Fight For Accountability At Makki Masjid Goes To Court

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Makki Masjid located at 1089 Coney Island Avenue. (Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner)

MIDWOOD – The fight for accountability at the beloved Makki Masjid in Little Pakistan has found its way out the doors of the mosque and into the court.

Makki Masjid, officially the Muslim Community Center of Brooklyn (MCCB), has stood on Coney Island Avenue between Avenue H and Glenwood Road since 1982. Late last year, tensions erupted inside the Mosque as the old management refused to give way to the new one. Tensions were so intense that a literal fight broke inside the house of worship.

Now, the new management, comprised of a new generation that includes Akbal Khan, Qudeer Khan, and Balal Khan, is taking the old management, comprised of men that have been operating the mosque for eight years, to court. Why? They want to know where the money went and want the old management to be held accountable and provide answers. Court documents name these men as, Akram Amin Khan, Mohammad Rashad, Mohammad Maqsood, Mushtaq Ali, Malik Khan, Ramzan Khan, some John Doe’s, and the trustees. It is to be noted that several people from both sides are related to one another.

According to court documents, the lawsuit seeks two actions. For background, on October 13, 2018, an election was held at the Mosque. Akbal Khan, Qudeer Khan, and Balal Khan were elected to “be the lawful and legitimate governing body of the Mosque, holding exclusively all powers under the… Mosque’s constitution and by-laws.” The old management, it turned out, would not respect the results and did not recognize the new management.

“Since becoming the newly elected officers, the Defendants have failed to turn over the keys, memos, documents, writing, books and other… belonging to MCCB which should be turned over to the new executive body,” the court document states.

According to Afzal Ilahi, a man who plays an advisory role in the new management, the lawsuit was filed because there was nothing else that could be done. He said the new management went forward with a lawsuit for two reasons: women and kids were not being involved in the Mosque and money was being mismanaged.

“Our goal is to restructure the entire Masjid. There is no fight. Our goal is to make sure the management changes and to get our community back on track for our women and children,” he told Bklyner. “If we don’t step in now, what will happen to the next generation?”

The first action the lawsuit seeks is a “declaratory judgment to validate the results” of the election. The second action sought by the lawsuit includes the following: a full accounting of the Mosque’s funds and properties, an order permanently restraining the old management from using the name and likeliness of the Mosque (unless directed by the Officers), and an order permanently restraining the old management from having any role in the governance or management of the Mosque.

The action also seeks damages based on breach of duties by the trustees, damages based on corporate wrongdoing and waste, damages based on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations (RICO is a “federal law designed to combat organized crime in the United States”), and damages resulting from the old management’s fraud, deceit, and theft.

According to the court documents, the old management allegedly assumed responsibility of the Mosque in 2011, but its members were never elected. The last known election for officers of the Mosque, plaintiffs allege, was held on February 5, 2006. During that election, Mohammad Azam Chaudhry, Malik Khan, Rashid Sakindar, Mahammad Maqsood, Ikram Qureshi, and Hukam Chaudhry were elected to serve for four years. After 2010, when their terms expired, there seems to be no record of an election.

“By methods and means unknown, Akram Amin Khan, Mohammad Rashad, Mohammed Maqsood, and Mushtaq Ali assumed the positions of President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary (‘Outgoing Officers’), respectively, and took absolute control of the operation, functions, running of, and control of MCCB and Makki Masjid,” the document alleges.

Back in November, Bklyner reported that the money that is continuously donated to the Mosque is not being used for the Mosque. The court document echoes that statement. Plaintiffs say that during the day, congregants deposit money into donation boxes that are left throughout the Mosque.

The only group of people who have access to those keys is the old management. According to court documents, plaintiffs allege that during Jummah prayer on Friday, there is approximately $2,500 collected. Donations increase even more during Ramadan where Muslims are encouraged to donate to charity. The most donations come during Eid. At the Mosque, Eid can bring over $50,000 in donations, they say. But where does the money go from there?

“Upon information and belief, at all times herein, whenever monies are collected on Jummah, the entire amount of monies collected are never deposited into the JP Morgan Chase bank account. Upon information and belief, the monies are carried first to Defendant Malik Khan’s home and then only a portion of the collections is deposited into the account.”

