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Gallup polls have indicated that those who do not know a Muslim are twice as likely to express “a great deal” of prejudice. However, personally knowing a Muslim is not linked to a lower level of prejudice and what really seems to impact one’s perception of a group much more than knowing an individual is having a positive opinion of that group’s distinguishing characteristic, which in this case is the faith of Islam.
In light of the political environment of American Muslims and increasing Islamophobia, from March to November 2011, ING rapidly expanded its network of affiliates from 8 to 22 and are expected to be in 32 regions by mid June, focusing on regions where there’s a high concentration of Muslims. Affiliates are independently operated organizations which duplicate ING’s work in their local regions.
This means that we will go from having a few hundred trained speakers and spokespeople to 2,000+ over the coming year. Each is estimated to speak to at least a thousand people a year, or 2 million people will annually hear a certified ING speaker face-to-face, thereby contributing to the safety of the Muslim community in which these affiliates operate.
ING Affiliates have made significant contributions in their respective communities. ING would like to thank them for their continued hard work and dedication. A special recognition goes to the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta who held their 2011 Building Bridges Dinner in October commemorating their 10th year anniversary and the Islamic Resource Group in Minnesota which also celebrated their 10th year anniversary in November and released an audio project depicting Minnesotan Muslims titled the Muslim Experience in Minnesota.