only sisterhood and brotherhood, but an overall stronger sense of taqwa and tawakkul in Allah (swt). One of the most rewarding and enjoyable of which had to be a class taught by Ustadh Mohammed Mana centered around a hadith which speaks of the believer living this life as a stranger. Every week the youth would gather to hear his powerful talks, which served as a great reminder of how quickly we can cease to exist in this dunya and the deceptions which accompany its surface; including all of the material and monetary items we may hold onto so dearly. At the annual youth iftar, Ustadh Mohammed concluded his class reminding us to be aware of our environment. He encouraged the youth to take a stance against any norms society has raised which conflict with the teachings of Allah (swt) and his Messenger (pbuh). Yousuf Salama and Rewa Ousman from our very own youth group were lined up to give great talks which included their view of what it means to live this life as a stranger as well as some reflections on rewards of Ramadan and how to maintain progress in one’s iman. Maryam Adem gave feedback on the youth iftar mentioning how she loved that the youth spoke and gave great khateras, making it an all around great time!

IIOC also had an extremely successful sisters qiyaam where over 200 sisters showed up to worship Allah(swt) together in salah organized by our very own IIOC Youth leaders. The qiyaam was led by female instructors from the Quran Institute. Shaykha Muslema Purmul and Ustadha Lobna Mulla, who all gave moving lectures which reinforced the theme of connecting one’s heart to Allah (swt).

IIOC Youth Group hosted two new iftars centered on the relationship between a parent and their child. The Mother/Son and Father/Daughter youth iftars were a joyous accomplishment, which strengthened the bonds between families as a whole. At the Mother/Son youth iftar, the brothers each gave their mother’s a long-stemmed rose as a token of appreciation and love. Shaykh Mohammed Faqih and Ustadh Mohammed Mana spoke about the importance of treating one’s mother properly and not being dependent on one’s mother to do everything as a child would. Yousuf Salama commented, “The mother son Iftar was an absolute treat! As I have gotten older and gone through college my relationship with my mother has continued to develop in a positive way. Being able to sit with her and share our time and a meal together while learning how to strengthen our relationship through Islamic principles was truly special.” The Father/Daughter iftar took a different approach by focusing on creating or maintaining a strong relationship with our fathers. How can one achieve this? Shaykh Mohammed Faqih gave the perfect solution by instructing the fathers to follow in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (saws) who treated his daughters justly and held them to a status high above any other being in his presence. We were also blessed to be in the presence of Sr. Noha Alshugairi who did an effective exercise which involved both the fathers and daughters to brainstorm a list of what makes them feel as if they connect with one another. They then proceeded to share ideas and each pair was able to come up with a set of ideas for what makes their bond stronger.

Although the thirty days of Ramadan flew by far too quickly, these events created not only lasting memories, but lasting impressions and purification among the hearts of many of the youth at IIOC.

Staff Spotlight: Meet Aminah Galal || Sep, 2014

1) Tell us a bit about your background and your career.aminah3

Born and raised in Southern California, I have been living in the Orange County area for the past twelve years with my parents and older brother. I attended the public school system from elementary to high school, and got my Bachelors degree from the University of California, Irvine in History, with a double minor in Education and International Studies. During my undergraduate years I was greatly involved with the Muslim Student Union on campus, which is where my desire to pursue community organizing was solidified. Through my coursework, I also gained a strong drive to further explore the field of education, as I hold firmly to the belief that both formal and informal education are key to any type of social and personal change. So after graduating, I went on to attend California State University, Long Beach where I recently obtained a Masters degree in Social and Cultural Analysis of Education.

In addition to education and community organizing, I have held a lifetime (or since I was a child) love for the arts and entertainment– though I am personally partial to writing. I can proudly claim being a bookworm who still reaches for a notebook and pen before remembering I have a smart phone. Although the busy schedule of being a student had slowed down my pursuit of taking my writing to a more professional level, I have tried throughout the years to keep a connection with my pen (or keyboard if I’m being real) through blogging and writing short stories, spoken word, or random ramblings whenever I get a chance. Or sometimes I just tweet.

Because my personal interests tend to spread across the board, I try to take any chance I get to combine working with all three of my passions – either in one or multiple spaces. I currently work at the Islamic Weekend School at the Islamic Society of Orange County as Programs and Curriculum Developer, where I am able to explore the open field of Islamic education. And I am grateful to additionally join the IIOC team as the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) Administrator and Outreach Administrator – both positions where God-willing, I hope to utilize my educational background, skills, and hobbies to give back to my community.

