Omar Jaleel Hazim, the Iman of the Islamic Center of Topeka, visited Lawrence Central Rotary Club to talk about his faith and the activities of the Center. The Iman accepted Islam in 1962 and studied under the guidance of Elijah Muhammad.
This branch of Islam had a strong Black Nationalism component that appealed to a young Black man growing up in an unjust society. In the 1970’sOmar Jaleel Hazim accepted a mainstream belief in the faith. He is a builder by trade and has helped to establish many Mosques and Islamic Community Centers in the Kansas City area. The Iman spoke of the belief that the Torah, the Bible, and the Koran are linked and represent a divine message from the creator. He believes that all three faiths share many ideas and values. He noted that many of the perceived negative elements of Islam, like the repression of women, are cultural expressions and not part of the true faith. The Iman has dedicated his time and energy to teaching and dispelling misconceptions about Islam.
Hazim was the first Muslim to give the invocation in the Kansas House of Representatives. He has served on the Board of Directors of Interfaith Topeka, Inc. and as the Islamic Advisor to the Kansas Department of Corrections. He is an active speaker and has numerous publications, including the book “Islam in the Heartland of America.” The Iman was asked if his community has been targeted for abuse, and he said the Islamic Center and people in the Topeka Islamic community have largely escaped that kind if attention.
For more information about the Islamic Center of Topeka – visit their website at http://wp.topekamosque.org/ and the Imam Hazim’s book is available in hardback, paperback and Kindle edition on Amazon.