AAII News and Views

Welcome to AAII News and Views, an online newsletter of the African American Islamic Institute. This feature is devoted to articles that focus on AAII's activities and accomplishments and highlight AAII's Founder and Chairman's leadership and participation in international events that support AAII's mission. Subscribers to AAII News and Views will receive information as soon as it is reported.



With the permission of Shaykh Mouhammadou Mahy Cisse, Vice President of the African American Islamic Institute (AAII) and Director of AAII”s International Islamic Schools, Nasrul Ilm America has launched a website to raise funds for the  AAII Qur’an School Renovation Project.

The intention of Nasrul Ilm America  is to continue the tradition that AAII’s Founder and Chairman, Shaykh Hassan Cisse (RA) established in Medina Baye, Senegal and that the pioneering students, parents and elders have supported over more than a quarter of a century.

The Qur’an School is in need of structural renovation from its foundation to its roof, to include floors, walls and windows. Donations are sought for the Renovation Project to attain a goal of $100,000 USD, but once the renovations have been made, ongoing monthly support will be essential to maintain the facilities.

Please visit http://www.gofundme.com/62sfw to learn about the proposed renovations and to support AAII’s Qur’an School.


America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA) promotes American volunteerism and international exchange in the Muslim world. Following an extensive review of African American Islamic Institute(AAII) programs, policies and opportunities for volunteerism, America’s Unofficial Ambassadors has chosen AAII for inclusion in its forthcoming “Directory of Recommended Organizations.”  In January, 2011, the AUA will launch its online Directory of approximately 40 organizations that offer “non-specialist opportunities for Americans to volunteer in Muslim-majority countries.”

Based upon a review that included interviews with AAII’s Vice President of Global Affairs, Ayisha R. Jeffries, and several returned AAII volunteers, the AUA is recommending AAII as a “quality organization that provides meaningful opportunities for service.”

AAII looks forward to welcoming new volunteers as a result of this significant endorsement of the opportunities it offers.  Those interested in volunteering with AAII may complete the form on www.aaii.info or www.shifaal-asqam.com to volunteer within the Shifa-al-Asqam Socio-Medical Center.


In an effort to introduce the work of the Shifa-Al-Asqam  Socio
Medical Center to a broader audience and keep the Center’s partners
and supporters informed of its activities, AAII’s President, Imam
Cheikh Tidiane Cisse, authorized the development of a new website
for the Center. 

On October 13, 2010, the new Shifa-Al Aqsam Socio Medical Center
Website was launched at http://shifaalasqam.org

In a telephone interview, Dr. Karimah Joseph, Medical Director of
the Shifa-al-Asqam Socio Medical Center, talked about  the Center’s

AAII N&V: What services does the Center offer?

DR. JOSEPH: The Center provides preventive health care in the
form of prenatal and obstetrical services, early childhood
examinations and immunizations, patient education, as well as
 24 hr. urgent care for injured or critically ill patients.

AAII N&V: What would  you say has been the Center’s most
significant achievement since it began serving this medically
underserved community in the mid 1990’s?

DR. JOSEPH:  Clearly, the significant reduction in maternal
and infant mortality rates in the Kaolack Region has been the
Center’s most significant achievement. We have also made
important strides in improving infectious and chronic disease
outcomes for our patients.

AAII N&V:  To what do you attribute the success of the Center
in carrying out its mission?

DR. JOSEPH:  In addition to the vision of its founder and the
dedication of its staff, a large measure of the Center’s success
is due to its collaborative relationships with local, national and international partners. In addition, an international volunteer
 base  continues to make meaningful contributuons to the
achievement of our goals.

AAII N&V: How can people who wish to support the work of
the Shifa al-Asqam Socio Medical Center contribute?

DR. JOSEPH: Those wishing to contribute to our work can
do so by making a donation to AAII’s PayPal account on
www.aaii.info  and specifying it is for the Shifa al-Aqsam
Socio Medical Center.


The African American Islamic Institute (AAII) African Children’s Medical Network project arranged for a 16 year old Senegalese girl with severe upper orthopedic deformities to receive pro bono care at the Shriners’ Hospital for Children in Springfield, Massachussettes.  In addition to arranging the medical care, AAII found a Senegalese host family to accommodate the patient and her adult traveling companion for the six month stay in the United States from June 4-November 25, 2009.

The team of physicians at the Shriners’ Hospital for Children determined that surgery would not be in the best interest of the patient, and opted instead to provide passive prosthetics and occupational therapy to increase the number of daily living tasks she can perform independently.

