Interfaith Events Prove Love is Stronger than Hate

Congratulations are in order, but much work
needs to be done to PREVENT bias and discrimination

ING wants to congratulate two American Muslim women who recently won important victories for freedom of expression and conscience. Samanta Elauf, who was denied a job by Abercrombie and Fitch because she wears a headscarf as a religious obligation, won a ruling by the Supreme Court that such discrimination is illegal. Tahera Ahmad, who, likewise wearing a headscarf, was refused an unopened can of Diet Coke on a United Airlines flight for fear that she could use it “as a weapon,” received an apology from the airline, and the offending flight attendant was removed.

Despite the positive outcomes, both cases reflect worsening attitudes towards Muslims and Islam; according to a recent poll, 45% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Muslims. How best to respond? Both scientific studies and common sense say that education and personal contact with members of the group are the most effective counters to prejudice. This makes ING’s work more important than ever.

The following stories highlight just some of the ways ING increases understanding of Muslims and their faith while facilitating interreligious engagement. According to our impact reports, after face-to-face meetings with American Muslims, perceptions of the religion improve dramatically.

The following stories highlight just some of the ways ING increases Islamic and general religious literacy and facilitates interreligious engagement. According to our impact reports, after face-to-face meetings with American Muslims, perceptions of the religion improve dramatically.

Maha Elgenaidi
CEO and Trustee
Click here to read my blog

ING Affiliate in Phoenix Organizes Interfaith Gathering Proving that Love is Stronger than Hate

The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix was recently the target of a hateful, bigoted rally disguised as a free speech event. In response, a crowd of over 800 people gathered at the mosque Monday, June 1st, to affirm that in America, we are stronger when our communities unite across faith lines and show love is a more powerful force than hate. The event was organized by the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona (ISB-AZ), an ING affiliate, in partnership with interfaith groups and other houses of worship in the area.

Visitors brought flowers to help decorate the mosque inside and out. Representatives from many different faith communities spoke at the event and encouraged the crowd to make new friends. Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, noted that he’s received calls and emails of support from his neighborhood and from around the world, saying, “What this shows is that these bigots are the exception. This hate is the exception. A lot of people don’t have the same faith, but when it comes to the freedom to worship, the faith community as a whole stands shoulder to shoulder.”

A lone protester stood outside yelling anti-Islam phrases. As the hundreds of attendees filed in, they waved and said, “We love you, too!”

Here’s a roundup of news reports from the event:

Faith groups hold prayer rally at Phoenix mosque

Rabbis join interfaith rally to show solidarity with Phoenix Muslims

Phoenix interfaith community fills mosque targeted by bikers with “Love Not Hate”

Arizona mosque, site of anti-Islam protest, holds “Love Not Hate” event

You can view more photos at the ISB-AZ’s Facebook page.

Santa Clara University Interfaith Club Presentation

Veteran ING speaker Ismael Nass delivered a presentation on Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith to the Santa Clara University Interfaith Club in which he highlighted important beliefs and practices and responded to common questions about Muslims today.

Multicultural Day Presentation at FAME

ING speaker and Content Director Ameena Jandali delivered an overview of Muslim cultures and traditions for a multicultural day at FAME Charter School in San Leandro and was warmly received.

Interfaith Panel on Religion and Extremism

A group of ING speakers presented an interfaith panel on Religion and Extremism at a private high school in San Jose. Each panelist described her or his religion’s mainstream teachings about extremism as well as the actions of extremist adherents that are often at odds with those teachings.

Affiliate News: Cincinnati, OH

President of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati and former ING Ohio Affiliate Director Shakila Ahmad joined other community members to meet with Cincinnati Police Department Chief Jeffrey Blackwell at the Center last week. Shakila also took part in a Cincinnati round table on effective police and law enforcement community relations that was attended by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Community Conversation on
Islamophobia in the South Bay

rehmat zahra
ING board member Rehmat Kharal joined CAIR – San Francisco’s executive director Zahra Billoo for Community Conversation: Chapel Hill Murders, Islamophobia, and Moving Forward at the West Valley Muslim Association in Saratoga. Both participants reflected upon the current anti-Muslim environment and offered some suggestions for responding to Islamophobia both as individuals and as a community before engaging the audience in a town-hall-style discussion.

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Upcoming Major Events

Thursday, June 11 – 10:30 AM
Developing Cultural Competency: Healthcare for the Muslim Patient
CSU Stanislaus Stockton Center – Stockton

Thursday, June 18 – 6 PM
Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith
Holy Names University – Oakland

Wednesday, July 15 – 2:30 PM
Healthcare for the Muslim Patient
Chaplaincy Institute – Berkeley

Saturday, August 15 – 10 AM
Multifaith Panel: Shared Values
Stone Church – San Jose

Saturday, August 22 – 10 AM
Islamic Speakers Bureau Speaker Training
ING – San Jose

Thursday, August 27 – 7 PM
Interfaith Speakers Bureau Speaker Training
ING – San Jose

Friday, September 4 – 9 AM
Countering Stereotypes through Authentic Narratives: Media & Online Curriculum
ING at ISNA Convention – Chicago

Saturday, October 10 – 9:30 AM
INGYouth Training Workshop
Yaseen Burlingame Center – Belmont

Sunday, November 15 – 9:30 AM
Responding to Disaster: How the Faith Community Should Respond to Catastrophes, Personal and Collective
Berkeley Buddhist Temple – Berkeley