Feminism in Islam

ING News & Information, 3/19/08

In this Edition:

  • Still Accepting Applications for The Unity Program for Abraham’s Vision
  • In the News: National Muslim-Christian Understanding Initiative Launches in N. America
  • ING Participates in “Not in Our Town,” Silicon Valley Community Foundation Panel, 3/13/08
  • “The Pluralism in Islam” Presentation at Jewish Congregation Emeth, Gilroy, 3/08/08
  • “Speakers Bureau Training” for SALAAM, Sacramento, 3/08/08
  • ING Visit to Cedar Rapids, Home of the “Mother Mosque,” 3/07 – 3/08/08
  • Castro Valley High School’s Days of Diversity, 3/06 – 3/07/08
  • “Feminism in Islam” Presentation at UC Santa Cruz, 3/06/08
  • “Orientation on Islam & Muslims” Presentation for Sons in Retirement (SIR), 3/05/08
  • “Islamic Contributions to Civilization” Presentation at Alhambra High School, 3/05/08
  • Thank You for Your Support!

Still Accepting Applications:

The Unity Program for Abraham’s Vision is extending its application deadline for another ten days. Applications are being accepted from Jewish and Muslim students ages 16-18 for attending a high school course designed to educate students about Islam and Judaism while strengthening the relationships students have to their own religious traditions. The course examines the relationship between Islam and Judaism, the historical relationship between Muslims and Jews, and issues within North American Jewish and Muslim communities. Each of these components deepens students’ understandings of Jewish and Muslim individual and group identities in contemporary society as well as the textual, ideological, and historical relationship between and within each religious tradition. To download the application, visit the Abraham’s Vision website at: http://www.abrahamsvision.org/ourprograms/interfaithprograms/unityprogram/

In the News:

National Muslim-Christian Initiative Launches in N. America
By Ethan Cole, Christian Post reporter, Sunday, March 09, 2008

“Christian and Muslim leaders met this past week to launch the National Muslim-Christian Initiative in North America aimed at facilitating greater understanding between the two religious communities. Representatives of several Christian groups, including the Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, consultant for interfaith relations for the Episcopal Church, and Dr. Peter Makari, co-chair of the National Council of Churches’ Interfaith Relations Commission, were present at the meeting held near Washington, D.C…The initiative’s mission, as stated in its mission statement adopted this past week, is to ‘enhance mutual understanding, respect, appreciation and support of what is sacred for each other through dialogue, education and sustained visible encounters that foster and nurture relationships.’ Representatives at the meeting discussed their desire for relationships of trust between the two communities, and to explore areas of common concern and understanding.” To see the entire article, go to: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080309/31467.htm

Events of Interest:

ING Participates in “Not in Our Town,” Silicon Valley Community Foundation Panel, 3/13/08

ING’s president, Maha Elgenaidi joined a panel of speakers at the Palo Alto Art Center addressing the topic of “Beyond Us and Them: Confronting Hidden Bias in Our Community.” The speakers all emphasized the importance of acknowledging and embracing the diversity in our community. In a plenary session, Maha described the impact of bias and hate upon the Muslim & Arab American communities, citing statistics on the rise in civil rights complaints in recent years in schools, workplaces, etc. Among the over 150 attendees were community leaders from different sectors, including law enforcement, education and government.

“The Pluralism in Islam” Presentation at Jewish Congregation Emeth, Gilroy, 3/08/08

An ING speaker delivered an Orientation on Islam and Muslims as well as the pluralism in Islam to Jewish Congregation Emeth in Gilroy on Saturday, March 8th in the evening to a group of Jewish residents in the Gilroy area who had attended a previous presentation on the subject but wanted to learn more about Islam’s relations with Judaism, pluralism and other religions. We hope this will be the first few of many conversations between Jews and Muslims in the region.

“Speakers Bureau Training” for SALAAM, Sacramento, 3/08/08

Fouzi Husaini conducted an Islamic Speakers Bureau training for members of the SALAAM Islamic Center in Sacramento on Saturday, March 8th. SALAAM is a very active community that has long been involved in outreach, and was one of the first groups to be trained by ING nearly 10 years ago. Saturday’s training involved some of the older generation as well as many young people eager to get involved in educating others about Islam and Muslims and building bridges between Muslims and Americans of others faiths in the region.