AAII’s African Children’s Medial Network project continues to develop relationships with medical institutions to provide pro bono medical interventions for children whose conditions require care not available in their home countries, or that are so expensive as to not be feasible.  In order to do so, AAII contnues to seek support for the African Children’s Medical Network project to cover the cost of airfare, visa application fees and support for the child and accompanying adult while they are in the United States.


A twelve year old Senegalese boy named Mamadou emerged from the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York with a huge smile and the absence of the large nasal encephlocele that has marred his face since birth.  The transformation was the generous gift of Dr. James T. Goodrich, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Dr. David A. Staffenberg, Director of Craniofacial Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Celebrated as the leaders of the medical team that successfully separated conjoined twins in 2005, the world renowned physicians donated their services to remove the encephlocele, insert a bone taken from the skull to construct the bridge of Mamadou’s nose and remove residual excess skin.

This pro bono medical intervention was made possible through the networking activities of the African American Islamic Institute’s (AAII’s) African Children’s Medical Network project, an outgrowth of AAII’s  earlier strategic partnership with Children’s Chance through which the initial contact with Dr. Goodrich was made by Mrs. Dorita Urrata.  The hospital costs associated with Mamadou’s care were contributed by the First Hand Foundation. AAII successfully interacted with the U.S. Embassy in Dakar to facilitate the issuance of their visas to come to the U.S. for medical treatment, raised the funds required to purchase their visa applications and round trip air fare and identified a host for Mamadou and his mother, in whose home they are staying until Mamadou is able to return to Senegal.

Mamadou’s medical condition was brought to the attention of AAII‘s African Children’s Medical Network by Cheikh Saite Sall, President of Assidq Wa Sadiqin, an NGO in Dakar. Once Mamadou has been medically cleared to return to Senegal, he will attend school for the very first time.  An American donor has made a commitment to pay his tuition at the Assidq Wa Sadiqin Islamic School in Dakar, where he will receive both academic and religious education. This family will always be grateful to Drs. Goodrich and Staffenberg and to the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.


On Wednesday, August 13, 2008, the last day of his extraordinary life in this world, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse, Founder/Chairman of the African American Islamic Institute(AAII), completed all of his religious duties as Chief Imam of the Grand Mosque of Medina-Baye.  Most of the rest of that day was spent on the telephone urging his devoted helpers to raise the necessary funds and make the necessary arrangements to ship the fully equipped Mobile Clinic to Senegal that had been donated to AAII by US Doctors for Africa to provide medical care to people in rural communities. None of us fully understood the urgency in his tone as he pressed us to move quickly toward the completion of each assigned task.

On Monday, May 11, 2009,  AAII‘s President and Chief Imam of the  Grand Mosque of Medina-Baye, Imam Cheikh Tidiane Ali Cisse, presented the Mobile Clinic to the St. Christopher/ Iba Mar Diop Medical School of the University of El Hadj Sheikh Ibrahim Niass in Dakar, Senegal as a gift from Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse.


The ceremony was presided over by Imam CheikhTidiane Ali Cisse. This significant occasion was attended by Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse, Director of AAII and Director of AAII‘s International Islamic Studies Program; Cheikh Diery Cisse, Executive Secretary to Shaykh Hassan Cisse; Mustapha Sane, AAII Secretary, Ayisha R. Jeffries, AAII Vice President of External Affairs; Moussa Mbaye, Cabinet Director of the Senegalese Ministry of Health; foamed Mbaye, General Secretary of the Senegalese Ministry of Health, Prevention and Public Hygiene; Professor Pierre Ndiaye, Dean of the Universityof Elhadj Sheikh Ibrahim University; Professor Elhadj Ibrahima Diop, Prinical Administrator, St. Christopher/Iba Mar Diop Medical School; Allassane Dialy Ndiaye of the Academy of Science; Mauritanian scholars, members of the American  community in Medina-Baye and many of Shaykh Hassan Cisse’s family members and disciples.

