Shazia Kamal Farook
[email protected] – 408 296 7312 ext 270
About Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Islamic Networks Group (ING) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with affiliates around the United States that pursue peace and counter all forms of bigotry through education and interfaith engagement while working within the framework of the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom and pluralism.
Since 1993, ING has countered Islamophobia and prevented discrimination by teaching about Muslim traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity, while building relationships between American Muslims and other groups. That work has never been more important. Public polls show that Americans express the least “warm” feelings toward Muslims, rating them below all other faith groups. And since 2015, a surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes and a near-tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups has put many communities on edge. Fortunately, social science research shows us that all you need to dispel stereotyping and prejudice is a ten-minute non-confrontational encounter with a person from a different background. ING’s own audience surveys confirm those findings: face-to-face interaction with American Muslims is critical to improving public perceptions of Islam.
Leadership: ING values diversity in leadership: Board of Trustees, Board of Directors, staff members. We rely on US-based foundation grants, individual giving, corporate donations, and in-kind partnerships to fund our work.
Programs: ING works through regional volunteers and affiliated organizations across the country to provide thousands of presentations, training seminars/workshops, and panel discussions annually in schools, colleges and universities, law enforcement agencies, corporations, healthcare facilities, and community organizations as part of cultural diversity curricula. The following are our current programs:
- Islamic Speakers Bureau: The Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) provides education about Muslims and their faith and related topics to middle and high schools, as well as to colleges and community groups. In schools and colleges, the program supplements the study of history, world religions, and related topics, while in community groups it fulfills the need for information about a greatly misunderstood topic. Our trained speakers also deliver cultural diversity seminars to law enforcement agencies, education administrators, healthcare providers, and corporate/HR managers to help provide a greater understanding of the American Muslim population while enhancing the level of service in each field. Over the past 25 years, the ISB has delivered around 21,000 presentations in the San Francisco Bay area to a total audience of over one million students and others. ING also manages a nationwide network of affiliates in 30 states and one Canadian province who replicate ING’s content and approach to provide face-to-face education by and about Muslims and Islam.
- Interfaith Speakers Bureau: Initiated in 2007, the Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB) provides educational presentations on various topics related to five major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism), promoting religious literacy and mutual respect among all faiths. Modeled after the Islamic Speakers Bureau, the IFSB organizes panels consisting of two or more representatives of these religions speaking on a variety of topics to schools, colleges, universities, and other venues. IFSB speakers share a brief overview of their faith and then speak on a variety of contemporary topics, including “Living the Faith in the SF Bay Area,” “Shared Values Between Faiths,” and Contemporary Issues such as “Pluralism” and the “Separation of Church and State.” Additionally, the Jewish-Muslim panel addresses common issues related to living as religious minorities in the United States.
- INGYouth: The INGYouth program trains and certifies young American Muslims as speakers to supplement education about Islam and Muslims through informal conversations and student-run presentations, giving students the tools needed to prevent or respond to bullying and equipping Muslim youth to deal with today’s difficult political landscape. It also imparts important skills in public speaking and synthesizing information and connects participants with their peers across doing similar work across the country, thus fostering an increased sense of belonging and community.
- Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters: Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters (KYN-ME) is a national grassroots interfaith program that is the outgrowth of the Know Your Neighbor coalition of around 15 groups that was launched at the White House in December 2015 to work on policy concerning civil rights. Founded on American values of religious freedom, pluralism, and inclusion, and motivated by a desire to build peaceful communities at the grassroots level through community engagement, the KYN-ME program was created by Islamic Networks Group (ING) in February 2016 to promote understanding and mutual respect among Americans of diverse religious and ethical traditions. KYN-ME has grown into a collaborative effort of 75 partners with diverse missions and objectives who work together on social media campaigns that push back against bigotry and discrimination while promoting civil dialogue across differences, building relationships and peaceful communities, and advancing human rights and justice.
Quick Facts About ING
2018 marks ING’s 25th anniversary of delivering educational presentations and products in a variety of settings: classrooms, boardrooms, hospitals, houses of worship, police departments, municipal governments, civic organizations, and more. Its trained presenters have spoken with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States and beyond to give them an overview of who American Muslims are, what they believe, and how they practice their religion. Here are a few highlights from that work:
- Over the past 25 years, ING and its Affiliates’ speakers and panelists have spoken to millions of Americans through thousands of presentations across the country.
