Happy Earth Day!

(4/25/07, San Jose) In the News:

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day this year took on a special significance in light of increased awareness and focus on the predicted impact of Global Warming, which has now been scientifically established with near complete unanimity. ING is committed to doing its part in combating Global Warming and preserving the environment by institutionally doing the following:

1) Educating the Muslim public through content we developed that addresses “Islamic perspectives on the Environment.” Presentations and discussions were delivered to two Bay Area Muslim organizations so far. The same content is also available for interfaith panels and other types of gatherings.

2) Adopting an Environment-Friendly Policy in January 2007 for its employees and volunteers. For more information and to consider adopting the same policy for your organization, please see: ING Adopts an Environmental Policy

Recent Events of Note:

ING Takes Part in Non Violence Conference & Youth Leadership Summit, 4/21/07

ING was one of the many faith and other organizations sponsoring Saturday’s day long “Carry the Vision” Community Non Violence Conference & Youth Leadership Summit which took place at Evergreen College in San Jose on Saturday, April 21st. Yasmine Khan, ING’s Interfaith coordinator was one of the organizers of the youth portion of the event, and spent the day coaching young people from various backgrounds as they brainstormed and shared ideas on applying non-violence in today’s world. ING’s President, Maha Elgenaidi was one of the speakers on the Community Panel that also included Chief Rob Davis, San Jose PD; Rabbi Dana Magat, Temple Emanu-El; and Enrique Flores, from East Side Heroes.

The conference, now in its fifth year, had a special sense of urgency this year in the wake of last week’s Virginia Tech shootings. The event was attended by over 800 adults and youth from diverse ethnic, racial, religious, spiritual traditions and cultural backgrounds, and focused on building a culture of peace and promoting skills for nonviolence. Participants were introduced to key concepts of nonviolence as a way of overcoming habitual violent coping mechanisms in society and committed to a common goal: “to overcome violence by the power of nonviolence, and to realize the potential of our human family to build a world that supports the well-being of all.”

The conference drew upon the wisdom and inspiration of three great leaders who brought about socially beneficial change through nonviolent means: Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. Dr. King’s eldest daughter, Yolanda King and Azim Khamisa were the keynote speakers, offering their inspiration and guidance to participants. Participants left the conference motivated and renewed in their commitment to non-violence. For more information, see: www.carrythevision.org. For news story, see: http://www.mercurynews.com/search/ci_5726621

ING Participates in Living Legends of Nonviolence Conference, 4/20-4/21/07

ING’s Interfaith coordinator, Yasmine Khan was one of the organizers and facilitators of the Living Legends of Nonviolence Conference in San Jose on Friday, April 20th. The “Living Legends” are family members and contemporaries representing the Gandhi, King and Chavez legacies in promoting nonviolent social change; and the event was graced by members of all three families.

Yasmine had previously worked with many of youth participating in the conference at a day long retreat a month ago. During one of the breakout sessions at Friday’s conference, she joined the six other Carry the Vision youth core leadership team members in a mock press conference, where participants had the opportunity to ask the “Living Legends” questions on behalf of the 50-60 youth delegates gathered that day. In the afternoon, the youth delegates convened to draft their commitment/vision statement of a model for 21st century leadership, based on the power of nonviolence to bring about positive change.

The conference concluded with a formal banquet that evening that was attended by participants, the “Living Legends”, city dignitaries, community leaders, and youth delegates. Yasmine and another member of the youth core leadership team presented the vision statement on behalf of all the youth. This vision statement also became part of the opening ceremony the next morning, when it was presented again to the greater Santa Clara County community that convened for Carry the Vision Conference described above. See: www.agnt.org/peacetrain

ING Participates in the SVCCJ’s 42nd Annual Gala, 4/21/07

ING participated in the Silicon Valley Conference for Community & Justice’s 42nd Annual Gala Saturday evening on April 21st in San Jose. The Silicon Valley Conference for Community & Justice was founded in 1965 as the regional office of The National Conference of Christians and Jews, and is a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry and racism in the South Bay Area and Northern California. ING has long been one of the SVCCJ’s many interfaith partners.

Saturday’s event was attended by around 600 people from a variety of backgrounds, including corporations, non-profit agencies, and faith based communities. Honored at this year’s event with the 2007 SVCCJ Exemplary Community Leadership Awards were Norman Mineta, former Transportation Secretary; Dr. Jay Pinson, President of LifeLine Technologies; and Dan Warmenhoven, CEO of Network Appliance, and his wife, Charmaine. ING’s President, Maha Elgenaidi joined representatives from three other faith groups in giving convocation at the event, reading from Quranic verses 2:62 and 2:148 which affirm Islam’s pluralistic view of other faiths, and then sharing an opening blessing before dinner.

ING Speaker Joins Panel on Women in Islam in Santa Rosa, 4/22/07

ING speaker, Ameena Jandali joined three local Muslim women in a panel on Women in Islam on Sunday afternoon, April 22nd at Santa Rosa College. The event was sponsored by the Islamic Society of Santa Rosa and was advertised the previous day by an op-ed piece in the local paper by the organizer, Naheed Ali. See: http://www1.pressdemocrat.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070421/NEWS/704210319&SearchID=73278950626839

Ameena began the discussion with a brief overview about some of the sources of stereotyping, as well as the practices of some Muslims, which are often based more on culture than religion. She cited the many Qur’anic verses that emphasize the equality of the genders before explaining a few of the most pervasive misconceptions, such as the reason behind the modest dress worn by many Muslim women known as hijab. The three other panelists then gave their perspective or story, including why they chose to wear the hijab. Following the presentation, the audience of about 100 people plied the speakers with a variety of questions, ranging from topics relating to women to questions about prayer and jihad. Many audience members expressed their support and appreciation for the event, and their desire for more events and opportunities for learning and exchange.