In-Depth Analysis of the Proposed New MCA Constitution

Assalamu Alaikum MCA Members:

The new MCA Constitution passed.  It has one definite positive - it finally removed the discriminatory requirement that all board members have to be *men*!!

But have you had a chance to thoroughly review the rest of the Proposed New MCA Constitution?  Have you wondered why the “sudden” urge to rewrite the *entire* MCA Constitution now after 20 years, and why do the MCA President and EC insist your vote be "all or nothing", not per amendment?  Do you know how many versions the Constitution Committee drafted over the past few years and why they all failed so far?

 

While the proposed constitution has one positive amendment, it is rigged with far more dangerous amendments.  The only positive amendment is removing the absurd requirement that all MCA Boards have to be *men*!! Otherwise, the new constitution gives way too much power to the MCA President and the EC without any accountability.  What percent of the MCA Community think the MCA President and EC need more power and no accountability than they already have?  The answer to that question should tell you who is behind these dangerous amendments.

 

The MCA President, half the EC and Constitution Committee have conflicts of interests writing this new constitution that they should have disclosed to you upfront.  They did not and they won’t.  Which is what this posting is about.

 

Here are the Proposed Amendments to the MCA Constitution.  Here is the analysis per subject area.  This posting was sent to the MCA President, EC and the Constitution Committee before they sent out the call to vote for this new constitution:
  1. Discrimination Against Women:
    • It is very commendable you finally recognized the need to remove the current discriminatory clauses in the MCA Constitution that insisted that all MCA Board members be *men*!!
    • Did this public exposure accelerate this remarkable change of heart after 30 years?  It was really embarrassing for MCA’s President, Mohamed Nadeem, to claim he was for “women’s rights” given such clauses in MCA Constitution, wasn’t it?

    • The question is: is this a genuine change for the better or is it just a cosmetic façade to avoid the public embarrassment?

    • MCA’s President, Razi Mohiuddin, had argued here that although discrimination is against Federal and State Laws, only the parties discriminated against have the right to take legal action against their discriminators.  Instead of citing legal “standing” as an excuse to cover up discrimination at the MCA, shouldn’t our primary focus be on making sure there is no discrimination at the MCA?  Shouldn’t we be genuinely keen in being good as opposed to looking good?

  2. Power without Accountability = Dictatorship:

    • After many failed attempts and many years drafting this new Constitution, the drafters still failed to articulate what were the flaws with the current MCA Constitution that warranted these proposed changes!!  A bit of context and clarity on the problems you are trying to solve would really help.  Otherwise, you might never solve the real issues you claim to address.

    • If we were to survey the MCA Community today, what are the chances the majority would say the MCA Boards more power and less accountability?  Yet the drafters of the new Constitution are taking us in the reverse direction!!  The real question is: whose special interests do the drafters of the new constitution represent and do they truly represent the aspirations of the MCA Community?  Could it be that we have the wrong people drafting the new MCA Constitution?

    • The new Constitution confirms the unchecked veto powers to the MCA President without stipulating the accountabilities that should go with these powers!!  Historically, MCA Presidents like Kamal Koreitum, Mohamed Nadeem, Samer Darwish and Fouad Khatib have managed to undermine MCA’s own rule of law, brushing aside, obstructing and derailing MCA’s Judicial Rulings without any repercussions!!  Shouldn’t the new Constitution focus on closing these loopholes by giving the Judiciary Committee the binding arbitration powers it needed to enforce its own rulings over MCA Presidents and Boards overriding their special interests?  Don’t you think giving those presidents veto powers will only make things worse at the MCA?

    • Democratic Systems explicitly delineate powers with proper checks and balances to make sure no power is abused.  Dictatorship do the opposite.  It is ironic the Constitution Committee is citing the Parliamentary System as a model they want to follow yet miss that fundamental concept.  Parliamentary Systems explicitly delineate between the three distinct branches of governance for a good reason.  Yet those powers are confused at the MCA.  The new Constitution makes no attempt to clear that confusion.  The new constitution needs to make sure the Judicial and Legislative powers at the MCA are totally independent of and oversee the executive power of the MCA President and board members.