- Since 1995, we have trained over 35,000 professionals in law enforcement, education, health care, and business on how to deal sensitively and appropriately with Muslims through Cultural Diversity Seminars. Clients include corporations like Google and the Northern Trust Company, nonprofit organizations like the American Red Cross, government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, and healthcare providers like Kaiser Permanente.
- Educators in 47 states and three Canadian provinces have downloaded ING’s online resources, which include PowerPoint slides and lesson plans of the public presentations that we deliver. These materials are deployed in over 170 American K-12 schools and more than 40 colleges.
- The Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB) offers educational presentations on various topics related to five major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism). Since its founding in 2007, the IFSB has given close to one thousand presentations to over 30,000 students and adults.
- Since 2016, over 250 Muslim teens and their parents across the country have been trained in bullying prevention and school participation through the INGYouth program, and 90 Muslim teens in seven states have been certified as speakers in their schools. So far, 25 of those speakers have delivered more than 40 presentations to audiences of about 7,000 people in various schools around the country.
- The Know Your Neighbor coalition was initiated in 2016 in the White House under the Obama administration and is now led by ING under Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters program. The program involves over 100 local and national faith-based and interfaith organizations whose social media campaigns have so far generated 13.2 million impressions with a reach of just under 7 million people.
- Negative attitudes and prejudice against Islam and Muslims based on misinformation are prevalent in the United States. The Islamic Speakers Bureau provides trained and certified presenters to speak at a personal level about Islam. The audience attitude surveys collected from middle and high schools and universities show the very real impact of those face-to-face presentations:
- Those who believe that Muslims view women as inferior falls by over 70%.
- Those who believe that Islam promotes violence decreases by over 77%.
- Those who see American Muslims as “foreigners who do not speak English” decreases by over 56%.
- The percentage of those recognizing that Muslims have long been part of the history of our country rises by 33%.
Media coverage of ING’s programs and people includes major print and digital outlets across the US and internationally. For the full archive, see ING in the News.
- 8/26/21 – Associated Press – Two decades after 9/11, Muslim Americans still fighting bias
- 3/2/21 – San Jose Spotlight – New hate task force in Santa Clara County launches as incidents rise across country
- 7/1/20 – The Mercury News – ‘What I’ve been saying all along’: Officer suing SJPD for Islamophobia weighs in on new racism scandal
- 5/16/20 – Muslim – Muslim-American Maha Elgenaidi On Advocacy And Experience
- 4/22/20 – SF Chronicle – As Ramadan begins, Bay Area Muslims say sheltering in place will build spirituality
- 10/7/19 – KQED News – Supporting Muslim Teens in Face of Islamophobia — in Their Own Schools
- 7/26/19 – KCBS Radio – Los Gatos Police Hold Unusual Officer Diversity Training Sessions
- 5/29/19 NBC Bay Area – Sunnyvale Community Continues to Heal a Month After Targeted Crash
- 9/28/18 The Islamic Monthly – The Politics of Religion in American Public Schools
- 8/29/18 JValley Magazine – Jewish and Muslim Communities Share 20 Year Interfaith Relationship
- 7/1/18 Islamic Horizons Magazine – We Still Have a Long Way to Go: How Can We Improve Our Islamic Schools?
