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ING News & Information
July 2008 Highlights
In this Edition:
- Mark Your Calendar: Islamic Speakers Bureau Training Workshop, Santa Clara, 8/16/08
- ING Presents at “Embracing an Interfaith Future: NAIN Connect 2008,” San Francisco, 7/25-26/08
- ING Participates in Council on Foreign Relations Summer Workshop, NYC, 7/15-16/08
- “Interacting with the American Muslim Community,” San Francisco Police Department, 7/09/08
- “Getting to Know American Muslims & their Faith,” Salinas Adult School, 7/09/08
- ING’s President Speaks at Texas Regional Conference, 7/04 – 7/06/08
- Thank you for your support!
Mark Your Calendar:
Islamic Speakers Bureau Training Workshop
Saturday, August 16, 2008
10:00 am – 4:30pm
Muslim Community Association (MCA)
3003 Scott Blvd, Santa Clara, CA
Do you or someone you know have a knack for speaking? Do you enjoy teaching youth and adults? If so, ING is hosting a training workshop to recruit new speaker volunteers for the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB). Certified speakers deliver onsite presentations at schools, universities, health care and law enforcement agencies, corporations and other institutions.
As an ISB speaker, you can help change attitudes, promote a better understanding of Islam and Muslims through education and build bridges among people of all faiths and none. ING speakers receive presentation materials developed by scholars, learn to speak to public audiences, and can improve their speaking skills in the process.
To join the Islamic Speakers Bureau, register for the speaker training workshop on Saturday, August 16 at: https://ing.org/events/events.asp?num=601
ING Presents at “Embracing an Interfaith Future: NAIN Connect 2008,” San Francisco, 7/25-26/08
ING staff member Grace Fong, and long time speaker Fouzi Husaini took part in a unique interfaith conference on July 25 and 26th at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Center. The North American Interfaith Network, or NAIN’s annual conference was hosted by the Interfaith Chapel at the Presidio. NAIN’s goal is to build positive networks among believers of all kinds, and to that end, over 150 religious leaders of various faiths came together to “discuss topics ranging from how to discuss theology, such as the acceptability of using a term like “God,” to figuring out ways that religious groups can work together on common issues, like the environment,” according to an article on the conference in the San Francisco Chronicle. ING shared its work on changing attitudes and building bridges in two sessions, where Fouzi presented as part of a plenary session on Friday, and both Grace and Fouzi delivered an interactive workshop on Saturday, about the beginnings and future of ING, and its two main programs: the Islamic Speakers Bureau and Interfaith Speakers Bureau. Fouzi highlighted some of the ING’s new interfaith oriented content in the updated presentation “Getting to Know American Muslims and their Faith.” Audience members were very interested in ING’s work, particularly its focus on interfaith education, and plied both speakers with questions about the organization. Supporting and expanding interfaith efforts, like those of ING is precisely the goal of NAIN, and its hope for the future.
ING Participates in Council on Foreign Relations Summer Workshop, NYC, 7/15-16/08
On Tuesday & Wednesday, July 15 & 16, ING’s president, Maha ElGenaidi participated in the Council on Foreign Relations “2008 Religion and Foreign Policy Summer Workshop” in New York City. Panels and speakers included Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) who spoke on “Foreign Policy Challenges Facing the Next Administration”; Luis Hugo, Director of Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life; Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow of Hudson Institute; and, Krista Tippett, Host and Producer of “Speaking of Faith” who spoke on “Mapping Religious Trends in America and Abroad”; Vali Nasr, Adjunct Senior Fellow For Middle Eastern Studies of CFR and Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland who spoke on “Conflict in the Middle East”. Breakout sessions consisted of discussion among the speakers and more than fifty invited guests who are prominent interfaith leaders from across the country.
“Interacting with the American Muslim Community,” San Francisco Police Department, 7/09/08
On Wednesday, July 9th, Ameena Jandali delivered three hour training seminar to a group of officers in training in the San Francisco Police Department. The training titled “Interacting with the American Muslim Community,” has been presented to different classes at the training facility this year, and was well received by the recruits. After going over basic terminology, beliefs and practices, she addressed common stereotypes which were intertwined with questions from the trainees on a wide variety of topics, ranging from perceptions of arranged marriages in Islam, honor killings, and interfaith marriages, to questions about Islamic law and history. After explaining some of the basics about the faith and its practitioners, she went over areas of sensitivity that officers might want to develop cultural competency in including the dress of some Muslim women, gender interaction, religious rituals, and visiting a mosque. The police recruits plied her with questions throughout the presentation, often based on their own experiences or readings about the faith. Even after the training concluded, recruits privately thanked her or voiced additional questions; for most attendees, this was their first opportunity to learn firsthand about a culture they hear much about but knew very little.
