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The Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) provides education about Muslim Americans and their faith as a means of clarifying misconceptions and promoting mutual respect and understanding among diverse audiences, including middle and high schools, universities, faith-based and community organizations, and other venues.
ISB speakers deliver a variety of presentations, including “Getting to Know American Muslims and their Faith,” “Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes,” “A History of Muslims in America,” and “Muslim Contributions to Civilization.” Trained speakers deliver these interactive presentations using colorful digital presentations and Q & A with the audience.
Prospective speakers become certified by ING after a rigorous process of professional development, testing, and observation in a live setting by veteran speakers. ING speakers adhere to strict guidelines which are outlined in ING and the First Amendment Center. These guidelines emphasize adherence to the highest level of academic neutrality and objectivity when teaching about religion.
Why should I consider joining the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) and what does it entail?
At a time when Islamophobia and hate rhetoric against Muslim Americans has reached unprecedented levels in recent years, it is critical that Muslim Americans clarify common stereotypes, educate others about their faith, and define themselves, rather than allowing others to define them. With nearly 25 years of experience teaching about religions in numerous venues to diverse audiences ING has both the track record and expertise to do so.
The first step to becoming a speaker is to attend a 4-6 hour training which ING holds twice a year, usually on a Saturday. The training covers presentation scripts and answers to frequently asked questions as well as guidelines for speaking in a public forum. A community member who previously attended ING’s training emphasizes its value: “I did the training couple of years back and it helped me a lot. I would also recommend it even if you are not planning to become a volunteer. It will still help you in your workplace, in your neighborhood, or any other place in clearing misconceptions, stereotyping etc. I feel like doing a refresher training again.”
One of ING’s current speakers describes the value of joining the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB):
“As an ING speaker myself, I speak at middle and high schools and cannot tell you how rewarding it is to supplement existing curriculum through professionally prepared presentations and scripts. Just last week, I spoke at two local high schools: one regular 11th grade and an ESL class. The 30+ students were from Asia and were blown away at how many similarities exist between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The other class had three Muslim kids who thanked me later on for normalizing Muslims, which made them feel good about themselves. I am now able to engage very professionally with anyone on common misconceptions about Islam and drawing parallels between Abrahamic faiths, which not only helps to build bridges and peace but, best of all, respect for Muslim kids who are part of a class you speak at. All thanks to a well organized training by ING! This is imperative especially during these days when ignorance about Islam and misinformation about Muslims is spewing hatred and fear.”
What is Included in the Training?
- Overview of the ISB program
- First Amendment guidelines
- Review of the ISB presentation content
- Overview of speaker certification process