2) Tell us about upcoming project(s) you will be working on

One of the most exciting aspects for me about joining IIOC is the sheer potential that this community, and specifically CIS and Outreach, has. I am looking forward to working with the community and developing additional ways for the College to become even more accessible to provide more services to its students and the community, especially with the start of Fall semester commencing! I am also excited to begin working on expanding the Da’wah and Outreach committee and reaching more people in our surrounding areas, and to help provide more opportunities for community members to become involved and work on various projects, such as the upcoming Open Mosque Day on October 19th.

3) If community members want to talk to you — how can they reach you? 

To start off with the expected answer, my email is and I can be quickly reached through there, or if it’s specifically regarding CIS: But if it is not yet quite obvious, I love to talk and believe that forming in-person connections is very important for the exchange of ideas and the growth of any community. So, as I am still getting to know this masha’Allah amazing community, I am more than happy to stop and have a conversation, and am actually looking forward to meeting more and more people!

CIS: Learn. Practice. Transform || Sep, 2014

Submitted by Aminah Galal

Only 38 percent of American adults say that they know someone who is Muslim. This is not my own estimate, but a new statistic from a Pew Forum study oScreen Shot 2014-08-27 at 12.59.29 PMn the attitudes of Americans towards various religious groups. With roughly six to eight million Muslims in the United States, somehow we have failed to reach out and connect with 62 percent of the population in the country we are in. Obviously this can be a result of multiple factors, and we can easily point to the effects of media, propaganda, politics, and even economics on the fact that it is 2014 and still most Americans claim they do not know a single living, breathing Muslim. For some reason, despite millions of us living in the country, the majority of Americans have only met Muslims through the eyes of self-interest driven mainstream media and politicians. However, getting caught up in the big picture of the political and social structure of the United States can be overwhelming; so after I read this startling statistic I began to think of what am I, as an individual American Muslim, doing wrong?

If we are to think about it, we have the size and potential as a community to create quite an impact in our immediate and greater societies. That is, if we truly understood and implemented the teachings of Islam in our daily lives. If each of us treated our neighbors the way the Prophet, peace be upon him, showed us to, or if we truly embodied the understanding that there is no racial or ethnic preference between people, or if each of us understood and were confident in the realities behind the common “hot topics” highlighted about our religion – imagine the difference that would make in every single interaction we have!

But as I began to imagine this ideal (but not unattainable) picture of our community, I realized one important thing. In order for me to practically implement Islam in my daily life, to understand how Islam is truly a timeless religion meant to better the entirety of mankind, and to share that understanding with others; I have to know my religion. I have to, for my own self, filter through the propaganda driven narrative and the culturally-infused myths about Islam, and learn about what the Qur’an truly says and what the Prophet, peace be upon him, truly taught.

Yet the idea of adding studying Islam to our already jam-packed schedules is frightening and slightly intimidating. Especially to anyone, like myself, who may have the phrase“ studying Islamic studies” directly associated with the idea of spending a few years overseas. That is why I personally think one of the blessings in our Southern California community is the College of Islamic Studies. Not only is it not a requirement to actually obtain a degree, even though the option exists, but also we can choose how many classes to take, when to take them, and even have the option of online classes and live-stream if we are unable to physically attend the lessons. To a large extent, it does not get much easier than that.

To become great mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends, leaders, change-makers, and humans – do we not owe it to ourselves to make the effort to become the most knowledgeable we can be in the ultimate and most perfect message and way of life sent to mankind? Even if a person is struggling with what to believe about Islam, do we not owe it to our own intellect to find out for ourselves rather than to lend our ears and minds to be shaped by someone else’s agenda?

62 percent of Americans have not met a Muslim – let’s all make sure that when they do, they meet a Muslim who knows about, implements, and is confident in their religion.


Message from Board President || Sep, 2014

Bismillah al Rahman al Rahimamu.samer.newsletter

Asalaamu Alaikum, Dear IIOC community!

The first act of worship introduced to our community was “IQRA” – Read. We have been instructed to become a literate community that is aware of our Lord, our needs, and the needs of others. At the Knowledge Symposium, hosted at IIOC on September 13th, we were reminded of the sacredness of all knowledge during the programs introduction by Susan Nachawati, PhD. It was beautiful and inspirational to witness the various academic journeys that enrich our community. If you missed the event and would like to watch the video, visit our website at

We welcome back all of our Teachers & Students at Minaret Academy, College of Islam, Institute of Quran, and Saturday School. May you all thrive in your studies and enjoy a wonderful school year. We also welcome our new 2015 Junior Board members, who we count on to ensure our Youth programs are relevant and engaging for their peers. IIOC strives to create educational opportunities for all in our community. We look forward to hosting a new program for our tiny tots (ages 3-5 years old) focusing on animals, science and exploration. The Little Naturalists Science Class will be taught by traveling naturalist, Sama Wareh beginning Monday, October 13th from 11-12pm. Classes will be offered every first Monday of the month and will cost $90 for all classes or $12 per class.

