MEC was founded to attract, screen, support, and endorse Muslim chaplains for placement in public and private institutions; and to provide advisement on religious matters to institutions.
To maintain, reinforce, and improve quality standards of spiritual care for people in public and private institutions.
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. MEC serves to manifest the Qur’anic enjoinment and Prophetic traditions of consultation and consensus as also practiced by the four rightly guided caliphs. It strives to represent the diversity within the Muslim community in the United States.
For more than 15 years prior to the establishment of the Muslim Endorsement Council of Connecticut (MECC) Inc., Connecticut Islamic prison chaplains and volunteers would meet to discuss establishing a support group for Islamic chaplains and their clients. Such an effort coalesced in March of 2006 when several Muslim leaders in the state of CT in cooperation with the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut (MCCT) decided to look at the issue by establishing a chaplaincy sub-committee. With the advice and support of 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), MECC was established in March 2010 (Rabi Al-Awwal 1431). MECC changed its name to the Muslim Endorsement Council Inc (MEC) in February 2020 (Jumada Al-Akhirah 1441)
1. The committee attempted to contact every Islamic center in CT. It ultimately contacted more than 70% of the approximately 42 centers.
2. The committee made contact with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc (ACPE), and began encouraging CT Muslims to get clinical pastoral education training.
3. The committee held several statewide meetings where the leadership of the Islamic centers was invited to give feedback and advice on the issue of endorsing chaplains. The Islamic centers elected an endorsing body/board in March 2010 (Rabi al-Awal 1431), thereby establishing the Muslim Endorsement Council of CT (MECC).
4. MECC was incorporated in March 2011 and applied for and 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.
5. 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.
6. MECC organized the National Shura and Best Practices on Chaplaincy and Muslim Seminary Workshops that were held on March 5, 2011, at Yale University. It was a successful effort to broaden the Muslim and non-Muslim input into these projects as well as increase the Muslim community’s knowledge about the processes of establishing an endorsement entity and a seminary.
7. 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 broadening 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 the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Other organizations such as Hadi Initiative and the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC) subsequently joined in the conversation around in 2018/2019.
8. 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, including adding a member of AMC to the interview procedure of future endorsement candidates 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.
MEC is looking forward to the future growth of Muslim chaplains with a renewed commitment to being the national standard-bearer for endorsement, and consistency and integrity in the field of Islamic chaplaincy.