Community Update: Clarifications

Topic: Incident Investigation

 

1. Why did ICI not report the incident immediately upon receiving a report?

Information presented to ICI did not include allegations of sexual molestation. Imam Nick’s reference to sexual molestation in his khutba did not accurately reflect the information shared with ICI. We agree with Imam Nick’s remarks in the khutba that, if you are aware of a crime, you should report it to law enforcement and let them investigate it.

2. Is the accused related to any ICI employees or board members?

No.

3. How did ICI employees and board conclude that there was no criminal act that needed to be reported?

ICI takes its responsibility to report suspected sexual abuse very seriously. However, the information provided to ICI by the family members of the children did not include any details of such nature. ICI personnel did not witness or have any evidence of criminal activity or sexual abuse. Imam Nick acknowledged in his khutba that his remarks were based on rumors that he had heard and that he hoped were untrue.

4. What is the current status of police investigation?

The Irving Police Department is currently investigating the incidents. ICI is providing full cooperation to the investigation.

5. Did ICI help the accused person leave the country?

No. The accused person was already scheduled to leave the country when ICI spoke to his family member about the allegations. ICI had no influence in this decision.

 

Topic: Imam Nick

 

6. Why was Imam Nick put on administrative leave?

Imam Nick has been serving as Director of Outreach and Programs and continues to do so. After his khutba, Imam Nick reported to the management that he did not feel comfortable, based on comments and interactions with community members. With mutual consent, the ICI management allowed him to either work remotely or take some time off with full pay, on a temporary basis.

7. Is Imam Nick being punished for doing the right thing?

No. We encourage everyone to speak out against any wrongdoing that they witness. This is not just our moral duty but also our religious duty. ICI has not taken any disciplinary actions against him since his khutba. He continues to be a paid employee of ICI.

8. Is Imam Nick getting paid during this time?

Yes. Imam Nick was clearly informed that he will be fully compensated, and there has been no change in that position.

9. When is Imam Nick going to start working again?

Imam Nick was allowed to work remotely or take the time off with mutual consent. The ICI management did not set a time limit on this arrangement, because we could not predict when he would feel comfortable returning to the building.

10. Did Imam Nick reach out to ICI management before the Khutba to escalate this issue to the authorities, and what was management’s response?

To the best of our knowledge, Imam Nick did not reach out to anyone on the ICI management prior to his khutba.

11. Imam Nick is raising funds for legal assistance. Why did ICI file a case against him?

ICI has not filed any case against Imam Nick, nor has ICI taken any disciplinary action against him. He continues to be a full time ICI employee with salary and other benefits.

 

Topic: Communication

 

12. Why was the community not made aware of the incident earlier?

If ICI had reason to believe that any crime or molestation had occurred or that any child or member of the community was in danger, we would have notified the community. We regret not sharing information more quickly with the community once we became aware that inaccurate and alarming rumors were circulating. We are also sorry that we did not adequately understand the community’s expectations about what kinds of information should be shared with the community. We are committed to working with the community to develop clearer guidelines about when information reported to ICI management can be kept confidential on request, and when ICI management will share information with the larger community.

13. Why was Islamic School of Irving not made aware of this incident?

Islamic School of Irving maintains a tight security control during the school hours. Because the incidents allegedly occurred outside the school hours and away from its premises, ICI personnel did not inform ISI about these reports. ICI is working on improving its communication and training its employees.

14. There is an ICI minutes document of the meeting between the management and a family member of one child circulating in the social media. This document mentions details that ICI has denied. Why?

ICI is aware of multiple versions of documents circulating the internet about the meeting between management and a family member of one child. None of these documents were authored by ICI or its management. You may review the accurate details of the incident at ICI website.

 

Topic: Next Steps

 

15. What are the immediate steps ICI has taken since Friday, Oct. 26?

ICI has reported these incident to the Irving Police Department and has provided supplemental information to assist in the Department’s investigation.

ICI reviewed the steps it took to handle this incident with its legal counsel, who has determined that the steps ICI took were appropriate and consistent with legal requirements

ICI released a public statement on the events and included information on the responsibility of all community members to report suspected child abuse.

ICI included contact information for law enforcement and published an email address that the community can use to report concerns to ICI’s leadership.

ICI held a Town Hall meeting to address the community.

ICI has established a subcommittee to draft plans to ensure children are safe in the masjid.

ICI is revisiting its policies on incident reporting.

ICI is planning to educate and train its employees on various matters, including incident escalation process.

ICI invited the Police Chief to educate and bring awareness to community on child safety.

16. What are the long-term plans to prevent incidents related to child safety?

ICI operational procedures and policies are already under review. ICI requests full cooperation from its community in the implementation of existing policies until the revised ones become available. Going forward, ICI will report any incidents relating to touching or kissing of children to law enforcement, even if there is no indication of sexual molestation. If unattended children are identified in the masjid, ICI will report that to authorities.