ING Founder Speaks On Panels
At ISNA Conference
ING founder and trustee Maha Elgenaidi spoke to packed audiences on two panels at the ISNA South Central Zone Conference last weekend in Dallas, Texas. In the first session, which focused on the topic of “Fostering a Healthy Environment for Muslim Families”, she spoke on the need for strong, healthy marriages and families. In the second session, “Creating a Just Society: Love, Compassion, and Respect for Others”, she described some of the take-aways from over two decades of involvement in ING’s educational outreach.
Below are quotes from her presentations at the two sessions.
Fostering a Healthy Environment
for Muslim Families
Maha Elgenaidi and Altaf Husain
…The Muslim family is our first and most important institution in the Muslim American community and the reason we exist as Muslim organizations: to protect and sustain it. To bring down the current divorce rate among Muslims, we need to invest institutionally in all Muslim families and their needs and not focus only on troubled ones. We need to help to make marriages happier and more fulfilling for both partners equally, so that their children grow up to be well adjusted human beings, grounded in their religion and living out their faith by making contributions to the communities in which they reside. That won’t happen by chance and without support. We need social scientists to study what makes successful Muslim marriages and what programs they need to thrive…
…Celebrating my 19th wedding anniversary this weekend, I can tell you from personal experiences that marriage is about taking the time to spend time together; it’s about communication, negotiation, and continuous re-evaluation of goals and priorities…
Creating a Just Society: Love, Compassion, and Respect for Others
From left to right: Maha Elgenaidi, Shaykh Yasir Qadri, Abdul Nasir Jangda
…Our circumstances are such that we no longer have the luxury not to be engaged in the public square. And we don’t have to look far for the reasons:
- Public sentiments towards Muslims are still negative; one of every two Americans has a negative view of Islam and Muslims.
- Islamophobes continue to cause concerns, as shown by biased police training and sharia ban campaigns all across the country, which in some states have been legislated into law.
- Public policies showing an anti-Muslim bias continue in force, such as the New York City Police Department’s practice of monitoring Muslims regardless of criminal activity, and the No Fly lists, from which Muslims have little to no recourse to get themselves removed.
- Muslim children continue to experience hate-motivated bullying. A recent study in California showed that 50% of Muslim children are being bullied, while in other states the figure ranges as high as 80%.
- The American public wants answers to questions raised by media coverage of Muslims and is demanding information about Islam and Muslims from institutions such as schools that teach about Islam in social studies and world history…
…Some of the take-aways from our 21 years of work in the field of educational activism include:
- If you are not at the table, you’ll be excluded or, worse, you’ll be on the menu; you should not complain about either if you don’t take the trouble to participate.
- The vast majority of Americans are honestly interested in discovering the truth about Muslims and are not Islamophobes and have no anti-Muslim agenda; they just want to understand.
- Most Americans want to believe there is an alternative narrative to what they see on FOX News.
- Once they are given an alternate narrative that answers their questions, they are able to understand that Muslims are not monolithic and that a few bad apples shouldn’t characterize the whole Muslim community.
- It is imperative that American Muslims be involved and engaged in outreach work if we want not only to avoid stereotyping and the results it produces but also to build an inclusive America for our children and grandchildren. And this should be our greatest calling and the motivation for our outreach…
Save the Date!
ING Ramadan Dinner
Sunday, July 13th
ING‘s annual Ramadan dinner will be on Sunday, July 13th at the Muslim Community Center in Pleasanton. The event will feature Bay Area scholar and activist Usama Canon and ING founder and trustee Maha Elgenaidi. They will discuss the important and timely topic of First Principles in Islam.
To learn more or register see here.