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A St. Helena resident opened his home last Sunday to neighbors who had questions about Islam and Muslims raised by a letter in the local paper about terrorism and the Middle East. ING speaker Ameena Jandali began with a brief overview of the faith and its adherents before opening up for Q & A. While the questions covered many of the usual topics, such as women in Islam, shariah, and terrorism, the attendees displayed an extraordinary tenacity in their essentially Islamophobic attitudes. In particular, they repeatedly insisted that Muslims weren’t doing enough to condemn ISIS, ignoring the steady stream of denunciations of that and other terrorist groups by Muslim organizations and leaders around the world.
That is what we do every day at ING. We go where other Muslims have not gone before. We patiently explain, answer questions, and smile, even when we feel like crying in frustration both from the Muslims who give us such a bad name and from our fellow Americans who are so convinced that what they see daily on Fox News is the one and only truth. This is our task. But we cannot do it alone; we need your support to help us continue this incredibly important work for the future of our children and grandchildren.As the event wound up, however, even some of the most vocal critics voiced their appreciation for this opportunity to learn and share and said they wanted this information made available to all Americans. This experience demonstrated the enormous task faced by American Muslims to overcome the negative perceptions and deeply rooted stereotypes that an increasing number of Americans hold.
Workshop in Dayton, OH
Led by Maha Elgenaidi, the ING team conducted an ING Youth Workshop last weekend in Dayton, Ohio. Nearly 90 people attended the event, including 50 middle and high school students and about 40 parents. Students and parents alike appreciated the event, commenting that they finally have answers to questions about Islam that they themselves have been asking—answers that they can share with Americans of other faiths. Students also appreciated learning about their rights and experiencing presentations that they could use in the classroom.
Parents and youth alike benefit from this day-long workshop that aims to increase their knowledge of their rights as students and parents, their confidence and literacy in responding to questions or giving presentations about Islam, and their ability to confront and respond to the daily barrage of negative media reports about Muslims and their faith.
ING will also be conducting an INGYouth Workshop this weekend in Fremont, California on Saturday, December 13th. To learn more or to register for an upcoming ING workshop visit this page.
ING Speakers Still Busy
Across the Bay Area
I thought the ING Muslim speaker was amazing… There were a lot of things I didn’t know about before she told us, and there were a lot of misconceptions she cleared up for us… We cannot really generalize what all Muslims believe, or what any group of people believes in, because everyone views things differently.
ING speakers delivered presentations to audiences of over 400 students in middle and high schools around the Bay Area last week. Four ING speakers delivered Exploring Muslim Traditions and Practices to 6 different classes in Alameda, Menlo Park and Redwood City; two speakers delivered Getting to Know American Muslims and their Faith to two classes at high schools in Santa Rosa and Santa Clara; and one speaker delivered Muslim Contributions to Civilization to three classes in Alameda and Santa Rosa as well as a presentation on A History of Muslims in the U.S., to a high school in Santa Rosa. In the week before the last, an ING speaker delivered Getting to Know American Muslims and their Faith to a high school literature class that was reading the famous novel A Thousand Splendid Suns as a way of clarifying some of the issues they encountered in the book.