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ING’s interfaith allies join us in condemning anti-Muslim violence this week. We deeply appreciate their quick action and friendship. Below, you can read the full statements as well as link to the corresponding organizations’ websites.
- Congressman Mike Honda
- Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley
- Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
- Jewish Community Relations Council – San Francisco
- Hindu American Foundation
According to the lessons of our religions, the laws of our land, and the moral code of the universe, we truly are each others’ keepers. May it always be thus.
Community Town Hall Meeting Highlights
Strategies for Handling Grief and Tragedy
This past Monday, February 16th, around 150 people attended a Community Town Hall titled “Healing from Tragedy, Reviving Our Faith,” sponsored by ING and CAIR-SFBA. The Muslim Community Association hosted the event.
Maha Elgenaidi of ING and Zahra Billoo of CAIR-SFBA moderated a panel featuring Imam Tahir Anwar and mental health professionals Ahsan Shaikh, Heba El-Haddad, and Rania Awaad.
After short introductions from the panelists, many in the audience aired their concerns and grievances regarding the recent Chapel Hill murders and other anti-Muslim violence and hate crimes.
The response of the Barakat and Abu-Salha families has been nothing short of saintly. Their gracious, dignified approach to the media firestorm stands as an example of the wonderful people they are and of what American Muslims, and people of all faiths, should strive to be.
The Quba Islamic Institute likewise set an example in its response to hateful comments surrounding a recent fire that destroyed one of their buildings. By acting graciously with compassion and forgiveness, the Quba Institute turned anger on its head.
Panelists and audience stressed the complementary ideas of education and interfaith engagement, with a special focus on the difference that Muslims can make by reaching out to their neighbors of other faiths, as key elements in combating intolerance.
As we learned new strategies for handling grief and tragedy in our lives, many found the event to be very therapeutic. We hope to replicate this model in Community Town Hall meetings across the Bay Area, For more information, contact Maha Elgenaidi ([email protected]) or Zahra Billoo ([email protected]).
Another town hall meeting is planned in San Francisco this Sunday, February 22nd, from 12:15-1:30 pm with both Maha and Zahra. For more information, go here.
Three ING Speakers Bureau Trainings in February
Here is your opportunity to become a certified speaker for ING or any of its Affiliates. Help clarify misconceptions while educating about Muslims and their faith in a variety of public settings including schools, universities, churches, houses of worship, and civic organizations.
The Bay Area training will be held at the ING office in San Jose, CA from 10 am to 3 pm on February 21st. Register online for this workshop.
The New York training will be held from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm in Manhattan on February 28th. Register online for this workshop.
The Phoenix, Arizona training will be held from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm on February 28th. Register online for this workshop.
Nationwide Canned Food Drive in
Memory of Slain Chapel Hill Muslims
Feed Their Legacy is a national movement by American Muslims to collect and distribute food to the hungry. The drive honors the memory of Deah and Yusor Barakat and Razan Abu-Salha. Deah’s last Facebook post described his work leading an initiative to feed the homeless in Durham, NC and provide them free dental supplies. In the spirit of this post and to continue Yusor and Razan’s legacy, ING and its Affiliates, many of whom are participating in this initiative, invite you to join us. Visit FeedTheirLegacy.com for more information.
The Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta, an ING Affiliate, leads and participates with many community outreach programs. For the past 7 years, the ISB has lead the Muslim Community Food Drive, “Being Your Neighbors’ Keeper” to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. This year, they have dedicated the annual food drive to honor Deah, Yusor, and Razan. You can read more about their efforts here.
Affiliate News: New Jersey
Speakers from the New Jersey Islamic Networks Group recently participated in “Courage Under Fire”, a panel discussion on freedom of speech with an audience of journalists. ING speakers had a discussion with local journalists who were interested in Muslim reactions to the Charlie Hebdo murders. After reading the official ING statement, they spoke on the legal importance of free speech.
One speaker noted, “Even though the images are unpalatable to us as individuals, we uphold the position of never responding to insult with violence,” before comparing it to the controversy involving Florida pastor Terry Jones, who aimed to insult Muslims by burning Qurans. In such situations violence is always uncalled for. The conversation revolved around the Prophet’s reaction of peace in the face of the worst insults, and that Islam calls for responding to insulting statements in a peaceful manner.
The audience also discussed Islam in the media, with some alleging that the media isn’t particularly biased in the way that Muslims are portrayed, while others suggested that there is an obvious and undeniable bias in the media. Some suggested that the media and viewers are collectively responsible for the toleration of such bias.