“Getting to Know American Muslims and their Faith,” Salinas Adult School, 7/09/08
On Wednesday, July 9th long time ING speaker Nashwan Hamza delivered ING’s presentation titled “Getting to Know American Muslims and their Faith” at the Salinas Adult School. He spoke to a class of ESL students, ranging in age from 17 to 75. After going over basic terminology, beliefs and practices, he addressed audience questions on a wide variety of topics. The presentation at Salinas Adult School was a little different in that all of the students were immigrants and so, while some spoke English, others had a limited command of the language, which gave Nashwan a chance to practice his Spanish. He also emphasized the Arabic origins of many Spanish words and answered their questions about Islamic Spain.
ING’s President Speaks at Texas Regional Conference, 7/04 – 7/06/08
ING’s president, Maha Elgenaidi was a guest speaker at ISNA’s regional conference in Texas over the 4th of July weekend, speaking in several sessions on various topics relating to outreach and other issues. She spoke in the following sessions:
Plenary Session: Serving the Community: From Theory to Practice: In this session, she emphasized that the core function of the mosque should be to follow prophetic traditions which inspire us to do what the prophets did first and foremost in their communities: reaching out to their neighbors and taking care of people. When they build mosques, they built them simply not extravagantly. The focus of all the prophets was serving the community and doing good works, a goal which our mosques should continue to be invested in, as well as building relations with their neighbors
. She also emphasized that in doing outreach, it is very important to impact beliefs, which in turn affect attitudes and behavior.
Workshop: Interfaith Alliances towards the Development of the Faith Community: Before talking about ING’s newly launched Interfaith Speakers Bureau, she emphasized that one should have the right motivations for doing interfaith work; it should not be solely about self interest like security or building alliances to support “us” when we need “them”, nor should it be about “dawa”, which would be equivalent to a Muslim invited to a church only to be handed a pamphlet about Christianity and a Bible. Rather, the motivation should be to increase religious literacy and inter-religious harmony in the community for the common good, and to collaborate on social justice programs and issues of concern to all Americans.
Workshop: The Contemporary View and Role of Muslim Women in the Mosque and Islamic Center: In this workshop, she emphasized utilizing the generally untapped resources in the community who can contribute much needed services to non-profit organizations – educated stay-at-home moms. However, she stressed that the work environment must be flexible enough to accommodate their needs, and cited ING’s “mother friendly” employment policies and environment, with four of ING’s staff being stay at home moms. The remainder of the session focused on questions about the concerns of women in the mosque and community, which consist of issues that need to be addressed at the local and national level.
Workshop: Alternative types of Islamic Schooling: In this session, she emphasized the importance of developing educational programs and curriculum that serve the needs of American born youth. She suggested having parents enroll in classes that enable them to understand their children’s school environment and to help their children reconcile the school environment with their environments at home or the Muslim community. She stressed the need to teach about Islam’s pluralistic attitudes, and the importance of inter-religious education in Islamic schooling in order to develop tolerance of other religions in Muslim children. She also addressed some of the difficult questions about Islam that challenge children, including personal questions about why some don’t date, why some wear hijab, and how to explain their religious practices to friends and teachers. She concluded by enumerating some of the rights of students in public schools, which include a balanced curriculum, freedom of religious practice and speech, and freedom from harassment. Parents also have the right to be partners in their children’s education, and to assured that their children have a safe learning environment for their children.
Plenary Session: The Road Ahead: American Muslim Leadership-Challenges, Opportunities, and Prospects: In this main session, she discussed three major challenges and opportunities for Muslim Americans: addressing public perceptions about Islam; living their faith through doing good works; and maintaining our faith for future generations. She pointed out that public perceptions about Islam and Muslims are getting worse, citing consequences of these perceptions as documented by civil rights organizations. She emphasized that Muslim responses should be to increase religious literacy through education and interfaith work, demonstrating how American values are consistent with Islamic values, and to live the faith by doing good works, which speak louder than any words. She enumerated some of the service projects American Muslims are involved in, such as establishing free health clinics like the Umma, Shifa and Al Huda clinics, feeding the poor and needy and joining humanitarian efforts as in the Katrina relief efforts, and cooperating with interfaith efforts towards economic and social justice at home and abroad. She concluded by addressing the last challenge, maintaining the faith for future generations, where she focused on the importance of inclusion of women, particularly in the mosque, since if they are excluded, then so will their husbands and children who will stop coming to the mosque, and the need for youth programs that are creative and developed by American born individuals.
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