Global Warming: Muslim American Responsibility & Response

ING News & Information, 4/09/08

In this Edition:

  • Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 40 Years Later
  • “Islam in the 21st Century,” San Jose State University, 4/7/08
  • “Global Warming and the Environment: Muslim American Responsibility and Response,” Muslim Community Association Family Night, 4/4/08
  • “Working with the Muslim American Community,” San Francisco Police Department, 4/4/08
  • “Women in Islam,” Dominican School in Berkeley, 4/3/08
  • Thank You for Your Support!

In the News:

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 40 Years Later

As the nation commemorated the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King 40 years this past weekend, the questions many may ask are, “How much have things really changed since his death? Are we better off today than 40 years ago?” While the answer is a resounding yes, there are certainly events to make one pause along with many to make one celebrate. Change does not occur overnight, and humans are complex beings. Prejudice and racism have deep-rooted tentacles, and just when one thinks they have been destroyed, they rear their ugly head. But there is much to celebrate on this anniversary and to give us hope that we are moving forward, as we remember his words in his last speech, “I am standing on the mountaintop, looking into the Promised Land. I may not reach there, but the people will.” Hopefully that can happen in our lifetime.

Events of Interest:

“Islam in the 21st Century,” San Jose State University, 4/7/08

An ING speaker delivered an Orientation on Islam and Muslims with an emphasis on Islam in the 21st century to a class on world religions at San Jose State University on Monday, April 7th. For 90 minutes, juniors and seniors plied the speaker with questions on Islamic interpretations in the 21st century with regard to women’s rights, the dichotomy between culture and religion, feminism in Islam, Muslim relations with people of other faiths, scholarship in Islam, preservation of the classical Arabic language, sin and forgiveness, concepts of divine will and free will, life in the hereafter, stereotyping of Muslims, Islamic banking and finance, and spirituality in Islam. We applaud Professor Victoria Rue for engaging her students each year in such stimulating discussions on the world’s religions. ING speakers have been guests in her classrooms on the topic of Islam for the last several years.

“Global Warming and the Environment: Muslim American Responsibility and Response,” Muslim Community Association Family Night, 4/4/08

An ING speaker delivered a presentation on the environment at the MCA on Friday, April 4 for their Family Night. This is one of ING’s newest presentations that was developed to describe Islam’s teachings relating to nature, natural resources, and environmental consciousness and behavior. The presentation emphasizes the numerous references in the Qur’an to nature, conservation and moderation, as well as prophetic sayings such as one of the most often quoted one by ING speakers, “The world is green and beautiful and God has made you stewards towards it.” The presentation then provides guidelines for a more eco-friendly lifestyle in the mosque, at home, while traveling and in one’s purchases. With global warming and the decimation of the environment a threat to the very future of our planet, it is incumbent that everyone plays a part in reducing these threats and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. To that end, ING adopted an “Environmental Friendly” policy last year that includes recycling, reducing energy use, using eco-friendly paper products, and other principles. To see ING’s policy, go to:

“Working with the Muslim American Community,” San Francisco Police Department, 4/4/08

An ING speaker conducted two-hour training for police recruits at the San Francisco Police Department on Friday, April 4th. The training began by defining cultural competency as the awareness, knowledge and practical skills to apply when interacting with diverse cultures and faith communities. A culturally competent person is one who’s free of stereotypes and applies culturally sensitive protocols in service delivery, particularly in non-emergency situations which cover 70-80% of police interactions with the community. The presentation then went on to address terminology such as the differences between the terms Muslim, Islam, Arab and Middle Eastern; common perceptions of Muslims, their sources and consequences, an overview of Muslim culture, stereotypes relating to women’s rights and extremism, the contemporary Muslim world, Muslim demographics both globally and in the U.S. and suggested protocols for interacting with Muslims, both individually and in an organization. These included a discussion on Muslim perceptions of law enforcement, Muslim names, cultural values and practices, protocols for entering homes & mosques, interactions with the opposite gender, dress, language, religious practices and holidays, and handling sacred texts. The presentation ended with questions and answers and a discussion on opportunities for cooperation between law enforcement and the community. The training is part of an effort to expose police recruits to various cultural and ethnic groups, and is an ongoing program of the SFPD.

“Women in Islam,” Dominican School, Berkeley, 4/3/08

An ING speaker spoke to a class on Islam & Muslims at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley on Thursday, April 3rd on the topic of “Women in Islam.” She began by describing some of the challenges in addressing this topic, including the fact that most people are unaware of how modern rights of women are often at odds with theology on women’s rights in their own faith. In the case of Islam, modern day rights of women tend to be far more restrictive than rights of women in Islamic theology and early teachings of Islam which emphasized the equality of men and women before God, and equal rights, duties and responsibilities, including the right to earn and keep their money, inherit, work, seek education and participate in politics and all aspects of society. The speaker went on to explain how the regression in Islamic interpretations took place and what Muslim women are doing today to reclaim those rights based on early teachings of Islam and traditional Islamic theology which was feminist at its core.

Thank You for Your Support!