Happy Easter/Passover | Unsung Sheroes of Women’s History Month | Youth Speakers March for Their Lives

Happy Easter and Passover to Our
Jewish and Christian Friends!

This week is holy to both Jews and Christians. It marks the celebration of Pesach, or Passover, for Jews, which starts in the evening of Friday the 30th and commemorates the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt. This is also Holy Week for Christians, when they observe Jesus’ death and resurrection, which started on Palm Sunday and concludes on Easter Sunday, April 1st. We wish Happy Holidays/Chag Sameach to our Jewish and Christian staff, volunteers, and friends!

INGYouth Speakers March for Their Lives

Hundreds of thousands of protesters (many of them young students) thronged in streets across the globe in protests last Saturday at the March for Our Lives to demand action against gun violence in their most ambitious show of strength yet. INGYouth Speaker Soha (pictured above) attended the march in San Jose and said, “I felt super empowered by seeing so many people, especially youth, stand up for what they believe in!”

You can read the INGYouth Speakers’ statement on school violence at our site. Learn more about the INGYouth Program here.

ING in the News

Recognizing the Unsung Sheroes of
Women’s History Month (Patheos AltMuslim)

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, ING Content Director Ameena Jandali published an article at Patheos AltMuslim celebrating the achievements of Muslim women around the world while remembering the many “sheroes” whose stories often go untold:

“Today, when we celebrate women’s contributions, our attention first goes to those women who have ventured into arenas that men have traditionally occupied, often neglecting those who are still contributing to the life-giving and often grueling but unnoticed task of supporting life, family and society. And, as a Muslim woman, I am also painfully aware that the contributions we make to society will be most likely to be recognized if they fit a particular paradigm, generally that which the West deems worthy of celebrating.”

You can read Ameena’s full article at Patheos AltMuslim.

Past Event Highlights

Holy Week, Passover, and Rajab:
On Our Responsibilities Toward the Stranger

Caring for refugees, immigrants, prisoners, and all marginalized people is a central tenet of the world’s religions. Maundy Thursday, when Christians commemorate the Last Supper and the compassionate washing of feet, is an opportunity to live that tenet out loud. Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi joined representatives from local government, including Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, and faith leaders from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions in Morgan Hill today to wash the feet of marginalized people in a show of solidarity. Maha also delivered a short speech on the Islamic perspective of caring for the stranger. You can read Maha’s full speech at our site.

Impossible to Prevent Bullying Without Knowing
What It Looks Like, Says INGYouth Speaker

“What is bullying, anyway? How do you know if you’re being discriminated against?” These aren’t simple questions, so INGYouth speaker Musa helped an assembly of over 250 students understand how to frame different kinds of discrimination in order to understand and prevent it. He also delivered a presentation on the basic beliefs and practices of Islam. It’s so exciting to see young people like Musa stepping up and becoming advocates against bullying and harassment for all students regardless of their faith! Learn more about how you can become a certified youth speaker at our site.

Baptist Seminary Explores How Islamophobia Changes Religion in America

The American Baptist Seminary of the West brought INGYouth Manager Ishaq Pathan in to lead a wide-ranging discussion on the relationship between religion and anti-Muslim bigotry in America for their Religion and Society class. Of particular interest was how recent Islamophobic hate crimes and political rhetoric have impacted American religion. Ishaq noted that, “This is a big problem to address but we have two very, very important tools to eradicate Islamophobia. The first is education on the facts about Islam. The second is the abiding hope in the promise of America as a place where all faiths and none are welcome.” You can learn more about Islamophobia, its impacts, and strategies for pushing back against it with our free public presentation.

“What do you do when your religious holidays aren’t
reflected on your school or work calendar?”

It’s not always easy for practitioners of different religions to live their faith in settings where they’re a minority. Even for some American Christians, conflicts between work, school, and religious holidays can arise. An Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB) panel on “Living the Faith” addressed those concerns and others for a high school sociology class this week. Schedule an IFSB panel for your school or company today!

ING’s Approach to Educating About Islam While
Avoiding Problematic Essentialism of Islam

Many Muslim individuals and organizations are engaged in presenting their faith to the public in a variety of venues. But how is the “Islam” they are presenting defined, and who has the authority to define it? ING Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi explored this question as she presented a paper entitled “Escaping Essentialism: Education Objectively About Islam in a Time of Islamophobia” for the American Academy of Religion Western Region Conference at the Institute for Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. For more on how ING continuously revises our educational content with an inclusive and non-essentialist approach, read an excerpt from Maha’s paper at our Staff Blog.

Islamic Speakers Bureau Trainings:
March 31st (Illinois) and April 28th (Texas)

All it takes to dispel negative stereotypes of Muslims is a ten-minute face-to-face conversation. A pair of upcoming Islamic Speakers Bureau Trainings will provide ordinary Muslims with the tools to answer difficult questions about Islam and to present in schools, churches and other venues about American Muslims. The Al-Azhar Islamic Foundation in Barrington, Illinois will host a training on Saturday, March 31st and the Islamic Association of Collin County (Plano Masjid) in Plano, Texas will host a training on Saturday, April 28th. Register today!

Keynote Address at ISNA Forum Banquet:
March 31st in Rosemont, Illinois

ING Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi will present a keynote address for the Islamic Society of North America’s 19th Annual Education Forum Celebration Banquet. The forum gathers hundreds of teachers, administrators and board members of full-time Islamic schools every year to discuss and exchange ideas pertaining to the further development of Islamic educational institutions in America. This year’s theme is “Faith-Based Education: A Source of Hope and Healing.”

Religion Communicators Council Convention:
April 5th-7th in Atlanta, Georgia

ING Communications Manager Tim Brauhn travels to Atlanta, Georgia next month to represent ING at the annual Religion Communicators Council (RCC) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 1929, the RCC has recognized and cultivated excellence in communications of religious faith and values while advancing the public’s religious literacy. Follow along with the #RCC2018Atlanta hashtag on Twitter!

Dialogue Between Christians and Muslims:
April 11th in Berkeley

ING Content Director Ameena Jandali will participate in this special course unit for the Graduate Theological Union. She will speak on historic and contemporary Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Global Citizenship Conference – Faces of Genocide:
April 12 in Saratoga

ING Interfaith Manager Kate Chance will provide updates on ING content and programs for attendees of West Valley College’s Seventh Annual Global Citizenship Conference. The theme this year is “The Faces of Genocide,” and conference attendees will focus on learning about genocide, its legacies, and what we can do to prevent future atrocities.

Join ING at “Understanding Islam” Series Moderated
by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian

ING is thrilled to announce that our staff members will participate in an upcoming three-part discussion series entitled “Understanding Islam”. All three events will be moderated by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and will be held at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts at 7:00 PM on April 16th, 23rd, and 30th.

Monday, April 16th: What does it mean to be Muslim? The basics.A discussion of Islam as a religion and an identity in modern America and abroad.

Monday, April 23rd: Women and Islam
A discussion of what it means to be a Muslim woman and how Islam intersects with gender in today’s world.

Monday, May 30th: Fear of a Faith: Sharia. Surveillance. Terrorism. The Muslim Ban. What’s real, and what’s not?
A discussion of the policies, politics, and current events that affect U.S. understandings of Islam and Muslims.