- 6/26/18 San Francisco Chronicle – Supreme Court decision on travel ban promotes bigotry
- 6/13/18 The New York Times – On Islam, Trump Takes a Different Approach at Home and Abroad
- 6/13/18 NBC News – Seeking to build ‘religious bridge,’ Muslims break Ramadan fasts in Jewish households
- 6/7/18 Report from the Capital – Christian acceptance of Muslim Americans guarantees religious freedom — for all
- 5/22/18 Santa Cruz Sentinel – Local Muslim family celebrates their iftar meal with homemade dishes
- 5/22/18 Religion News Service – In the US, Muslims are making slow inroads toward a greener Ramadan
- 5/15/18 NBC Bay Area – Ramadan Mubarak: Bay Area Muslims to Celebrate Holy Month, Raise Hunger Awareness
- 5/21/18 Episcopal Cafe – Pray without ceasing
- 4/29/18 Detroit Free Press – More than a headscarf: Forum takes aim at misconceptions about Muslims [ING Affiliate]
- 4/26/18 Gilroy Dispatch – Muslim family brings awareness to schools
- 4/26/18 Jewish News of Northern California – ‘Food diplomacy’: at Muslim-Jewish gathering, everything is on the table
- 4/16/18 National Public Radio – Bullied For Its Faith, Muslim Family Fights Back Through Education (This story was republished at 26 NPR affiliates around the country)
- 4/3/18 Religion News Service – During Lent, a Christian tries praying 5 times a day
- 3/29/18 Patheos AltMuslim – The Unsung Sheroes of Women’s History Month
- 3/21/18 The Christian Citizen – Why working for the Muslim community is the most Christlike aspect of my life
- 3/6/18 Religion News Service – Muslim women don’t need saving from their religion
- 2/15/18 Jewish News of Northern California – Local Muslim leader: Ties with Jews have grown under Trump
- 1/26/28 Deseret News – Here’s how faith leaders are reflecting on Trump’s first year in office
- 12/1/17 USA Today – Trump’s anti-Muslim retweets exemplify schoolyard bullying
- 11/30/17 San Francisco Chronicle – Interfaith effort in Menlo Park seeks to unite what political rhetoric divides
- 11/29/17 HelloGiggles – Support these 9 Muslim organizations to combat Trump’s racist anti-Muslim retweets
- 11/28/17 Al Jazeera – Rabbis petition against Israel in support of Rohingya
- 11/16/17 Huffington Post – Muslims and Jews Working Together Against Bigotry Targeting Our Communities — And From Within Our Communities
- 11/14/17 KERA Dallas Public Radio – ‘Something We’re All Used To’: Local Muslim Students Learn To Respond To Bullying
- 11/11/17 Charleston Gazette-Mail – Muslim students in West Virginia talk how to overcome bullying in schools
- 11/9/17 Kokomo Perspective – The effects of last month’s anti-Islam event
- 10/26/17 San Jose Mercury News – Push for peace: Menlo Park church aims to dispel religious stereotypes
- 10/23/17 Religion News Service – Religious literacy can fix the faulty foundation beneath Trump’s Muslim ban
- 10/16/17 San Jose Mercury News – How to end teen bullying from a Muslim who was targeted
- 9/20/17 The Forward – When The Muslim And Jewish New Years Collide
- 9/19/17 Huffington Post – Education and Peer-to-Peer Engagement Curb Religion-based Bullying
- 9/15/17 San Jose Inside – Local Interfaith Initiative Aims to Dispel Prejudice
- 8/26/17 Jewish News of Northern California – Bay Area unites against hate at rousing synagogue events
- 8/5/17 Wisconsin State Journal – Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting, five years on: We still refuse to admit ignorance can be deadly
- 7/27/17 Huffington Post – U.S. Muslim-Jewish Relations in the Context of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: What We Can Do
- 6/23/17 Deseret News – Nervous about your Muslim neighbors? Then invite them over for dinner
- 6/8/17 Religion News Service – Interfaith coalition launches ‘Know Your Neighbor’ campaign
- 3/19/17 Philadelphia Inquirer – American Muslim teens learn to disarm Islamophobia
- 2/8/17 Sojourners – Why Are We Afraid of Refugees?
- 1/26/17 San Jose Mercury News – Women’s Marchers Affirmed the Rights of American Muslims, Too
- 9/30/14 TIME – ISIS is the Antithesis of Hajj, the Holy Pilgrimage
Maha Elgenaidi – Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) Maha is the founder of ING and author of training handbooks on outreach for American Muslims as well as training seminars for public institutions on developing cultural competency with the American Muslim community. She received an M.A. in religious studies from Stanford University and a B.A in political science and economics from the American University in Cairo. She is a part-time lecturer on Islam in the modern world at Santa Clara University and has been recognized with numerous awards, including the “Civil Rights Leadership Award” from the California Association of Human Relations Organizations, the “Citizen of the Year Award” from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, and the “Dorothy Irene Height Community Award” from the Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Issue Areas: Anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry, interfaith relations, Islam, bullying prevention, women in Islam, Muslim-Jewish relations. Read Maha’s blog here.
