New Speakers Bureau in Columbus, Ohio

ING Initiates Speakers Bureau, Conducts Teacher Training in Ohio, 3/24-3/25/07

ING initiated a new speaker bureau in Columbus this weekend for the Al-Noor Islamic Cultural Center with an all day Speakers Training program on Saturday in Columbus, followed by an advanced speakers training for the Tours and Talks Education Outreach Program at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati on Sunday. The 9-5 sessions, which were attended by 60 the first day and 30 the second covered topics related to becoming an effective speaker in public institutions. The intensive workshops addressed the following presentations which ING speakers are often requested to give: “Teaching About Religion in Public Schools,” “Roots of Islam in America,” “Islamic Contributions to Civilization and Culture,” “Healthcare for the Muslim Patient,” “Orientation on Islam and Interacting Effectively with Muslim Students” for teachers, “Working with the Arab and American Muslim Communities” for police, and “Arab and Muslim Americans in the Workplace” for managers.

The sessions also included a review of answers to 150 Frequently Asked Questions that have been posed to ING speakers and answered by a group of scholars. This means that in addition to training ordinary Muslims to speak for themselves on Islam and Muslim affairs in their local community, ING is also building “Islamic literacy” of Muslim Americans by providing them with the answers to often difficult issues relating to women’s rights, theology, and violence. Attendees were thrilled to have these many resources at their fingertips and to be able to address these diverse topics in an organized, professional manner.

Cincinnati Educators Workshop, Monday, March 26

The following day, ING and the Islamic Center of Cincinnati conducted an Educator’s Workshop entitled: “Cultural and Historical Studies for Islam, Muslims and Muslim World,” which was attended by 45 teachers and college professors. The workshop was designed to give teachers background for events they see on the nightly news, as well as State Dept of Education approved teaching tools for curriculum relating to Islam and Muslims. The session also provided tips on dealing with personal views about current events, and understanding students of Middle Eastern and Muslim backgrounds. Some of the topics covered included “Islam and Muslims in the Context of World History,” “Cultural Diversity and Demographics of Muslims,” “Women in Islam,” “Islam in America,” “Islamic Contributions to Civilization,” and “Islamic Art & Architecture”. The workshop included a guided tour of the Islamic Center and a special ‘Taste of the East’ lunch.

ING’s Interfaith Coordinator Attends Three Interfaith Events, 3/19 – 3/24/07

San Francisco Friends in Faith Meeting, Monday, March 19th

On Monday, March 19th, ING’s Interfaith Coordinator, Yasmine Khan, attended Friends in Faith meeting at the San Francisco’s Interfaith Center at the Presidio. The recently-formed Friends in Faith project seeks to build an interfaith leadership for social change. The objective is to create an interfaith youth movement in the Bay Area, using story, technology, “Appreciative Inquiry” *, and dialogue. Friends in Faith also intends to create a network of leaders, teachers, youth advisors, and interfaith workers who will themselves practice the skills they will teach others, and connect to resources and others who can help promote interfaith understanding.

The gathering consisted of youth leaders of several faith traditions from all over the Bay Area. Participants were asked what it was about their respective faiths that compelled them to involve themselves, and were encouraged to share a teaching or principle of their faith tradition that supported their perspective and commitment. Friends in Faith hopes that such interfaith exploration will “create opportunities to connect our youth and build more harmonious relationships for the future.”

* For a description of Appreciative Inquiry, see:

South Bay Interfaith Luncheon, Thursday, March 22

On Thursday, March 22nd, ING’s President, Maha Elgenaidi, and Interfaith Coordinator, Yasmine Khan, hosted an interfaith luncheon for the South Bay Interfaith steering committee. The South Bay Interfaith involves clergy and lay leaders from many religions, interfaith organizations, and faith-related educational institutions. Over lunch, the group discussed upcoming interfaith projects and potential ways to build community and increased understanding between people of all faiths.

Carry the Vision Youth Retreat, Saturday, March 24

Yasmine Khan also took part in planning and overseeing an all day youth delegate retreat on Saturday, March 24th at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. The objectives of the retreat were to explore the work of prominent leaders in the nonviolence movement; to create dialogue around the issues of violence in our communities and our world, to examine how to effect nonviolent change; and to prepare for the an upcoming conference on nonviolence in April, where they will connect with national youth delegates and international leaders in the nonviolence movement. Yasmine is part of the core planning team for the Youth Leadership Summit portion of the annual Carry the Vision: Community Nonviolence Conference which will be held on April 21 in San Jose. ING president, Maha Elgenaidi will be presenting in a workshop with Chief Rob Davis and other community leaders.

At the retreat, youth delegates spent the day exploring their vision of the future and discovering how the principles and practices of nonviolence can be applied to create a model for 21st century leadership in the community and the world. Through various activities and workshops, the youth spent the day learning about the lives and contributions of prominent nonviolence advocates, such as Gandhi, M.L. King, and Cesar Chavez, the effects of violence on our lives, and how to implement nonviolence within our families, communities, and the world. The event concluded with an inspiring talk about the life of Cesar Chavez and his commitment to nonviolence by his sister Rita, which underscored the point that everyday people have the power to affect change.

ING Speaker Addresses Eight Classes at Carmel High School, 3/23/07

Long time ING speaker, Nashwan Hamza delivered a record number of eight separate presentations to students at Carmel High School on Friday, March 23. The presentations, which were all an “Orientation on Islam and Muslims”, were well received by the students, some of whom had little or no contact with Muslims. ING speakers present to an average of three classes per school, so eight at one school is a new record for ING!

ING Speaker Discusses Women in Islam at Sacramento State University, 3/19/07

Long time ING speaker, Ameena Jandali was the keynote speaker at a day long exhibit on Women in Islam at Sacramento State on Monday, March 19th. She began the talk by discussing some of the common sources for misperceptions about Muslim women, including the media, Hollywood, and the actions of Muslims themselves, which are often based more on politics and culture than on Islamic principles. She proceeded to address common stereotypes about Muslim women, and enumerated the many verses that speak of men and women as equal servants before God. After the presentation, audience members plied the speaker with questions about women serving as religious leaders or leading the prayers, details about hijab, and marriage to people of other faiths. Many participants stayed after the presentation to learn more about this much misunder
stood topic, expressing their appreciation to learn more about a much misunderstood topic. To schedule a presentation about Women in Islam, please contact the ING office.