Sayyid M.B. Kashmiri addressed attendees of the twentieth UMAA Conference, held from May 24 to 27 at the Marriott in Bethesda, Maryland. He shared with the audience I.M.A.M.’s “Blueprint for Shia Muslim Communities in North America,” an extensive project designed to create the infrastructure and resources that Shia Muslims need to flourish as citizens of the United States and Canada. 

This blueprint, Sayyid Kashmiri explained, is the culmination of conversations with 110 experts in law, economics, and education. It includes a plan for Shia Muslims and their leaders to better: 

  • Defend the legal rights of Shia Muslims in North America
  • Create a legal defense council comprised of Shia Muslim attorneys
  • Establish a scholarship fund to allow Shia Muslims to pursue law with the eventual goal of serving the community pro bono
  • Build financial programs and a professional network that will take disadvantaged Shia Muslims off welfare and above the poverty line
  • Develop infrastructure to support refugees, orphans, victims of abuse, addicts, seniors in need of long-term care, and disaster victims from the Shia Muslim community
  • Found institutions of higher education, including the first Shia Muslim university in North America

The overarching plan to advance the interests of Shia Muslims was received enthusiastically by those in attendance. The leaders present expressed strong interest in contributing to the execution of this noble attempt to give Shia Muslims the support they need to thrive in North America.

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