    • MCA’s President, Razi Mohiuddin, described MCA’s Judicial System as a “Kangaroo Court”.  The question is: if MCA’s Presidents do not take MCA’s Constitution seriously, who will?  And more important: should they be allowed to be MCA Presidents in the first place?  Shouldn’t the drafters of the new MCA Constitution make sure MCA’s Judiciary System has the full binding arbitration powers backed by the full extent of the law like other more advanced communities in the US?  Isn’t it a conflict of interest for such individuals to be setting the standards for others?  Do you really want to wait until someone figures out how to get a US Court to order the MCA to abide by its *own* Constitution?  Isn’t a strong Judicial System based on law-binding arbitration at the MCA the best deterrent to such risk?

    • The new constitution refers to the “Limits of Authority” document that is never defined any where in the constitution.  Shouldn’t the new constitution explicitly define what those limits are?  Isn’t it a conflict of interest to let the MCA Boards define their *own* limits of authority?  What are the chances they did that without abuse?  How can you let the executive branch legislate its own powers adding more confusion to the haphazard confusion of powers at the MCA?

  3. Where is the Financial Accountability?

    • MCA’s collective annual budget exceeds $3 Million/year.  Shouldn’t MCA’s Constitution put enough checks and balances to deter financial misconduct at the MCA?

    • For example, shouldn’t the MCA Constitution insist that MCA’s cash be exclusively handled at the MCA and/or its Bank but *never* at people’s private homes?  Shouldn’t there be public oversight to make sure financial misconduct is eliminated?  What measures do we currently have in MCA’s Constitution that deters people like Fouad Khatib, Omer Ahmed and Hasan Ibrahim (aka Hasan Abu Khodeir) from handling MCA’s cash funds at Fouad Khatib’s house in a heap on his carpet?  And why would they need to cover it with cloth if they did nothing wrong?  What are the chances we get these clauses in the new MCA Constitution while Fouad Khatib is MCA’s current President?

    • Shouldn’t we have explicit clauses in the MCA Constitution that make sure non-monetary donations like gold and jewelry are transparently sold in publically announced auctions?  How many such public auctions have you ever seen at the MCA?  Where is the oversight to prevent financial misconduct?  How do you ensure MCA officers uphold the community’s trust without abuse?

    • It is commendable we finally have clauses in the MCA Constitution that deter board members from financially benefiting from their own decisions.  No more board members deciding on payments to their own or their friends’ businesses be it catering, IT Services, construction, etc.

    • The new Constitution gives the Board of Trustees the power to invest MCA’s funds with little to no public oversight.  That needs to be clearly defined in the Limits of Authority Article(s) of the new Constitution.  Most of the MCA Community would not want their funds managed by amateurs who know nothing about investments.  Board members who do not have the experience to manage funds at their work places or their own, should not be allowed to invest other people’s money without strict guidelines of financial competence.

  4. Strengthen the Requirements for Public Disclosure of Conflict of Interests:

    • While the new constitution explicitly mentions disclosure of conflict of interest, it makes no mention of the repercussions of failure to do so and in what form these disclosures need to be made.

    • For example, it was a serious conflict of interest for Tarek Mourad and/or his MAS (aka the Muslim Brotherhood) proxies to nominate the MCA President, nominate his son, Abdallah Mourad, to the MCA Board while his wife, Nihad Mourad, was still under investigation by MCA’s Judiciary Committee!!  If that is not conflict of interest, what is?  This false sense of entitlement that we can do anything we want because we said so is unacceptable.  It is not a grocery store.  The fact that Judiciary Committee Rulings did not go any where after the above nominations should have been investigated and stopped at the MCA.  Instead, the MCA Boards made up fictitious rules then that were not in the MCA Constitution to make sure the Judicial investigation of Nihad Mourad went no where and made sure no one knew about anything about it!!  The new constitution needs to make sure this never happens again.  No one is above the rule of law at the MCA.  If the above information was publically disclosed to the MCA Community during election time, none of the above would happen.