Zachary Markwith – Education Director Zachary is the Education Director at ING. He received his PhD in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He also earned an MA (cum laude) in Comparative Religious Studies at the George Washington University and a BA in Islamic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research and teaching focus on Islamic sacred texts, early Sufism, Sunni-Shi‘i relations, and the comparative study of religions. He is the author of One God, Many Prophets: the Universal Wisdom of Islam (2013) and the forthcoming book And When I Love Him: the Hadith al-Nawafil and the Formation of Sufism (2022). Zachary has also worked with other non-profit and community-based organizations, including Hub Foundation, the International Peace Project, and Food Not Bombs.
Issue Areas: Anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry, interfaith relations, spirituality. Read Zachary’s blog here.
Ameena Jandali – Content Consultant Ameena is a founding member of ING. She co-designs and develops ING’s educational presentations and cultural competency seminars. Ameena has delivered hundreds of presentations in schools, colleges, universities, churches, and other venues on Islam and related subjects. She has also appeared on many news outlets speaking on issues relating to American Muslims. She currently team teaches classes on Islam as well as Women in the Middle East at City College of San Francisco. Ameena received her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and B.A. in History from the University of Illinois.
Issue Areas: Women in Islam, human rights, raising Muslim kids in America, teaching about religion in public schools. Read Ameena’s blog here.
- Muslim-Jewish Engagement in Jewish Silicon Valley Magazine | Featured Events
- Jewish New Year, Muslim New Year, Festival of Sukkot | Featured ING Events
- (New Article) Seventeen Years After 9/11, I’m Still Fighting for American Ideals of Pluralism and Inclusion
- Religion News Association Conference | Events on Religious Diversity, American Muslims, Inclusive Schools, and More
- ING Statement: We Should All Observe the International Day of Peace — Then Act On It
- Launching Tomorrow! Know Your Neighbor: Creating Inclusive Classrooms Campaign Sept. 25-28
- ING Events at ISNA, on Facebook Live, and in Canada
- Hajj Begins | Talks on Islamophobia, Religious Intersectionality, and the Environment
- Unite the Right Rally Reminds Us of Need for Education and Interfaith Engagement
- “Teaching in Turbulent Times” Keynote Address on Islamophobia and Inclusive School Environments – 7/31
- Why do terror attacks by Muslims receive 357% more press attention?
- How to Teach in Turbulent Times | Improving Muslim Schools (magazine article)
- Launching Today! Know Your Neighbor: Share Your American Story Campaign July 2nd-6th
- ING Statement on Supreme Court Muslim Ban Decision
- Round-up of Ramadan Hunger Campaign | Upcoming ING Events in San Francisco and Washington, DC
- Eid al-Fitr Approaches | Christian Acceptance of Muslims Guarantees Religious Freedom for All | Ramadan Hunger Campaign
- Ramadan Not Only for Muslims, Say Hunger Campaign Leaders | Upcoming Interfaith Iftar Dinners
- Ramadan Begins Next Wednesday | We Have Story Ideas and Ramadan Resources for You
- Most Americans Want A Country Where No One Is Targeted for Their Religious Identity, Says New Survey
- Saturday, 4/28 in Plano: Area Muslims Train to Answer Difficult Questions, Deliver Presentations On Their Faith
- Half of Californians Support Muslim Ban, Yet 93% Think Respecting Religious Difference is Important
- What Does It Mean to Be Muslim? | Interfaith Discussions Abound | Does Religious Diversity Matter?
