Happy 4th of July from all of us at ING

Salam alaykum/Greetings of peace,

A decade ago, as an immigrant coming to the US at a very young age, the 4th of July became meaningful to me only after I learned that up to 30% of the enslaved Africans were Muslim, and that labor in the South was the economic engine of the nation’s economy in cash crops of cotton, tobacco, and sugar, and that some of the same Muslims even fought against the British in the Revolutionary War. Only then did I, as a Muslim, see myself part of the historical narrative of the US. This brought me a new sense of belonging to America and helped me find a much deeper meaning in the 4th of July holiday. In fact, at that time I wrote a piece about this new sense of being American.

Today, the meaning of Independence Day has changed again for me in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement not only catalayzed the launch of the Intercultural Speakers Bureau program, now in its third year, which brings panels of trained speakers of diverse ethnicities and religions to teach about the history and interconnections of all forms of bigotry and call for concrete actions against it; but it also leads me to hope that in the coming years we can finally break free from the social and mental residue of European colonialism which are the sources of present-day constructions of race and racial hierarchy and the system of white supremacy that still plagues our nation today.

And so I pray that this Independence Day in light of the street protests and racial equity movements in every sector of our society across the country is the beginning of a definitive break from the last remnants of the ugly history of colonialism, and that it represents the rebuilding of a renewed and truly independent nation that lives up to the egalitarian ideals of the Declaration of Independence which proclaims that all human beings are created equal.

Maha Elgenaidi
Executive Director

Welcoming new consultants to ING

We are very pleased to welcome new consultants to ING who are overseeing the review of all of our content to ensure that our representations of Muslim Americans are inclusive of the lived experiences of African American Muslims who comprise 20% to 30% of the Muslim American population. These consultants include:

Mosque leaders:

Imam Faheem Shuaibe
Imam Faheem has been the Resident Imam of Masjidul Waritheen in Oakland, California for 36 years. More.

Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin
Imam Abu Qadir is the Resident Imam for the San Francisco Muslim Community Center for the last 30 years. More.

Prison Chaplaincy:

Imam Muhammad Ali:
Imam Muhammad currently works at Bucknell University in Central Pennsylvania as Chaplain for the Muslim Community and co-directs a mentoring program for underrepresented students. He worked most extensively as a Muslim Chaplain in the California State Prison and serves as VP of Correctional Chaplaincy for The Association of Muslim Chaplains. More.

Scholars:

Dr. Jamillah Karim
Dr. Jamillah is an author and former Professor of Religion at Spelman College. She specializes in Islam and Muslims in the United States (African American, South Asian and Arab), Islamic Feminism, Race and Ethnicity, and Immigration and Transnational Identity. More.

In the coming weeks, we will be adding Latino American Muslim consultants to ensure that our representations of Muslim Americans are also inclusive of their lived experiences.

Launching new webinar series

In service to our ING family of donors, supporters, affiliates and speakers, and for all our allies, we are excited to announce the following educational webinars about African American Muslims. These webinars on Facebook Live will not only address their present experiences and challenges in Muslim American communities, but also their rich history in America and how anti-black racism is directly related to Islamophobia and other forms bigotry towards other marginalized communities such as Asians and Latinx. We welcome your participation and hope that we can all benefit from this knowledge that will help promote greater inclusion, mutual understanding, respect, and harmony in our communities.

Wednesday, July 15, 5-6 pm PDT – A History of Muslims in America 
Speakers: Imam Faheem Shuaibe, Dr. Mansa Bilal King.
Facilitators: Ishaq Pathan, Maha Elgenaidi.

Wednesday, July 29, 5-6 pm PDT – Muslim African American Communities Today
Speakers: Imam Faheem Shuaibe, Dr. Jamillah Karim, Imam Zaid Shakir.
Facilitators: Ishaq Pathan, Maha Elgenaidi.

Wednesday, August 12, 5-6 pm PDT – Roots of Racism and How Structural Racism Functions (an ING Intercultural Panel)
Panelists: Imam Muhammad Ali, Br. Shannon Rivers, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Dr. Hien Do (invited), Dr. Harold Morales (invited), Ishaq Pathan.
Faciliator: Rahimeh Ramezany

Wednesday, August 26, 5-6 pm PDT – Racism in Muslim American Communities
Speakers: Imam Faheem Shuaibe. Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin. Sr. Amelah El-Amin.
Facilitators: Ameena Jandali, Maha Elgenaidi.

Wednesday, September 9, 5-6 pm PDT – Calls to Action – Countering Internalized Racism
Speakers: Imam Zaid Shakir, other speakers TBA.

Register for the series here.