|HOME | US EDITION | REPORT|
August 20, 1999
Hussain Vs Hossain
A P Kamath in New York
In the name of Allah, one of them should be telling the truth. But with both sides calling each other a liar, and the congregation unsure whose side to take, a bitter dispute continues at one of New York's Islamic centers that caters mostly to immigrants from India and Bangladesh.
Mohammad Hossain says he has been exploited by the Jamaica Muslim Center that asked him to teach Koran and lead the prayers about two years ago. He alleges that he was told he would get paid for his services. He was then asked to assume more responsibilities in exchange for free lodging for himself, his wife and two children.
But Hossain, who says he was a medical doctor in Bangladesh before coming to America in the hope of getting a green card and finding treatment for his urological problems, asserts he got nothing but a raw deal from the Muslim Center.
When his two-and-a-half year old daughter was diagnosed with lead poisoning a few months ago, and he complained about it to the Muslim Center, he was asked to vacate his single room accommodation that is adjacent to the Center. While he has sought the help of city's Human Rights Commission and filed a civil suit against the Center, he is seeking the help of the community to get medical attention.
To Muhammad Hussain, a New York doctor, who serves as chairman of the Center's board of trustees, his fellow Bangladeshi is just ungrateful. He says the Center decided to withdraw its support for Hossain's green card application because the supporting documents were not strong enough.
He denies that the Center offered Hussain a job. Hossain, who says he has given to the Human Rights Commission copies of a letter allegedly written by a trustee listing his duties as a deputy imam, says he knows his ground too well.
He will fight the eviction order, he says. He is not keen on negotiating with the Center anymore because he says several other negotiation talks have failed.
Meanwhile, the Immigration and Naturalization Service will not process his application for the green card. Hossain says he is being asked by the Islamic Center to drop the suit and begin the negotiation again. The Center might sponsor him this time. But he feels that he cannot trust the officials.
This is the second big controversy to hit a mosque that caters to immigrants from India and Bangladesh. A few months ago, New York city charged the imam of a Brooklyn mosque with sexual misconduct with two young men. The incident created a stir among many Muslim groups in the city and on several Fridays police were asked to keep sharp eyes on the congregation at the Brooklyn mosque.
The Hussain vs Hossain controversy is not of the same magnitude as the sexual molestation story. But several worshippers who want to help Hussain feel that they might incur the wrath of the other side.
"When such disputes arise, whether they are aired in a church, temple or mosque, they leave behind a lot of bad taste," a worshipper at the Jamaica mosque center said.
"May be there was genuine communication gap between Mohammad Hossain and Dr Hussain. But the way the controversy has come out, it will leave behind a lot of bad taste."
ELECTION 99 |
SINGLES | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK