Media and Press Kit

Media Contact:

Tim Brauhn
Communications Manager
[email protected] — 720-381-1096

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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 100 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 85 Muslim teens in eight states have been certified as speakers in their schools. So far, 20 of those speakers have delivered more than 30 presentations to audiences of about 5,000 people in various schools around the country.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 Archive

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.

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Expert Profiles

Maha Elgenaidi - Executive Director 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.

Kate Chance - Interfaith Coordinator Kate obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Oxford in the Study of Religion, with concentrations in Islam and Hinduism. Before joining ING, Kate worked for the University of Florida’s Center for Global Islamic Studies and Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions, helping to coordinate conferences and events and creating interfaith initiatives in the Gainesville, Florida area. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Flagler College, with degrees in Psychology, Philosophy and Religion.

Issue Areas: Interfaith relations, life as an Episcopalian working for a Muslim-led organization, youth work, responsibly allyship, interfaith dialogue. Read Kate's blog here.

Ishaq Pathan - INGYouth Manager Ishaq earned his B.A. from Hamilton College with a major in Anthropology and minors in Education and Middle Eastern & Islamic World Studies. For his anthropology senior thesis, he performed an ethnographic study on American mosques and the perspectives of the Muslims who attend them. While at Hamilton, he served as the Senior Chapel Fellow; president of the Muslim Student Association; and co-founder of the All Beliefs Union, an organization dedicated toward promoting dialogue between people from different religious and secular backgrounds. Ishaq is also a member of the Interfaith Youth Core Alumni network and the International Foreign Language Honor Society, Phi Sigma Iota.

Issue Areas: Issues faced by young religious minorities, intersectionality and bullying in schools, building student resilience. Read Ishaq's blog here.

Ameena Jandali - Content Director 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.

Tim Brauhn - Communications Manager Tim received his MA in International Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver with a concentration in Religion and Politics in the Middle East and Central Asia. He also has a BA in English Language and Literature from Aurora University in Illinois. Tim was an inaugural member of the Faiths Act Fellowship, an elite international program for interfaith leaders run by the Interfaith Youth Core and Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Issue Areas: Digital and traditional religious communications, interfaith relations, Catholicism. Read Tim's blog here.

Press Releases

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Testimonials

  • "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

ING Images

Please credit "Islamic Networks Group - ING" when using these images. You can find an ING logo here and an accompanying transparent version here.

 

Media Contact:

Tim Brauhn
Communications Manager
[email protected] — 720-381-1096

Social Media Profiles:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn
YouTube