    • Far less important information is publically posted on MCA’s website and Bulletin Boards.  Yet when it comes to public disclosure of serious conflicts of interests like the above, that information is deliberately hidden from the MCA Community!!

    • Conflict of interest extends beyond family ties.  Business partnerships, financial dealings and group affiliations need to be publically disclosed to the MCA Community, too.  The drafters of the new constitution claim to follow the Parliamentary Model.  These public disclosures are an integral part of that system they claim to follow.  MCA voters have the right to know what the hidden relationships are between the nominators and their nominees.  Are the nominators/nominees business partners, do they report to each other at work, do they have financial dealings the public should be aware of, do they report to each other through some underground chain of command we should be aware of?  Are these candidates affiliated with some shady underground organization we should know about?  Without this public disclosure, the entire MCA organization can be put at risk.  And the fact that this information is *deliberately* hidden from the MCA Community is exactly why the MCA Constitution needs to mandate its public disclosure.  And if any of the nominees/nominators insist they are doing nothing wrong, then they should not mind disclosing these conflict of interests as a matter of principle!!  And there should be serious repercussions for hiding this information including removal from office like any other parliamentary systems we know of.  It is ironic that Mohamed Nadeem has to disclose all of his donors and donation amounts to Santa Clara voters, but fails to meet that bar, along with all MCA Presidents and board members when it comes to disclosing their hidden relationships to the MCA Community who have the right to know this information.  And the fact these relationships are deliberately hidden from the MCA Community is proof they know it is wrong to hide them.  Which is why the MCA Constitution has to make these underground relationships public.

    • Where does the new constitution explicitly stipulate we are against favoritism and discrimination?  Has this favoritism been uprooted at the MCA?  Even Suhaib Webb wrote about it MCA’s Newsletter as shown here.  MAS blocked this amendment from passing at the MCA.  Board members testified here and here confirming it happens at the MCA.  Shouldn’t the drafters of the MCA Constitution focus on uprooting favoritism and discrimination at the MCA instead of acting like it never did?

  5. Strengthen the Requirements for Public Oversight of Board Meetings:

    • Board Meetings of non-profit organizations are required to be public for a good reason – public oversight.  That means board members need to expect public oversight *even* if the public were not there.  And just because most people cannot make it to board meetings, does not mean board members can say/do anything they want!!  Board minutes do not replace public oversight.  Minutes are filtered down and massaged versions of board meetings.  And if the public were there, they would easily detect that difference between what was actually said at board meetings and what was written in minutes.  When board members discriminate against women in board meetings, the secretary won’t put that in the minutes.  And if the public was there, they would not dare make these statements in the first place.

    • Why does the MCA record khutbah’s and many other far less important events at the MCA but not board meetings?  Board decisions can have far more profound effects on the MCA Community.  The MCA Constitution should require digital audio recordings of board meetings.  These recordings should be safely archived in their original form without editing or massaging as if the public was there.  The MCA Community should have unobstructed access to these recordings.  Doing so will make sure board members never deny what they actually said at board meetings citing “memory loss” and “no recollection” as they did before when asked to deliver their testimonies.  The resistance to audio recordings of board meetings comes from board members who know they would not get away with many things they say behind closed doors.  Which is exactly why board meetings need to be recorded as in any parliamentary systems the drafters claim to follow.

    • Here are some actual examples that would never happen if board meetings were recorded:

      • Board members like Khaled Hamade, GIS Board Chairman at that time and ironically today, would never dare say “Granada’s teachers would do *anything* for a free meal”.  If the public were present at that Board meeting, he would never make such derogatory statements and if he did, he would be thrown out from the uproar his insultive statement would cause.

      • Board members like Nuzhath Quadri would never dare say “we should pay our men (male teachers at Granada School) more to attract them”, referring to the fact that more than 90% of Granada’s staff happen to be women.  Note the caliber of people we have on the boards and how they dare not make these statements in public.