- Know Your Neighbor Campaign Generates 3 Million Impressions | Praying Like A Muslim for Lent
- Launching Today: Know Your Neighbor Upstander Campaign April 2nd-4th
- Muslims March for Their Lives and Take Control of Their Narratives
- Islamic Speakers Bureau Training in Chicago | American Academy of Religion Conference | ISNA Forum Banquet
- Muslim Women Don’t Need Saving From Their Religion | Muslim Mental Health Conference | Challenging Islamophobia
- ING Founder’s Statement on Parkland Shooting and ING Resources
- ING Supports Johnson Amendment | Ash Wednesday/Lent, Maha Shivaratri, Lunar New Year
- Launching Today: #KnowYourNeighbor New Year’s Resolutions Campaign
- ING Op-Eds in USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle | Women and Religion Interfaith Panel
- Muslims and Jews Against Bigotry Targeting Their Communities
- National Interfaith Anti-Bullying Summit – Dec. 2-3 in Washington, DC
- Interfaith Service to Precede Metallica Wildfire Benefit Concert
- International Day of Peace: Peace is attainable, but it’s not easy
- Las Vegas Statement | Upcoming ING Events: Sharia, Mormons, Humanists, Mental Health
- Muslim Ban 3.0 Resistance and ING’s Work | Bullying Prevention Month Workshops
- Interfaith Service to Precede Metallica Wildfire Benefit Concert – Nov. 9th at 5:00 PM
- National Interfaith Anti-Bullying Summit – Dec. 2-3 in Washington, DC
- Taking Action Through Education | Women and Religion | Speakers Training
- ING Op-Eds in USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle | Women and Religion Interfaith Panel
- Norway, Haiti, or Syria: Getting to #KnowYourNeighbor Is An American Value
- Launching Today: #KnowYourNeighbor New Year’s Resolutions Campaign
- Announcing Know Your Neighbor Back to School Campaign for More Inclusive Classrooms and Schools
- Islamic Networks Group (ING) Responds to Charlottesville Violence With Call to Know Your Neighbor
- ING Editorial Explores U.S. Muslim-Jewish Relations in Light of Recent Violence in Jerusalem
- ING & Know Your Neighbor Join 113 Groups in Santana Row Unity Rally June 10
- Know Your Neighbor Launch Calls Roundup and Recording
- June 8th Press Call – Know Your Neighbor: National Interfaith Coalition Offers Plans to Counter Polarization
- National Interfaith Coalition Counters Growing Polarization with Campaign to Know Your Neighbor
- Bay Area Muslims and Jews To Break Bread, Explore Shared Scriptures About Moses
- Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, & Christians meet in Santa Rosa on March 26th
- What Can (and Should) Faith Communities Do About Presidential Executive Orders — May 21st in San Jose
- Young American Muslims Learn About Bullying Prevention in Response to Divisive Political Rhetoric and Growing Islamophobia
- Islamic Networks Group (ING) Partners With Episcopal Church to Explore Abrahamic Faiths, Defend Religious Freedom
- ING and Interfaith Partners Press Conference on Muslim Ban in Santa Clara – 1:00 PM
- Islamic Networks Group Calls on Muslim American Community to Stand with Jewish Neighbors
- Facing Renewed Bigotry, Muslims and Jews Stand Together in Solidarity This Sunday
- Statement on Immigration Executive Orders from ING and Partners
- ING Directors Speak at Post-Inauguration Women’s Marches, 1/21
“My students appreciated getting to interact with, ask questions of, and learn from an intelligent and engaging Muslim presenter. This positive interaction will go a long way in combating stereotypes. The speaker was fantastic and connected with the kids right away. I could tell they felt comfortable with her and were engaged.”Elementary school teacher after ISB presentation
“With all the media focus on negative aspects of religion, it’s relieving and reassuring to hear religion from people who are there to educate, not convert or press their views.”San Jose State University professor after IFSB panel
“On the way home from the mall, I saw a Muslim woman dressed modestly. My mother also noticed, and thanks to the ING speaker, I could explain it to my mother.”Middle school student, San Jose, after ISB presentation
“Our speaker was professional, kind, and connected very well with my students. He was very down-to-earth and attentive to the kids. He told them that their questions were great, which validated them! Our speaker did a phenomenal job!”Middle school teacher, San Leandro, after ISB presentation
“It’s important to learn about other religions and cultures so we can better understand our clients and be more open-minded about the world since we are a global company. The presentation on Ramadan was an excellent event.”Partner at Northern Trust Company, Chicago, after ISB presentation
“Maha received a heart-felt standing ovation. This is either very rare — or it has never happened with our group. So, ‘outstanding’ may start to characterize the group’s evaluation.”Kiwanis Club member, Palo Alto, after ISB presentation