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My name is Eahab Ibrahim. I’m an Egyptian American who grew up in San Diego and attended junior high school in the 90s. Back then, as now it was mandatory to learn Islamic History. For one of the lessons the teacher brought out a slide projector. Remember those? He played it slide by slide, along with a tape recorder which occasionally would “beep”, then he would flip to the next slide. I remember the slides were mostly very poor, and made me feel uncomfortable. The one however that stuck in my mind was where he flipped a slide and it showed a camel. The caption he read was “Muslims believe that God has 99 Names, and only the camel knows the 100th.” The students turned to me, with a confused look in their eyes; a confusion that I too felt, having never heard this before. I told them that we have no belief regarding a camel like that. The class moved on. I didn’t like my religion and people being portrayed as something strange and irrational. This wasn’t a presentation the teacher prepared; rather it was prepared for him. This is how Islam was taught in the 90s. I can only imagine what material could be shown in a post 9/11 world, and how teacher’s views might influence the delivery of that material. Last year, when I found out about the work ING does I decided to make a donation. I thought about how different schooling would be for American Muslims where the curriculum about Islam is professional, high quality, and most of all factual. It occurred to me that this is the heart of what American Muslims have to do in America. When Americans of other faiths, or no faith at all, have a true impression about Islam, positive policies towards Muslims domestically and internationally will follow. ING has proven itself in making such quality content, training people to deliver it, and being sought by schools and other institutions to present it. It’s up to us here to decide how widely we would like this crucial message to be shared.
The above story was relayed by ING board member Eahab Ibrahim at ING’s recent 20th Anniversary Gala. If you were unable to attend the Gala, you can still support ING’s vital work by donating today.
Pacifica Institute Interfaith Conversations:
Westminster John Knox Press has just published a book by the Rev. Ben Daniel, Pastor of Foothill Presbyterian Church in San Jose. In The Search for Truth About Islam: A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction, Rev. Daniel addresses the common stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam, and in the process highlights many notable Muslim leaders in the Bay Area and beyond, including ING president Maha ElGenaidi. Saturday May 4, Sunnyvale, CA Read More
Interfaith Panel on Death and Dying
Monday May 6, Berkeley, CA Read More
Reception for Finding Common Ground Through Words Art Exhibit
Saturday May 11, Oakland, CA Read More
ING Affiliate New Speaker Training
Saturday June 8, Online Read More