Cheikh Diery Cisse served as the Master of Ceremonies. In his remarks, he stated that the Mobile Clinic ws the last project Shaykh Hassan Cisse finalized through AAII‘s strategic partnership with US Doctors for Africa (USDFA), and described his efforts to assure its timely shipment to Senegal.  Cheikh Diery Cisse expressed his sincere appreciation to USDFA for the donation of the fully equipped Mobile Clinic and to AmeriCares for providing medicine to AAII for distribution throughout the nation of Senegal.  He said that the combined monetary value of the Mobile Clinic and the medication for its pharmacy is approximately $500,000, but that the value to the people of Senegal is immeasurable.  Cheikh Diery Cisse thanked Imam Cheikh Tidiane Cisse for his vision, practicality and humility as President of AAII in entrusting  the management of teh  Mobile Clinic to the University of Elhadj Sheikh Ibrahim Niass for use by its St. Christopher/Iba Mar Diop Medical School.  Under the leadership of Professor Pierre Ndiaye and Professor El Hadj Ibrahima Diop, medical students and Senegalese physicians will be able to utilize the Mobile Clinic to train in the use of the state of the art equipment and to provide primary and preventive health care to children, adults and elders in rural areas of the country. Cheikh Diery thanked Ayisha Jeffries for her work to make AAII‘s commitment to accessible health care in Senegal a reality by initiating and maintaining AAII‘s stategic partnerships with both USDFA and AmeriCares.

Professor Pierre Ndiaye paid a great tribute to Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse, who was revered in all respects as a religious leader and a great Islamic scholar, and who served the international community without regard to race, ethnicity or nationality with a clear understanding that health and education are the keys to the sustainable development of any nation.  Professor Ndiaye spoke of the significance of the Mobile Clinic as a means of reaching thousands of people throughout Senegal who would not otherwise have access to medical care.

Professor El Hadj Ibrahim Diop discussed the use of the Mobile Clinic, appealing to administrative leaders, city councils and rural communities to make good use of  what he referred to as a “jewel”.He pledged to work closely with them to develop a plan for regularly scheduled visits.

Ayisha R. Jeffries thanked US Doctors for Africa for the Mobile Clinic, and spoke about the strategic partnership between AII and AmeriCares that channels millions of dollars of medication throughout the nation of Senegal.  She thanked both of them on behalf of AAII‘s President and prayed for the strengthening of their good relations in the future to benefit those in Senegal in need of medical care and medicine as a significant way to keep Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse’s legacy alive.

AAII‘s President, Imam Cheikh Tidiane Cisse concluded the ceremony by expressing his appreciation to all the people in Senegal and America who have worked for the achievement of Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse’s goal of providing a Mobile Clinic to the people of Senegal, and prayed for the successful continuation of Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse’s legacy for the benefit of humanity.  He thanked the officials of the Senegalese Ministry of Health and those present and not present who had worked to assist Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse. Finally, he said that Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse was in perfect harmony with the recommendations of the Prophet (SAW).

This article is based upon an article by Momar Cise of Walfadjri newspaper distributed by All Africa Global Media and information provided by AAII staff who were present at the ceremony.


In the autumn of 2008, AAII entered into a strategic partnership with Children’s Chance for the purpose of obtaining free medical care for African children in need of treatment that is not available in their countries. Thus far, we have been able to obtain commitments for free medical care and covered hospital expenses for three patients from Senegal.  The first was from the  Yale University Hand and Comprehensive Microsurgery Center in New Haven, Connecticut to provide multiple surgeries to correct congental bilateral hand deformities. The next was from the  Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York to operate on a boy diagnosed with Frontal Nasal Encephalocele. The most recent is from Pediatric Specialty Care/Orthopedics of the Shriners Hospitals for Children to perform surgery on a girl with bilateral upper extremity deformities.

As the opportunity for medical care in the United States became known, requests for care for children from numerous African nations began to arrive, making it clear that AAII would have to expand its efforts to develop relationships with medical facilities and physicians willing to provide pro bono services. At the same time, other human and financial resources would have to be developed in order to meet the need.

AAII is working to expand its roster of physicans and medical institutions throughout the United States to provide free medical care to African children who would not otherwise have a chance for a normal life.  At the same time, we are developing alliances with other organizations to support this vital work.  In addtion to financial support to cover the cost of air fare and visa applications for the child and an accompanying parent, AAII is working to develop a network of host organizations and families to house the children and their parents during their stay in the U.S.


On February 7, 2009, AAII’s Founder/Chairman was honored for his spiritual leadership and humanitarian work during the Nasrul Ilm America, Inc. First Annual Shaykh Hassan Cisse (RA) Honoring Banquet.  The banquet was held at Windows Over Harlem Restaurant in the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building in the Village of Harlem in New York City.

The Keynote Address was delivered by Shaykh Mouhammadou Mahy Cisse, Director of AAII’s international Islamic Schools Program, beloved brother of Shaykh Hassan Cisse(RA) and one of his closest companions, during which he spoke about Shaykh Hassan’s (RA) love of Islam and generosity.