      • Board members like Samir Laymoun, who was the Board’s Chairman at that time, would never dare to make an exception to Granada School’s Salary Structure by arguing the Board should pay his fellow countryman more the school’s approved salary because “he is a man supporting his family”, claiming Granada’s staff are mostly women with primary sources of income from their husbands!!  Ignoring of course the fact that many of Granada’s female staff are the single head of households and that the above statement is outright discrimination violating Federal and State Laws as MCA’s President confirmed here!!

      • Board members like Christie Chase would never dare say “don’t change the sibling discounts at Granada School or my husband would kill me”, referring to the 100% tuition discount Granada School offered to the the 4th and 5th child that only Christie and two other families at Granada were the sole beneficiary to.

      • If the board meetings were recorded, none of the above would ever happen and more important none of them would be able to deny it.  All we had to do is transcribe these audio recordings to get to the truth without fabrication or editing.

      • And if these audio recordings of these board member testimonies at the Judicial Hearings at the MCA did not mysteriously disappear, the Judiciary Committee itself would have had to take far more drastic measures to right the wrong and make sure the above abuse never happens again.

    • MCA Boards have historically moved board meetings to different times and locations without prior and adequate notice to the public.  How many times have you been to Santa Clara City Council Chambers and found them meeting elsewhere?  Where are the clauses that prevent that from ever happening?

    • Why cannot MCA Boards publically post their agendas weeks in advance for the public to decide on the meetings they want to attend?  Unless of course MCA Boards do not want the public to attend their meetings and cannot plan a few weeks in advance!!

    • California’s Brown Act prohibits elected officers from partially meeting in private settings without the public’s knowledge.  MCA Presidents and Board Members meet at MAS’ headquarters without MCA Community’s knowledge!!  And the fact this information is kept secret is exactly what the Brown Act is about.  There should be measures in the MCA Constitution to prohibit such meetings from taking place without publically disclosing them.  No MCA-related matters should be discussed amongst a subset of the board outside the board room without public oversight – period.

  6. Remove Inconsistencies:

    • There are inconsistencies in the new and current MCA Constitution that need to be cleared.

    • Voter Independence:

      • Why does the MCA Constitution allow teenagers who are financially dependent on their parents paying their MCA memberships considered independent voters?  We cannot have it both ways.  If teenagers are financially dependent on their parents to pay their MCA memberships, then they are equally dependent on their votes.  And if they are considered independent adults when it comes to voting, then they sure should manage paying their MCA memberships.  Unless of course the real motivation behind this clause is designed to be obscured from the public.

      • Here is how to make this even clearer: why do the drafters of the MCA Constitution allow parents to pay for their children’s memberships, but insist on sorting the MCA membership roster by first not last name?  Would sorting the MCA membership roster by last name make it too obvious who is behind this rule and why?  Could this be how underground minority groups like MAS (aka the Muslim Brotherhood) can multiply their votes by 4-5 times compared to the rest of the MCA Community who refuse to stoop to that level?

      • The drafters of the MCA Constitution claim they only wanted MCA membership to be explicitly sought by its members.  How do parents registering for their children meet that requirement?

      • The MCA election nomination process is flawed.  It gives people the delusion there is no self-nomination when it could not be further from the truth.  Look at this amazing web of nominators and nominees nominating each other to bypass that rule.  Isn’t that nomination laundering?

      • The MCA Constitution should insist on publically disclosing the group affiliations and hidden relationships between these candidates and their nominees.  Only then can it be clear what “self-promotion” and “position seeking” really mean!!  And if certain groups insist they are doing nothing wrong, then they should not mind the public disclosure.  Let the candidates disclose which groups they are running under.  The same way candidates have to disclose if they are running as Democrat, Republican, …, or Independent.  Let MCA candidates run on the platform they deliberate hide from the public.