According to the document, the money that was collected from Eid never made it to the JP Morgan Chase bank account.

As Bklyner reported in November, the Mosque has always been under constant construction. At the time, we wrote that scaffolding was routinely put up and donations boxes were always placed inside stores asking for money to “fix and build the Mosque.” But somehow after tremendous amounts of money, there is still scaffolding outside the Mosque. And in a structure with hundreds of congregants praying during the hot nights of Ramadan, there are still no air conditioners.

The court document echoes the reporting.

“Defendants have called out for pledges during their reign to fix the Mosque building. Despite thousands of dollars being collected for the alleged repairs, the conditions alleged to have existed years ago continue to exist despite monies having been raised to correct the alleged conditions.”

In turns out, in 2011, the management hired Rawal Construction Corp. with an exclusive contract to repair the Mosque. The contract was signed by Akram Amin Khan and Mushtaq Ali. The Mosque’s secretary Mushtaq Ali, it turns out, served as the president of Rawal Construction Corp. As part of the contract, $15,000 was paid to the Construction corp as a down payment.

“The estimated expense of the construction project, which was to run for six years, [averaged] about $174,000 per year.”

Ilahi tells Bklyner the new management just wants accountability. He says it’s been a long road with absolutely no change in the masjid that has long served as a place of refuge. If the new management wins the lawsuit, Ilahi said, change will absolutely come. He said women will finally have their own floor and the Mosque will also have a few women trustees. He promised there would be after-school programs where certified teachers will come and tutor kids. He also said there would be a gym in the basement for the youth to try to get them off the streets. But what’s on top of their list is getting the construction completed once and for all.

For those that say the new management is in it to make money from the Mosque, Ilahi says otherwise.

“We’re here to donate money, not take money from a masjid,” he said. “We don’t need the money. We don’t need to live off Masjid money. We’re just here to restructure the entire system.”

The new management’s main priority, he said, is restructuring the Masjid for the next generation.

“Our goal is to make our community strong. Let’s get these kids off the street. Let’s get the Islamic programs going. Let’s get Jummah prayer in English as well as Urdu. Let’s let the kids know exactly what is going on. If we don’t fix it for the next generation, who will?

We reached out to Balal Khan, Qudeer Khan, and Mushtaq Ali for comment. They did not provide us with a comment.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Every one has there bad moments I feel the video shouldn’t be posted that was the lowest point and something everyone as a community is trying to get passed . A lot of stuff is misleading and as a reporter you should gather information from all sides before taking statements of a person who is a advisor.

  2. The fight will never end. Like you say families are involved and it is getting ugly!!
    No one cares about Makki Masjid, all they care about is being right. If Malik Khan was taking money home to count how come no one ever questioned him? Everyone knows his track record with money is horrible!!
    If everyone was so perfect they would have fixed this a long time ago.
    Now all you are getting are stupid Wats App statuses that make horrible accusations against family members without any proof. We all sit here and wait for the next stupid comments from Mrs Khan!! she has made a fool of herself!! We all screen shot her stupidity and send it to each other- it’s how we know what’s going on!!
    Please, like I said no one care about the Makki Masjid- all they care about is money!!

  3. The video only hinders the peace process. Muslims promote peace. It serves no purpose here. Shame on the person who leaked the video. They took advantage of the house of worship.

    All the gentlemen mentioned will work it out. Unfortunately some are using the public to benefit their chances.

  4. I agree that should get infornation from all sides not only one called adviser. Mr Afzal is part owner of Al rayan funeral home next door. It is well known fact in community that owners of funeral home like Mr Zafar and Mr Imtiaz want to combine funeral home with masjid to have more business. Mr Afzal admit to receive payments from funeral home Imtiaz to make this happen. Other issue also involved in this. These will be important points in everyday discussion.

  5. Not sure if this was made by Ikram Qureshi but Mr Qureshi is all about lies. Here are the facts,
    Mr. Afzal Ilahi is not a part owner or has been an owner of any funeral home. What Mr. Afzal Ilahi has done is helped us tremendously with our Fisabilillah Janazah. Nor myself or Imtiaz have given money too to Afzal Ilahi and that’s a fact.

