ING Presents to Homeland Security

ING Trainer Conducts Training for ING Affiliate in Minnesota, 8/11/07

On Saturday, August 11, ING trainer and veteran speaker Fouzi Husaini conducted a training session in Fridley, Minnesota for ING affiliate, the Islamic Resources Group (IRG), which serves the Twin Cities areas. The purpose of the event was to train IRG speakers in presenting ING’s two newest presentations; “The Roots of Islam in America” and “Islamic Contributions to Civilization. “ Everyone who attended expressed their commitment to becoming certified in both presentations. The IRG has been affiliated with ING since 1999, and has an active and highly committed speakers’ bureau that regionally delivers over 350 educational presentations a year about Islam and Muslim, which are attended by approximately 17,000 Americans of other faiths. ING Trainer Conducts Educator’s Workshop for UCSC Extension, 8/7/07

On Tuesday, August 7th, an ING trainer conducted ING’s Educator’s Workshop titled, “Cultural and Historical Studies on Islam, Muslims, and the Muslim World” for teachers from various grade levels for a UC Santa Cruz extension course. The workshop addressed the challenge of objectively teaching about Islam in the context of history and social studies, while preventing prejudice towards Arab and Muslim students in the classroom despite contemporary news and daily media coverage about conflict in the Middle East and the Muslim world. The session began with an overview on Islam and Muslims, and then moved into related areas that were the topic of nearly an hour of Q & A. The teachers in the audience had numerous questions about Islam, mainly the most common ones about conflict and related issues. At the conclusion of the class, the instructor praised the ING speaker for his answers to the many challenging questions, which, as she commented, “were handled with dignity and poise.” In today’s current environment, it takes a skilled and well-trained speaker to address the many issues that are daily topics of news stories about Islam and Muslims, and ING speakers have the necessary experience to do so with grace and tact. If you’re interested in joining any of ING’s speakers bureaus, please contact ING’s Associate Director, Julie Laursen, at [email protected].

ING Interfaith Coordinator Describes ING’s Interfaith Work to Jewish Community Relations Council, 8/6/07

On Monday, August 6, ING’s Interfaith Coordinator, Yasmine Khan, spoke to the Jewish Community Relations Council-East Bay about ING’s past and emerging interfaith work. Before a group of about 25 Council board members, Yasmine opened her talk by discussing ING’s mission, and then described ING’s impetus for creating the Interfaith Coordinator position last fall. She discussed ING’s past interfaith events, such as the Interfaith dinner during last year’s Ramadan, and the Spring 2007 Peninsula Interfaith Dialogue Series in San Mateo County, which were funded by the Peninsula Community Foundation. Yasmine also discussed in detail ING’s upcoming projects, such as the Bay Area-wide Day of Interfaith Youth Service, the South Bay Interfaith committee’s “Keep the Diversity, Seek the Harmony” event on October 2nd in San Jose, the Coexistence art project in partnership with the JCRC-Silicon Valley (which will involve Muslim and Jewish school children) and the Interfaith Speakers Bureau, a program for which ING was recently awarded a grant by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. With warm words of support from the JCRC-ING Coalition members who were also present, Yasmine also described the Coalition’s regular meetings and gatherings, such as our visit to the Holocaust exhibit at the Magnus Museum in Berkeley, a Mimouna gathering celebrating good relations between Muslims and Jews, and the Idan Raichel Project’s concert at Stern Grove in San Francisco. The Coalition is also currently collaborating on a series of programs, including dialogues on the “December Dilemma,” (which concerns Muslim and Jewish school children during the Christmas holiday season), Muslim and Jewish perspectives on the environment, and a comparison of Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism. If you’re interested in participating in the ING-JCRC coalition, please contact ING’s Interfaith Coordinator, Yasmine Khan, at [email protected].

ING Speaker Addresses United Church of Christ in La Selva Beach, 8/5/05

ING’s president Maha Elgenaidi addressed the congregation at the United Church of Christ in La Selva Beach, near Monterey, CA on Sunday, August 8th. Her topic was titled “Addressing Compassion, Committing to Peace” where she spoke about Islam’s views on people of other faiths, citing quranic verses and historical examples, as well as skills and strategies that are available in Islamic teachings that help foster peace and harmony rather than conflict and harm in our community. The response and comments to her talk were overwhelming in terms of the positive feedback where people expressed an interest in learning more about Islam from primary sources instead of the news media. ING’s interfaith efforts have become increasingly important this year, and are poised to expand even more in the upcoming academic year.

ING Conducts Speakers Training in Seattle, Washington, 8/4/07

Two ING trainers, husband and wife team, Fouzi Husaini and Reema Qadri conducted a speakers training near Seattle, Washington on Saturday, August 4th. The all day training at a mosque in Redmond included the basic topics covered in a speakers training, such as samples of ING’s presentations, speaker’s tips, First Amendment Center guidelines for speaking about religion in the public square, and a review of answers to frequently asked questions about Islam. The trainees attending were very excited about the possibility of becoming speakers and revitalizing a bureau that had been initiated there a few years ago. If you’re interested in starting a regional speakers bureau based on ING’s model, contact ING’s Partners Coordinator, Azra Husain, at [email protected].

ING Conducts Orientation for Homeland Security, 8/1/07

ING’s president Maha Elgenaidi conducted a presentation titled “Working with Middle Eastern American Communities” for the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, August 1st in San Francisco which was attended by 120 Homeland Security representatives. The presentation focused on providing a better understanding of the community as a means of avoiding potential misunderstandings or conflicts as Homeland Security attempts to do its job. The 45 minutes question and answer session which followed included the usual ones about terrorism, sectarian violence in Iraq, and the role of Wahabism in the Muslim world as well those concerning cultural competency issues. Audience members voiced their appreciation of the trainer’s honesty in addressing these issues, and the Director of the Dept. expressed an interest in hosting further ING presentations to learn more.

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