A political conflict is playing out within the walls of the Muslim community in Southeast Texas. A man who was the leader of Muslims in the area said Thursday the conflict has resulted in his removal.
"Don't get me involved in any political games in the name of religion. I am not here a political man," Dr. Nidal Alsayyed said. But it's political motivations he said have forced him to resign as Imam.
Dr. Al Sayyed told KFDM News he was forced to resign as religious director of the Islamic Society of the Triplex after making comments last Monday in which he agrees with Donald Trump's statements that the U.S. should temporarily stop accepting any new Muslim immigrants into the country.
While the religious leader said he expected the call to resign eventually, he said it was sped up by politics.
"I think any future candidates, presidents who do not support the fact that we need to be more safe and more cautious about whom to bring into this country, whether a Muslim or not," Dr. Alsayyed said.
His comments he said had nothing to do with politics, but the former Imam said Trump's comments are in line with the Islamic religion.
"The text of the holy Qur'an says the loss of one life is equivalent to killing the whole mankind," he said.
His viewpoint, in part, shifting after lingering questions about the backgrounds of the couple responsible for the mass shooting in San Bernardino.
"But the way it happens when you see this mass shooting and you see some people coming with such a very peaceful background and all of the sudden the intelligences themselves, the agencies are not able to figure out what's happening, why all of a sudden this guy or this girl or that lady open fire and kill 15 people, because American Muslims are not doing their job in the country. So we need to stop, we need to stop taking new ones until we fix the existing situation," Dr. Alsayyed said.
The religious leader said there is a problem with some American Muslims seeing a conflict between following their religious beliefs and their patriotism to the U.S., and an issue differentiating the religious community and its political role. He said the two should not mix.
"I came to know this morning from some close contacts and friends over 102 Imams, religious people in Houston, were fired and forced to be basically leave their jobs, leave their mosques only because they did not get along with the political agenda for their board members," he said.
Dr. Alsayyed said he took the position to help young people understand Islam, and it's the youth where Islamic leaders should focus their attention.
"Nobody is investing a dollar to basically raise the understanding what does it take for a Muslim to live in the United States," he said.
KFDM News spoke with a board member of the Islamic Society of the Triplex. He said the board is deliberating and will issue an official statement soon in response to the comments from Dr. Alsayyed, but the Islamic Society of the Triplex does take issue with the statements made by the former Imam.