Imam Majed Sabke has resigned from his clerical position at Galveston's Islamic Center. He had led the assembly since his arrival on the island in February 2006 from a similar position in Alexandria, La. Sabke told The Daily News that he wanted to carry on his mission in a larger, metropolitan area.
"I'm leaving because there is more that I can do elsewhere," he said. "Galveston is a limited area - I need a bigger community such as Chicago, but the island is beautiful."
Sabke said that the island as a whole and ministers of all religious faiths had been cooperative during his stay and pointed out work with non-governmental agencies such as the Red Cross as examples of how the community could work together rather than being divided along sectarian lines.
"We had a good relationship with them all," he said. "I built relationships with everyone."
The Lebanese-born cleric has seen the cost of division among Islamic followers in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. He said he had a strong disapproval of sectarian strife and said that his last message to the island, delivered last Friday, had concerned peace and cooperation.
"My advice to all is that whether you agree or disagree with the politicians, everyone should work to prevent any harm against this land, to the United States," he said. "And no one should create lies about a group just for their own profit."
He said that he felt that misunderstandings about Islam were common and that it was part of his job to dispel these and to encourage his congregation to do likewise.