    Mr Ikram Qureshi has been spreading FALSE RUMORS about Al-Rayaan Muslim Funeral Services including that we are very expensive. Fact is when did Ikram Qureshi ever do a Janazah with us. NEVER. (We do have people that he approached and are willing to take an oath against him.

    Fact is Ikram Qureshi was a former member of management and was one of the members that received and pocketed FITRANA money that was supposed to go to the needed. This fact is from his own inner circle.

    Fact is Ikram Qureshi is a FORMER DISGRUNTLED member of management that was BOOTED out (I meant voted out) and looking for some sort of payback. He will get none at Makki Masjid and should go back to the Masjid he belongs too.

    Fact is the guy is very mischievous and a backstabber not liked by ALMOST everyone in his own family including myself I really feel sorry for Uncle Maqsood who has to deal with someone who going thru a midlife crisis.

    Fact is I had alot of respect for this individual and you try giving everyone the benefit of doubt. Anytime you want to see my bills for every funeralwe have done you are more than welcome to stop by. Stop with the false rumors. It’s your funeral home too. Love you my Brother..

  6. If u can believe ur ALLAH or u can put u hand on holy book Quran PAK say same words than we believe u otherwise u r big layers in USA as I know first u was with Afzal and Imtiaz after they know about ur reputation and they kick u out because u always create problems that’s why no one like u u pray jummah prayer in different masjid after finishing namaz there and I come to makki masjid start playing according to the law u r can’t be part of makki masjid and ur dreams never become true before u was against the old management and they reached u out after they make u part of masjid but again remember by laws u can’t be part of masjid

  7. As a longtime resident of the community, fights at the Masjid are common since it was founded in the early 80’s.
    The current president of the Masjid, Amin Khan, has a history of physically slapping people in the Masjid. He is a doorman who can’t even spell his name properly but somehow became the president of a large religious organization. I’ve never heard the president get behind the podium and give a speech or an update about the Masjid. There are even reports that he came to America on false immigration documents. Amin Khan is not even his real birth name. Maybe we need ICE to come down and investigate him.
    Qazi Mushtaq is the secretary of the Masjid. He also happens to be the president of Rawal Construction which he owns. Guess what? He used his own construction company to renovate and expand the Masjid. Its been more than 8 years and about $1.5 million spend but the construction is not completed yet but his home in Marine Park was paid off in 6 years. Amin Khan is the only person who approved and signed off on it. Maybe he received a cut from Qazi. With these guys, anything is possible.
    The Masjid is very dirty. They have an old guy maybe nearing his 80’s that cleans the Masjid. He is not capable to clean the whole Masjid at this age. The Wudu area is always dirty, the ruggs are terrible, they have no designated area for the ladies, no Islamic School for the kids.

  8. If by any chance it is a fact of favoritism due to enhancing a business (Funeral Home next to Makki Masjid), I don’t believe that will be the one and only motive(s) to create such a shake in our community for such a minor monetary gain by targeting a house of worship/community center. Moreover, how can one of us and or collectively scrutinize individuals profiting from a For Profit Business (Al Rayan Funeral Home) verses a Not For Profit Entity (MCCB dba Makki Masjid). I guess the argument/discussion/debate here is not only about where is the “MONEY” but also about mismanagement. To be clear, if the funeral home is mismanaged, wouldn’t it hurt a few people. However, if a house of worship/community center (MCCB dba Makki Masjid) is and has been mismanaged for decades, can one of us and or collectively imagine the sort of cause and effect has impacted our community negatively.