      • Instead of current rules, the self-promotion and position seeking that should be prohibited in the MCA Constitution is what Khaled Hamade did at the last GIS Board elections where he called parents at their homes to vote for him!!  The problem with such tactics is he gets to make claims that cannot be publically challenged in a public forum like the candidates forum!!  Such practices should immediately disqualify these candidates so desperate to get to power they never earned in broad daylight.

    • Vote Rigging:

      • The current and new constitutions allow board members to vote each other out of the board without due process.  The question is: have you ever seen that happen in any parliamentary system?  Wouldn’t that allow the majority to censor and silence the minority voices of elected officers on the board without due process?

      • Yet when it comes to investigating vote rigging and voting “irregularities”, the current and new constitutions prescribe the Judiciary Investigation as the only course of corrective action!!

      • Here is the flaw with this logic.  Given Judiciary Investigations throughout MCA’s history have never seen the day of light, undermined and derailed by the MCA Presidents and board members who refuse to disclose their conflicts of interests, the above clauses means that vote rigging will *never* be properly investigated and corrected while voting out board members will be abused to bypass due process!!

      • Do the drafters of the new Constitution have their priorities straight?  Shouldn’t the priorities be the exact reverse?  Shouldn’t board members who want to vote out their peers out of the board of directors follow due process and invoke the Judiciary Committee to justify why they want to do that, giving the defendant a chance to defend themselves and prove their case either way?  And if those board members fail to convince neutral judges why they are justified in voting their peers out of the board, shouldn’t they in turn be investigated for their abuse of power?  Or would such investigation expose underground relationships the MCA Community is not supposed to know about?  Are we playing “Survivor” at the MCA?

      • And more important, when it comes to vote rigging and voting “irregularities” that already happened at the MCA, shouldn’t the rigged election results be put on hold before the wrong candidates join the board and turn around to block their own investigation?  Should the results be on hold until the investigation clears the results?  Whose special interests are the drafters of the MCA Constitution trying to protect here?

      • Where are the clauses in the new MCA Constitution that prohibit insider information from leaking out of the Elections and Memberships Committees during voter registration and vote casting that give certain underground groups unfair advantages over the rest of the MCA Community analogous to insider trading in the stock market?  With the right checks and balances, wouldn’t it be easy for certain groups to make sure they always have an insider on these two specific influential committees to always gauge and out-vote any block vote against them?  Is this how certain groups manage to outvote everyone else by a handful of votes no matter what the voter turnout is?

  7. Allow Service Institutions to Self-Govern:

    • The MCA Constitution still insists that Granada Schools parents cannot vote for their representatives on the School’s Board of Directors unless they become MCA members and that the students’ tuitions do not automatically cover their MCA’s memberships!!  Which means a 16-year old teenager who has nothing to do with Granada School has far more power to exercise when it comes to the future of Granada School than the students’ parents!!

    • Who else would care more about the future, quality and direction of Granada School than Granada’s parents?  Instead of these artificial requirements that only serve special interest groups who are most interested in securing the Principal and VP positions to their group members as pointed out in Suhaib Webb’s daring article, and confirmed by MCA’s Judicial Investigation documented here, shouldn’t the new MCA Constitution let Granada Parents elect their representatives on their Board of Directors irrespective of their MCA membership status?

    • Why is it that when it comes to fundraising, board members demand that *every* one chip in irrespective of their MCA membership status, but when it comes to voting, we want to make it exclusive to the minority?  Why are we so generous when it comes to socializing the costs but insist on privatizing the power grip to certain self-appointed elite groups?

    • How dare the GIS Board Chairman, Khaled Hamade, claim that GIS staff members send their children to other schools when he himself is doing that?  How dare he ask 8th graders to go to Granada’s unestablished High School while sending his son to Harker?  If he is not willing to risk his son’s future, why is he willing to gamble with other students’ futures?  When will board members uphold onto themselves the standards they claim to represent?  Should GIS be lead by people who are willing to walk their talk instead of people talking from both sides of their mouths?

