He was considered an important religious leader throughout the city of Savannah, despite the fact he often said his religion was misunderstood. Imam Maajid Ali passed away over the weekend after serving for 42 years at Mosque Masjid Jihad, the oldest Mosque in Savannah and the Lowcountry.
“I grieve his death and his Mosque has lost a wise teacher. The city has lost an important community leader and I feel like I’ve lost a friend,” said Reverend Stephen Williams from First Presbyterian Church in Savannah.
Reverend Williams recalled that in 2001, just a few days after 9-11 that he and Imam Maajid Ali held a community prayer service at the First Presbyterian Church. Williams said it was just one example of how the Imam took every opportunity to educate others about his religion.
“We really feel like the city has lost an important leader,” said Williams.
We talked to the Imam over the years, often about terrorism. In 2014 he told me “I have just as much condemnation against these behaviors and actions as any other decent minder person would have.”
A close friend of the Imam’s, Lester Johnson, told me the Imam “never resented being questioned by the media if something happened, but rather that the Imam relished the opportunity to give a more correct version of the religion that meant so much to him.”
Johnson said he had grown up with the Imam and also ended up converting to Islam later in life. He said the Imam “was interested in social justice and equality in the early 70’s and found meaning in the teachings of Islam.”
Johnson told us there is a prayer service Tuesday at 1:30 p.m at Mosque Masjid Jihad located at 117 E 34th Street in Savannah.
He said the facility is not large but the service will be shot. Johnson also told because of the Imam’s great popularity, especially in the religious community, that a community service may be held at a later date.
He also said the family would appreciate donations to the Mosque in lieu of flowers.