  9. These people that are trying to take over are all about fraud and have no respect for the Masjid. These people haven’t even been to Makki until this past year because they want money. Why don’t you guys check the background of the people trying to take over and see some are criminals themselves and have criminals in their family

  10. Instead of Afzal Ilahi going to court himself, he coerced this entire masjid drama, pinning families against each other. Afzal Ilahi accuses Malik Khan about mismanagement but his own brother Khalid Ilahi is Malik khan’s Business partner! Afzal, please stop creating trouble and be a man and fight your own battles. If you truly want change, fight for change yourself. I’m sorry to say but you are the mastermind behind the scenes, not an adviser. You are watching while families fight each other. It’s just a shame. Instead of just going straight to court and filing against the old members yourself, you made sure that the court order comes from someone else but you! May Allah put you on the right path. Help stop this madness you have created. There is no proof of anyone mishandling money. It’s your word, wait, I mean it’s Akbal khan word, current resident of Baltimore and Qudeer khan’s Word against the old regime. Anyone could claim about how much donation was collected. But there isn’t any proof. At the end, may Allah protect our community from anyone who has divided us!

  11. Mr. Afzal Ilahi has a lot of plans, which is great. Glad to hear the community needs are being heard. It’s about time. However, I am curious why he is not leading the charge??? Something is fishy and just doesn’t make sense!! So many great ideas, why not take credit!!
    From this article, it seems like his project and vision will succeed… to bad it’s by creating chaos for personal gain. Why create drama and tarnish names without any proof? I would not want my Masjid by neither the old management or the new management.

    To another point, I’ve read other articles in the Bklyner, something just isn’t right about this article. How can a journalist be so one sided?

  12. I think shame for all people’s from Kashmir who ever enter the masjid after prayer coming out start cursing Because no management it’s too hot and every Friday people’s donations more than 3000 just asking only small question where is all old air conditioning everyone take home who management I suggestion is right now buy to unit ac and put on masjid also ikram qurashi u r always problems creates that’s why no politics that’s house of ALLAH ang we r trying to better community center

  13. The community is become large and important at elections time and people vote. And some like Ikram Qureshi are wishing to become comunity leader. We need honest leader, not like Ikram, he is more like question but no answer. He is very close to elder Dr Zaman, who is convected fraudster. Dr Zaman file many false imigration cases in many years and charge very high thousands dollars fees. Imigration servise find out in 2014 and they fine him $40K and ban him for life from filing imigration cases. His lawyer save him jail term because poor health. Ikram work to bring cases to Zaman and they work together to rip off people and make a lot money. Many people now very scared what will happen to there cases. Ikram and Zaman not good for comunity, becuase they criminals.

  14. First of all I would like to appreciate Afzal Ilahi for taking this stance may allah reward him.we need honest people who have good intentions to do good for the sake of allah , new commitee is the only people I can see that can proceed with this responsibility.

  15. “S.M” I agree with you 100%. I believe since mid to late 1990 they had a free hand in operating under the radar. Afzal Ilahi or anyone involved should be acknowledged for their bravery to question the status quo, and not allow anyone to operate stealthy without oversight and accountability. This process is long due and needs to be addressed before all legs of the chair no longer exist to sit on. How can these so called elders / leaders NOT understand that their legacy and good works can only be carried on by passing the torch.

    one must not take sides or demand to pick a side based on personal relationships. Its like old generals recruiting new soldiers for bad ideas that are short lived. History again and again reveals that only good ideas live on. We as a community should walk with individuals who have good ideas, as some mentioned in this article by Afzal Ilahi and others:

    “Our goal is to make our community strong. Let’s get these kids off the street. Let’s get the Islamic programs going. Let’s get Jummah prayer in English as well as Urdu. Let’s let the kids know exactly what is going on. If we don’t fix it for the next generation, who will?

    the big question is: who will?
    will you?

  16. The masjid need good honest people to run it for next generation. I think Ikram Qurashi and Asif–Eastern grocery are good and honest people. They work very hard day in day out, there everyday to clean arrange everything. Both even spent thousands of dollars of there own money for masjid during construction work. Young people will definitely appreciate hard work they put in and look up to them as example of great leadership.

  17. It’s so funny how everyone is praising the “newcomers” when everyone knows the filth that comes with them.
    We all know everyone has baggage but someone should check the baggage of these folks. I believe the community needs knowledgeable individuals to run the mosque! Individuals that have Islamic and worldly knowledge (scholars, imaams,
    Chaplin’s etc). If there should be a change there should be a proper one. The community needs the mosque to be a better place for our future but with the “newcomers” it’s just going to be the same cycle. These men are NOT role models for OUR future children! I would never want any of
    My children looking up to these men and their way of life. We need individuals with clean hearts and upmost clean CHARACTER To bring change. We need someone that has Islamic and worldly knowledge to help educate our children. They state they want to make space for women and children when these same men disrespect women on all sorts of levels. If there is change wanted let’s get it from someone other than the men stated in this article someone who has the desire to focus on the Mosque and not worldly affairs.

