NAACP Award for ING Director | Ramadan Presentation for Youth Speakers | Know Your Neighbor Events

NAACP Honors ING Director With Prestigious
Dorothy Height Community Award

Maha Elgenaidi with Rev. Steve Pinkston (another awardee of the evening)

ING Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi was honored by the San Jose Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Annual Gala last week where she received the “Dorothy Irene Height Community Award.” Dorothy Irene Height was an influential leader and educator who worked as a civil and women’s rights activist for over sixty years until her passing in 2010. We’re so proud of this recognition of Maha’s own tireless work advocating for an America where all people are welcome! Visit our YouTube channel to watch an excerpt from a pre-recorded interview that was shown at the Gala.

Ramadan Is Coming, Starting on May 16th!

Announcing New INGYouth Ramadan Presentation

Ramadan begins in a few short weeks. For Muslims, the month brings many opportunities to explain their faith and customs to others. It’s also an important time for Muslim students, for whom we prepared a special Ramadan presentation. We created it for INGYouth certified speakers who are being asked to explain the significance of Ramadan to their classmates and communities. We urge all teen Muslims to check it out!

For Adults, We Offer These Presentations


We’d also like to highlight two of our public presentations that can help educate a variety of audiences about the observance of Ramadan and what American Muslims believe:

“An Overview of Ramadan and Fasting” depicts Ramadan observances around the world, explores the purpose and goals of fasting, and looks at a day in the life of a fasting person. It also addresses some of the challenges involved in accommodating fasting employees and students and ways to meet them.

“Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith” offers a broad overview of Muslims and their faith, history, and contributions to the world and to the United States. This is an abbreviated version of one of ING’s most popular core presentations.

If you’re presenting on these topics, we highly recommend supplementing your knowledge with our Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Islam and Muslims, also available on our site. If you are interested in taking the next step and becoming one of our certified volunteer speakers, join us here, or write to one of our affiliates if you live in its area.

National Know Your Neighbor Events

The Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters program continues to inspire impactful community dialogue and exchange events across the country. Here are three recent gatherings in Michigan, New Jersey, and California, as well as an upcoming Know Your Neighbor event this coming Sunday in Los Gatos!

Michigan Church Forum Addresses Misperceptions
about Islam, Breaks Down Barriers

Photo: Omar Abdel-Baqui, Detroit Free Press

Our affiliate ING Midwest recently hosted an open discussion about Islam and Muslims at a “Building Bridges: Getting To Know Our Muslim Neighbors” event hosted at Christ Lutheran Church in Waterford, Michigan. ING Midwest speakers Amin Varis and Sameena Zahoor and INGYouth speaker Mayar Zamzam explained Muslim cultures and practices and engaged with the audience in answering questions. The Know Your Neighbor event was covered by the Detroit Free Press.

New Jersey Neighbors Reach Out Over
Coffee to Heal Divisions in Society

New Jersey’s Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council recently held a Know Your Neighbor event to foster greater familiarity and friendship within the community. Seham Abdala, director of our local affiliate New Jersey ING, noted that, “You’re always afraid of what you don’t know. When you get to know one another those fears fall away.” Read more about the event at the Cranford News.

‘Food diplomacy’: At Muslim-Jewish Gathering, Everything Is On the Table

Jewish News of Northern California reports, nearly 100 Bay Area Jews and Muslims sat shoulder to shoulder for “Planting Seeds in New Lands: A Muslim-Jewish Gathering” this week, which was inspired by the Know Your Neighbor program run by ING. The event centered on food as a tool to foster fellowship, and ING is proud to be one of the sponsoring organizations. You can read the full story at the Jewish News.

Upcoming ING Events

Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters
Muslim-Jewish Ladies Afternoon Tea:
May 6th in Los Gatos

While people in our community come from a variety of backgrounds, ideologies, and religions, one thing many of us hold in common is a shared appreciation of food, coffee, and tea. Join ING for this Know Your Neighbor gathering at Congregation Shir Hadash for the opportunity to get to better know others in our community over afternoon tea, snacks, and good conversation. This event is for Muslim and Jewish women only and an RSVP is required.

Ramadan Presentation for Hospital Chaplains:
May 15th in San Francisco

Fasting during Ramadan presents unique challenges in hospital environments, where food, water, and medication are controlled on tight timelines. ING Content Manager Ameena Jandali will deliver a special presentation about Ramadan for chaplains at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital to help them understand these religious observances and how to work with Muslim patients to provide a safe, inclusive healthcare experience.

Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes:
May 17th in San Francisco

ING Content Manager Ameena Jandali will deliver one of ING’s core presentations, “Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes,” for a group of docents at the Legion of Honor, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The presentation covers the role of Muslim women and Islam’s view of women — some of the most widely misunderstood and misrepresented aspects of the religion.

The History and Work of ING:
May 21st in San Jose

ING Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi will deliver a special presentation on the history and work of ING over the past 25 years for the Kiwanis Club of San Jose.

Past Event Highlights

What’s Real and What’s Not When It Comes to
Public Debates On Islam and Muslims

ING Content Manager Ameena Jandali wrapped up the final event in the “Understanding Islam” series sponsored by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and the Mountain View Human Relations Commission. The discussion titled “Fear of a Faith: Sharia. Surveillance. Terrorism. The Muslim Ban,” was moderated by Simitian and featured Ameena and Jihad Turk, President of Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School speaking on topics such as the travel ban, ISIS, Sharia, surveillance, and their impact on American Muslims.

Dallas-Area Muslims Train to Answer Difficult Questions about Their Faith

ING Programs Associate Heena Haiderali and Content Manager Ameena Jandali traveled to Plano, Texas last weekend to deliver a speakers training for 40 Muslims who were interested in joining our local affiliate, the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Dallas-Fort Worth. Although most of the participants were adults, four ninth graders also attended and contributed by asking questions and sharing their experiences from school. Learn more about how you can join the Islamic Speakers Bureau in the San Francisco Bay Area here.

What Do INGYouth Speakers Do Between Public Presentations? Hike!

A few INGYouth Speakers and their parents gathered for a team building hike this past weekend in San Jose. Along the way, they saw many varieties of plants and flowers and enjoyed wonderful views of the South Bay. To join activities like these, become an INGYouth Speaker. Learn more about the program at our site.

How Can Majority-White Churches Provide
Welcoming Spaces for Minorities?

ING Content Manager Ameena Jandali joined Ty-Licia Hooker, Executive Director of Boost! West Oakland, and Ken Naranja, Director of Camp Everytown, recently at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland to talk about strategies for white congregations wanting to ally with people of color. After sharing her story as a person of color and its impact on her youth and later activism, Ameena, together with the other panelists, provided insight into how congregations can be more inclusive and provide platforms for minorities. The Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters program has many resources to help communities create more welcoming spaces.

ING Needs You!

Paid Internships Available

ING’s internship program offers a variety of opportunities to learn about the different functions involved in managing and operating a non-profit organization. Interns gain knowledge related to increasing religious literacy and cultural awareness in our communities through ING’s educational programs and presentations. Interns also receive practical training in project management, community outreach, research, writing, and other administrative assignments while working with our professional staff. If you’re a student looking for real-world experience, please consider interning with us!

Job Opening at ING

Development Associate Position Available

Come join the team! We’re searching for a Development Associate to support management in planning and implementation of fundraising- and development-related activities for ING. Learn more about the position and its qualifications at our employment page.