Imam's role in Islam isn't identical to that of clerics in other Religions

Non-Muslims often assume that since imams are spiritual leaders, they function like priests, pastors and rabbis. In reality, imams aren't needed to perform many of the pastoral duties expected of other clergy, such as officiating at funerals and weddings or visiting the hospitalized.

"Some imams do those things, but not necessarily so," said Kevin Jaques, a scholar of Islam at Indiana University. "Muslims have developed communal traditions so when someone dies or is sick, there's family members or designated leadership to do that kind of ministerial work."

At the most basic level, imams are prayer leaders. Muslims pray five times daily: at sunrise, noon, afternoon, sunset and night. Seven days a week, Kavakci arrives before dawn to prepare for prayers and the lectures that he leads…

"…As an imam, I'm like a man with a broken leg," he said because of the long days he spends at the mosque leading prayers, counseling married couples, teaching classes and fielding questions.

"I can't easily leave the mosque and go here and there," he said.


Lawyer calls Sept. 11 a factor in killing of Afghan film maker

A Queens man charged with murdering an Afghan-born filmmaker and then freezing his head was motivated in part by patriotism and the stress of witnessing the Sept. 11 attack, the man's lawyer said today.

The lawyer, Thomas F. Liotti, said that his client, Nathan C. Powell, was a loyal American who grew angry after the filmmaker, Jawed Wassel, blamed the United States for instigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks...


Pennsylvania prison needs Qurans

CAIR has received a request from a Pennsylvania correctional facility for 200 Qurans and 100 prayer rugs. Anyone who would like to sponsor the purchase of these items is asked make a secure online donation using your credit card. If you would rather mail you check, then please send it to:

Council on American-Islamic Relations

453 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20003

Estimated cost for purchase and distribution of the items is $3,000. Any donation is welcome. Donations in excess of the actual cost will be used for similar activities. Checks should be made payable to "CAIR."