  18. Makki Masjid run by great leadership, everyone working very hard, constructon work Mushtaq Ali of Rawal excelent, few jealous peeple like Afzal n Imtiaz unhappy, only think to takeovur masjid for money, new elected secretery Ikram with long honust trak record benefit entire masjid leaderskip, firstly mr afzal need return thousands dollars mortgage fraud money to poor people friends and relations, and mr Imtiaz also need return fraud money like cheating friends and stealing zameen from own family membres back home, mr Afzal and mr Imtiaz have very long corupt history and now becume brothres to steel money from masjid, dont care for women or children, just to make failing funerel home part of masjid and fool all comunity, mr Imtiaz firstly ask for keys for masjid, now very mad cuz no keys given, now he payroll mr. Afzal to start takeovur masjid, they start very bad sitution for comunity, very bad thinkuing of these criminal peeple.

  19. Dont know the Farooq Haider guy is but you should do your homework. Great leadership cannot even finish the construction for the past 30 plus yeats. A secretary of the Masjid cannot use his own company to do construction. You should have asked him to read the BYLAWS. Why are you so concerned about Afzal and Imtiaz when these so called has been’s have been stealing money all along. What you and everyone else should be asking is where is the Fitrana money that these has been’s have been pocketing. Learn to write English.

  20. I think all of community should work together to reach a compromise. Different people have good ideas and need to sit down to talk and have a respectful dialogue and decide on what is best for the whole community.

  21. Afzal Ilahi is literally the mastermind behind this all. I think it’s the dumbest move to allow him anywhere near masjid. All he will do is allow his family of ilahis to enter and ruin the masjid even more.
    My biggest concern is people with Zero knowledge coming into the masjid and trying to run it. First you should learn how to do your own Istinja then think about coming to the masjid and doing some work. Mr. Afzal Ilahi come to jummah one day and show ur face

  22. Afzal Ilahi is trying to bring change to the masjid, but it will not be easy. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. And relationships have to be improved. I wish all the best to my gandoo friend. He needs all the help he can get.

  23. so all these comments have done nothing but show the true colors of both sides. again i will reiterate-not one person cares about this Makki Masjid. All they are doing is trying to prove one side is wrong and the other side is right. What is the plane for this Masjid? Where are the current representatives? Where are the past Representatives? If either side had genuinely cared about this Masjid they would have sat down together along time ago before it came to this point. If there was ONE logical person among these people then I would personally have hope of this coming to a proper conclusion.
    Shame on everyone- as you can read by these comments-everyone is playing the blame game.
    You all keep this up and what will happen is this Masjid will be closed and then who will be right?
    Shame on all involved-you have definitely made fools of yourselves. You have pitted family members against each other. This Masjid does not belong to anyone, it belongs to the community!
    All anyone care about is Money, Power and being right!

  24. I have to agree with MJ that if only both sides cared enough about the masjid things would not have reached this point. Communication is very important. There are good people on both sides, and the four good gandoos in management Maqsood, Mushtaq, Rashid and Ikram plus the fifty good gandoo trustees including Azam, Bashir, Rasheed, Farooq, Manzoor, Malik, Zaman, Ramzan, Muzaffar, Abbas and Akbar should all sit down and try to work this out. This is the only way forward for the good of the community.

  25. I have to agree with MJ that if only both sides cared enough about the masjid things would not have reached this point. Communication is very important. There are good people on both sides, and the four good gandoos in management Maqsood, Mushtaq, Rashid and Ikram plus the fifty good gandoo trustees including Azam, Bashir, Rasheed, Farooq, Manzoor, Malik, Zaman, Ramzan, Muzaffar, Abbas and Akbar should all sit down and try to work this out. This is the only way forward for the good of the community.

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