An Awards Ceremony was held to honor individuals who served Shaykh Hassan Cisse (RA) for the Sake of Allah by helping him to establish the Tariqa Tijaniyya in America as  far back as 1976 and for working to fulfill AAII’s mission. Recipients of a Certificate of Appreciation for Pioneering Service that reads, ” In recognition of your devotion, dedication and service to Shaykh Hassan Cisse (RA)” include: Alhajji Ahmad Dimson (RA), Imam Yusuf Imam (RA), Imam Sayed Abdus-Sallaam, Alh. Abdul Azeem Shabazz, Alh. Abdul Majid Muhammad, Alh. Amin Sharif, Alh. Mustafa Abdul-Azeem, Alh. Babacar Konte, Alh. Aboubacar Cisse, Hajja Kareema Abdul-Kareem and Hajja Ashaki Taha-Cisse.

Shaykh Hassan Cisse’s (RA) humanitarian work as the Founder/Chairman of AAII was presented by Hajja Ashaki Taha-Cisse in a speech that reviewed the organization’s accomplishment under his (RA) leadership in the twenty two years since it was founded. AAII’s commitment to universal education, access to health care, empowerment of women, protection of children, alleviation and extreme hunger and poverty and promotion of peace, and its successful initiatives in each aspect of its mission and the pivotol role Shaykh Hassan Cisse (RA) played in them were recounted.

Many of Shaykh Hassan Cisse’s (RA) American students from New York, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis, Colorado, as well as those originally from Ghana, Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania now living in the U.S., and the well wishes of those who were unable to attend from the United States, Trinidad and various countries in Africa, bore witness to the extraordinary life and great work of this extraordinary man.

*(RA) indicates a person is deceased and means, “May God be pleased with him.”


On November 12, 2008, AAII‘s President, Shaykh Tidiane Ali Cisse, received the President of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency Abdoulaye Wade, in his home in Medina-Baye Kaolack.  President Wade presented his personal condolences and those of the nation of Senegal to Shaykh Tidiane Ali Cisse for the loss of his brother,  AAII‘s Founder, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse, in August of this year, and of his brother Seydina Oumar Cisse shortly thereafter.

In expressing his condolences and friendship, President Wade said that although he had dispatched high level representatives to convey his deep sympathy to Shaykh Tidiani Ali Cisse for these profound losses,  he wished to present his sentiments personally.

President Wade offered his congratulations and best wishes to Shaykh Tidiane Ali Cisse in recognition of his selection as the Chief Imam of the Grand Mosque of Medina, and President of AAII.  The  Senegalese President acknowledged the many ways in which AAII contributes to the health and well being of the people of Senegal through  its medicine distribution program and other health initiatives, to include immunization, promotion of breastfeeding, and the provision of access to care in rural areas.

AAII‘s President expressed his appreciation to President Wade for his gracious visit and reiterated AAII’s commitment to work toward universal education, access to health care, empowerment of women, protection of  children, alleviation of hunger and poverty and promotion of peace.

The cordial meeting concluded with the President of AAII and the President of the Republic of Senegal pledging their continued cooperation on behalf of the people of Senegal.


AAII has entered into a strategic partnership with Children’s Chance, a U.S. humanitarian  organization devoted to bringing children  in developing nations with severe illnesses or deformities  to the United States for medical treatment .

Through the tireless efforts of its  Director, Mrs. Dorita Urrata,  an extensive network of committed hospitals and a multidisciplinary cadre of physicians, Children’s Chance arranges for  free medical care for children of the global South that would not be available in their home countries.

In partnering with AAII,  Children’s Chance is opening an opportunity for Senegalese children to be treated for life threatening illness and debilitating conditions through an established process of referral .  AAII’s role is to raise funds to support the travel and living expenses of each child and an accompanying parent and to help with the coordination of their living accommodations.

To meet this challenge, AAII has named AbdulMalik Negedu ” Director of Inter-Organizational Relations.”  His primary responsibilities are to serve as a liaison between AAII and Children’s Chance and to develop and implement fundraising presentations to charitable organizations to support  a shared commitment to bringing sick children to the U.S. for medical care.

AAII‘s strategic partnership with Children’s Chance reflects the vision of AAII’s Founder for collaboration between Americans and Africans for the benefit of those most in need. This collaborative endeavor  is unique among AAII’s initiatives in that its implementation occurs in the United States for the benefit of African children.

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