IIOC & OCCCO (Orange County Community Congregation Organization) hosted a Volunteer Phone Bank Drive to educate voters of upcoming propositions on the November ballots. We thank all the volunteers who dedicated their time to encourage others to vote YES on Measure “L” to require elected officials to live in the district they will run in. This measure ensures Elected officials are in tune with their community’s needs. Phone bankers also encouraged voters to vote YES on Measure “M” to add two seats to the City Council. Currently, there are four seats and adding two seats will ensure there are more representatives serving our communities needs.

We wish our Hujjaj safe travels as they embark on the completion of one of the pillars of our faith. May you all have a blessed time that is filled with self-reflection and nearness to Allah, ameen! Do pencil in the date for our Welcoming the Hujjaj Community Picnic scheduled on Sunday, October 26th. The picnic is open to all community members at the Irvine Regional Park in Orange, CA. The park offers many activities such as bike/boat rentals, a Train, an OC ZOO, & Pony rides. Do purchase your tickets, which include a meal by October 10th for the early rates or by the October 17th deadline.

Our Women’s Committee recently hosted an educational seminar titled, The Last Muslims in Spain with Professor Mariam Saad. The program was so fascinating we asked Mariam Saad to join us for our Friday Family Night program on November 7th. We also look forward to a special international guest, Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor and activist who has been involved in solidarity work for Palestine since the 1970s and became most recently known for his efforts to help Palestinians in the recent siege. We look forward to hearing about his experience in Palestine and how our community can help on Friday, October 24, 2014! Do check our weekly bulletin for upcoming Friday Family Night topics, we look forward to seeing you all very soon.

At IIOC we hope that our center will be a place that facilitates your journey towards your Lord. Where we fall short we ask you to come and share your feedback with us or email us at and if you would like to volunteer and share new projects and programs, email


Samer Soubra

President of the Board of Directors

Islamic Institute of Orange County












Message from Board President || Aug, 2014

Bismillah al Rahman al Rahimamu.samer.newsletter

Asalaamu Alaikum, Dear IIOC community!

During this life we race to Jannah, pushing ourselves to our limits. We mourn the journeys that have ended unjustly by oppressors across the Ummah and the world at large. During Ramadan we raised our hands acknowledging our Creators strength and ability to bring about peace. With the launch of IIOC’s FAJR MARATHON prayers have continued as many community members strive to compete towards goodness. The Fajr marathon was launched to encourage community members to continue their Ramadan goals. With friendly competition our Fajr community has tripled by the grace of Allah swt. We’ll keep you posted with the winners!

We look forward to resuming our Fajr Inspirations and Breakfast on Sunday August 10th at 5:15 AM. Our monthly breakfast began January 2013, and has become an IIOC tradition. Lets also revive that suhoor like state and have breakfast together as a community. If we ran here on two hours sleep we sure can do it post Ramadan!

This past Ramadan, IIOC’s theme was strengthening the love within our families. Our taraweeh khateras with Shaykh Faqih focused on sacred reminders while our Youth Committee hosted this year’s first Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Iftar. During the last Parent-Youth panel many parents recommended more combined programs with the youth. We look forward to hosting an educational Parent/Youth program per month and social events more often! It was great to see you all at our FFN Game and Dessert Night! A special shout out to the ladies who won the jeopardy competition and a thank you to our volunteer Mariam Jaber for baking 140 cookies and preparing the frosting and sprinkles for the kid’s cookie decorating project!

IIOC’s Social Committee looks forward to inviting the community to a Knowledge Symposium on Saturday, September 13th from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM to celebrate the knowledge and talents within our community. If you would like to present and share your art, poster, exhibit, project, book, published works or patent ideas register online at Another way to pay it forward and encourage others to pursue their talents is to join our Professional Mentor Program! Do register at if you have expertise in your field, one hour to spare per month, and genuine interest in a mentee’s growth.

Do join us for our next FFN Potluck & Kits Drive on September 26th with a hygiene kit volunteer assembly line with items to be donated to our community members in need. Please also bring a tasty dish to share with others!

At IIOC we hope that our center will be a place that facilitates your journey towards your Lord. Where we fall short we ask you to come and share your feedback with us or email us at and if you would like to volunteer and share new projects and programs, email


Samer Soubra

President of the Board of Directors

Islamic Institute of Orange County