About MEC

M.E.C - Every Chaplain Counts

We are, on behalf of the larger Islamic community, undertaking the responsibility of ensuring that Muslim men and women who serve as pastoral caregivers are rooted in the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah in their practice and meet the professional standards of pastoral care, and we subsequently endorse and support them professionally as religious leaders.

Our Endorsement

  1. provides public and private institutions with the assurance that their pastoral caregiver is professionally and ecclesiastically qualified and gives them credibility within the diverse American Muslim community as a recognized representative of the community
  2. helps to bring Islam and the perspectives, values, practices of the diverse American Muslim community into the public space in service to the society

Our work is important because it serves and benefits the Muslim community by ensuring that:

  1. Islam is included and suitably represented in public and private institutions as Muslims are involved in service to humanity in the way of Allah (swt) particularly those serving on the front lines in chaplaincy
  2. Muslim men and women who serve as chaplains are:
  • rooted in the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah in their practice and
  • meet the professional standards of pastoral care, and we subsequently endorse and support them professionally as religious leaders
  1. A chaplain has credibility within the diverse American Muslim community as a competent and recognized representative of the community

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide a structure and process for the official endorsement and support of Muslim chaplains based on Islamic and pastoral principles and to establish a national standard for such endorsement in order to develop consistency and integrity in the field of Islamic chaplaincy.

History

MEC was formerly known as the Muslim Endorsement Council of Connecticut (MECC) from 2011 to 2019. For more than 15 years prior to the founding of the Muslim Endorsement Council of Connecticut (MECC), Islamic Prison Chaplains and volunteers from Connecticut (CT) would meet to discuss the creation of a group whose purpose would be to support Islamic chaplains and their clients. In March of 2006, several Muslim leaders in the state of CT, in association with the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut (MCCT), came together and established a sub-committee on chaplaincy. Support and advice were provided by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-CT, the International League of Muslim Women CT Chapter, the Islamic Council of New England (ICNE), the New England Council of Masajid and the New England Muslim Sisters Association (NEMSA).

Our vision is to maintain, reinforce and improve quality standards of spiritual care for people in public and private institutions.

Need

The committee attempted to contact every Islamic center in state of CT. It ultimately contacted more than 70% of the approximately 42 centers at the time. The committee contacted the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc (ACPE), and began encouraging Muslims in CT to get training in clinical pastoral education. The committee also identified the need for endorsement. Consequently, the committee held several statewide meetings where the leaders of Islamic Centers were invited to give feedback and advice on the matter of endorsement.

MECC to MEC

In the period from 2011 to 2019, MECC became an official endorser for the CT Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. MECC also began the process of becoming an official endorser with the Department of Defense. As a result, MECC was increasingly becoming recognized as a national endorsing body. Therefore, MECC began conversations with national organizations in 2015 with a view to broaden the understanding of endorsement and fulfilling its mission to establish a national standard for such endorsement.

Such conversations were held with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Other organizations such as The Hadi Initiative and the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC) subsequently joined in the conversation around in 2018/2019.

The discussions later led MECC to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with AMC in early 2020. The MOU entailed placing a member of AMC on the board of MECC, adding a member of AMC to the interview procedure of future endorsement Applicants of MECC, and uniting in the encouragement of endorsees to become board certified chaplains and further their pursuit of Islamic knowledge through accredited institutions. Also, to reflect the refocused effort to advance endorsement on a national level, MECC changed its name to the Muslim Endorsement Council Inc (MEC) and expanded its board composition to cover not just Connecticut but the entire United States.

Formation of MECC

The committee’s efforts led to the conception of MECC in March 2010 (Rabi al-awal 1431). The Islamic Centers elected an endorsing body board in that month thereby establishing the Muslim Endorsement Council of Connecticut (MECC). In September of 2010, some of the members of the original group saw the need for the establishment of a Muslim American seminary. After consulting Muslim academics, national Muslim organizations and some non-Muslim entities, the decision was made to try to establish a Muslim American seminary as a separate, but related, initiative. The National Shura Conference was subsequently established based on a process developed in consultation with: the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS), International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), International League of Muslim Women – New England Chapter, Islamic Center of New London (ICNL), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief-USA, Islamic Social Services Association-USA (ISSA-USA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Masjid Al-Islam (MAI), Muslim American Society (MAS)-Freedom, Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), New England Council of Masajid, and New England Muslim Sisters Association (NEMSA).

MECC was incorporated in March 2011, applied for, and ultimately received federal 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. In the interim, Masjid Al-Islam Inc. in New Haven CT served as the fiduciary agent for the project.

MECC subsequently organized the National Shura and Best Practices on Chaplaincy and Muslim Seminary Workshops on March 5, 2011, on the campus of Yale University. It was a successful effort in broadening the contributions of Muslim and non-Muslim stakeholders on the matter of chaplaincy, in addition to highlighting the many benefits a Muslim Seminary could offer. The efforts served as an aid in broadening the understanding of endorsement and the organization of a seminary.

Future Growth

MEC is looking forward to the future growth of Muslim chaplains with a renewed commitment to be the national standard bearer for endorsement, and consistency and integrity in the field of Islamic chaplaincy.