ING Visit to Cedar Rapids, Home of the “Mother Mosque,” 3/07 – 3/08/08

ING speaker Ameena Jandali visited the Cedar Rapids Muslim community over the weekend to describe ING’s work and encourage the community to regain some of the momentum they formally possessed as the home of the nation’s “Mother Mosque.” This is the title given to the first continuously used mosque that was first built in 1934 for the community of immigrants that came to the region at the beginning of the century, mainly from the area that became known as Lebanon. When the community built a larger place of worship in 1971, the original mosque was sold and alternately used as a club, a recreational center, and a church. In 1990, after the building fell into extreme disrepair, the Islamic Council of Iowa purchased the Mother Mosque in 1990 and began renovation work immediately, reopening the building in 1991. Today the mosque has been designated an official historical landmark that is a frequented by visitors from around the world. During the two day long series of presentations by Ameena, she met with some of the original community members, many of them now in their late ‘70’s and ‘80’s, who related stories of their childhood growing up in the mosque, which at that time was referred to as the “Islamic Club.” ING’s “Roots of Islam in America” presentation mentions this landmark and its historical significance in the history of Muslims in this land.

Castro Valley High School’s Days of Diversity, 3/06 – 3/07/08

Four ING speakers including Nora Talebi, Amany Ghanem & Uzma Husaini took part in Castro Valley High School’s annual “Days of Diversity “ over a two day period on Thursday and Friday, March 6-7. They were among the many presentations included in the program that ranged from Jewish Life in America and Israel, Latin American Culture, Multi-Cultural Dance, Vietnam War, and Religious Liberty in America, and Iraq Perspectives. Each speaker presented to two classes each, including discussions about post 9/11 experiences, and biases in media reporting concerning Islam and Muslims. The students had little knowledge of the topic, since it was not an area of study in their general classes, which is why many of the teachers chose Islam out of a long list of topics since they felt it was important for people to know the similarities between Islam and Christianity. The students were very engaged and asked good questions, including questions
about terrorism. Some of the classes included adult visitors, including other teachers who also participated and asked questions. This is the fifth year in a row that ING has taken part in Castro Valley’s Days of Diversity; we are grateful for the opportunity to share with others.

“Feminism in Islam” Presentation at UC Santa Cruz, 3/06/08

ING speaker & President, Maha Elgenaidi delivered an overview on “Women in Islam” to an audience of 150 students at UC Santa Cruz on Thursday evening, on March 6th. She addressed the topic of “Feminism in Islam,” defining feminism as a moral philosophy. She began by addressing how according to Islamic teachings, rights of women in law, economics, education, politics, family etc. were revealed by God 1400 ago as transmitted by the Prophet Muhammed and compiled in the Quran, Islam’s primary source. She went on to describe how these rights have been stripped away over the centuries, filtered through multiple social, political and economic factors, and the role of the western media and concepts of feminism in further alienating Muslim women by excluding them from the larger international conversation on women’s inalienable human rights. Following the lecture, the audience plied Maha with questions, ranging from queries about homosexuality, segregation of men and women in sacred spaces, women leading the prayer of men, etc. Prior to the lecture, the organizers, who were all UC Santa Cruz students, recited poetry and showed a video about what Muslims would want Americans of other faiths to know about them. The topic of women in Islam is one of the most frequently requested ones on college campuses due to the numerous stereotypes about the issue. It is also often an emotional topic that arouses strong sentiments in different groups. To arrange for an ING’s “Women in Islam” presentation, please contact Grace Fong at [email protected]  or visit the ING website at: https://ing.org/become-speaker/

“Orientation on Islam & Muslims” for Sons in Retirement (SIR), 3/05/08

An ING speaker delivered an “Orientation on Islam and Muslims in the Context of America’s Religious Pluralism” to Sons in Retirement (SIR) on Wednesday, March, 5th. This presentation has become a recurring event for SIR, and one of the most popular with the retired gentlemen who attend. As always, they plied the speaker with questions about terrorism, women, and other questions about contemporary Muslims.

“Islamic Contributions to Civilization” at Alhambra High School, 3/05/08

An ING speaker delivered a presentation on “Islamic Contributions to Civilization” at Alhambra High School on Wednesday, March 5th to a Cultural Anthropology class of eleventh and twelfth graders. The presentation covers various Muslim contributions, from the mundane, such as food and drink, to the sophisticated, such as algebra and medicine, and emphasizes the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nature of that civilization and its impact on Europe. Students are often surprised to hear about the diversity of contributions, and the sophistication of Muslim culture throughout much of the Middle Ages.

Thank You for Your Support!