    • The Chairman and Treasurer positions are too important to let board members elect from amongst them.  Why is it that we insist the MCA Community elect its MCA President directly into office but when it comes to the Chairman and Treasurer of Granada School, the two most influential offices, we allow the board to elect them from within themselves, allowing the Principal and VP to influence and top the board towards voting “Administrative Pets” as Granada saw during Khalid Obeid’s and Nihad Mourad’s time.  Where we end up with Chairs who cannot articulate their plans and have no clue which side is up.  Or we swing to the other extreme where someone like Khaled Hamade can surround himself with rubber stampers to secure his uncontested authority on the board.  Fix this problem by allowing all GIS Parents to vote their representatives on the Board and vote the Chairman and Treasurer into their positions and not leave it to internal rigging.

    • The Principal and VP should never be allowed to influence the election of the board of directors at Granada undermining the board from holding them accountable.  There is a reason why MCA’s Judiciary Committee insisted on having Khalid Obeid and Nihad Mourad re-evaluated by an independent third party as they stated here.  Public schools rotate Principals between schools to make sure they never try to overthrow the board through their connections like Khalid Obeid (through Omar Ahmed) and Nihad Mourad (through MAS and Tarek Mourad) did.

    • What GIS needs for its long term stability is a strong board to hold the Principal and VP accountable irrespective of what their uncle wants as in Khalid Obeid’s case or what they husband wants as in Nihad Mourad’s case.  But not swing to the extreme of having the board administer the school themselves.  The Principal should have a term limit to make sure the focus is always on their deliverables not job security.

    • GIS needs internal and external competition to excel.  GIS should have 3 VP’s for K-4, 5-8 Grades and High School who should all report to the Board and be measured against one another staggered in their term limits.  Granada did much better with competition from neighboring schools.

  8. Give the Judiciary Committee the Necessary Power it Needs to Enforce their Rulings:

    • Why did you give the Elections Committee the power to operate independent of the MCA Boards but not the Judiciary Committee?

    • The Judiciary Committee’s power should supersede that of the MCA Boards and President and stay in session until their rulings are enforced on the ground.  The MCA Boards and President should never be allowed to force the Judges to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements that allows them to censor and edit the Judicial Rulings any way they want!!  Not a single Judicial investigation at the MCA was broadcasted to the MCA Community without censorship from the MCA Boards and President!!  Isn’t it time to make sure this never happens?

    • The Judiciary Committee should have the power to remove MCA Board members and President who refuse to abide by their Judicial rulings.

    • The Judiciary Committee should have direct and full access to broadcast to the MCA Community their law-binding rulings the way they decreed without interference, censorship, editing, re-wording or paraphrasing from the MCA Boards and President.

    • Not only should the above be stipulated in the MCA Constitution, but they should be explicitly signed by new board members and the President as a contingency to assuming their office at the MCA to have that legal document in case they refuse to abide by the judges rulings.

    • The Judiciary Committee should always be available to invoke against any officer or employee at the MCA or its Service Institution including the Organization itself.  Otherwise, MCA Presidents like Kamal Koreitum can undermine the judges’ rulings by citing a loophole in the MCA Constitution that the MCA can never be listed as a defendant and therefore the judges’ ruling are non-binding to the Organization!!  These low tactics need to stop now.

    • The new constitution allows the Judiciary Committee to dismiss cases before looking at the evidence.  How can they rule on a matter without looking at the evidence?

    • The Judiciary Committee should have the power to subpoena witnesses to deliver their testimonies.  Witnesses who insist on withholding their testimonies should be held in contempt and be known to the MCA Community they refused to deliver their testimonies.

    • Judges on the Judiciary Committee should never be allowed to cover up their conflicts of interests on the case they are presiding on as Khaled Hamade did.

Most of the names referenced above are still in office as MCA President and board members!!  They have no interest in letting you know any of the above.  If any of these names wish to contest the authenticity of the above, let them call for a public debate at any time and place of their choice.  And if they do not, you should ask why.


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