Muslim scholars in North America attend the Shia-Sunni Alliance Forum (SSAF) in Virginia. Discussions held during the 3-day retreat focused on ways to ensure Muslim unity through a coalescence of ideas that serve to further the unification of the Ummah.

Leesburg, VA – Muslim scholars converged at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA this past weekend for a 3-day Shia-Sunni Alliance Forum (SSAF) retreat. Discussions focused on important issues for American Muslims including the benefits of Muslim unity, clearing up misconceptions about each other, challenges for unity, and worshiping together with our diversity.

The retreat was organized by the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.).

Scholars attended the forum from all over the country, including New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, and California. In addition to discussions, participants interacted with fellow scholars from other schools of thought and attended Friday prayer together at the ADAMS center. The retreat culminated in a community dinner with a large gathering of Muslims from different schools of thought, with keynote speakers Imam Khalid Latif and Shaykh Faiyaz Jaffer from the Islamic Center at NYU.

The SSAF was created with a vision to foster an environment where any Muslim can walk into any Islamic center in America and pray without concern or discomfort because they have a deep understanding that they belong to one community. Speaking at the retreat, Imam Muhammad Magid, executive imam at ADAMS Center said Muslim unity in America would be to have a representation of Islam that our children will be proud of.

“A representation of Islam where people do not see hatred or bigotry come in our masajid [mosques] toward another community. Muslim unity in America will represent the narrative that our children will see, that the Muslim Ummah really is one community,” said Imam Magid.

Sayyid M.B. Kashmiri, vice chairman of I.M.A.M., said the Muslim Ummah has many common principles.

“We have one God, we have one Prophet (pbuh&hp), we have one Quran, and we have one Qiblah. We can use this as a platform for unity while keeping our diversity. However, as God has mentioned in the Holy Quran, this is not enough to get God’s support and have true leadership. A third element is also very important and that is community, Ummah. This will not happen unless community members welcome each other regardless of which school of thought one belongs to,” said Sayyid Kashmiri.

The forum is a continuation of efforts formed by the Washington Declaration (, whose ultimate purpose was to lay the foundation for everlasting synergy between the Muslim schools of thought in the United States of America.