Responding to and Preventing Hate in Public Schools; 11/6/09

ING News & Information, 5/2/08

In this Edition:

  • UMA Recognizes Moina Shaiq for State Senator’s “Woman of the Year” Award
  • Dr. Nawal Nour to Receive Outstanding Scholars Award at Stanford University, 5/12/08
  • Deconstructing Islamophobia Conference at UC Berkeley, 4/25-26/08
  • Dialogue with Secular Franciscans, St. Leander Church, 4/24/08
  • Health Care for the Muslim Patient, California Pacific Medical Center, 4/23/08
  • Role of Women & Understanding Hijab, St. Mary’s College, 4/23/08
  • Responding to and Preventing Hate in Public Schools, Pollicita Middle School, 4/23/08
  • Cultural Diversity Day, Independence High School, 4/22/08
  • Role of Women in Islam, UC Davis, 4/22/08
  • Orientation on Islam in the Context of America’s Religious Pluralism, Los Altos Methodist Church, 4/21/08
  • Mental Health Care for the Muslim Patient, Stanford University Medical School, 4/18/08
  • Thank You for Your Support!


UMA Recognizes Moina Shaiq for State Senator’s “Woman of the Year” Award

United Muslims of America recognized Moina Shaiq on April 23rd at a dinner at Chandni restaurant. Moina is a 25 years resident of Fremont who was recently recognized for her contributions to the community by her selection by State Senator Ellen Corbett for the “‘Woman of the Year” award. Congressman Pete Stark also recognized her by entering her outstanding work and community involvement into Congressional Record. The event was attended and addressed by both the present and past mayors of Fremont, as well as a representative from Pete Stark’s office, and numerous other city officials and representatives. All the speakers noted Moina’s vast array of achievements and contributions, including chairing the Human Relations commission in Fremont, and all noted her impact upon them in presenting a positive example of Muslim Americans. It is this exemplary spirit of civil service and community involvement that truly symbolizes the potential of Muslim Americans not only to participate and contribute, but in doing so, challenge the negative stereotypes through actions. Congratulations to Moina and her family!

Dr. Nawal Nour to Receive Outstanding Scholars Award at Stanford University, 5/12/08

The winner of the 2008 Muslim Scholar and Entrepreneur Award is Dr. Nawal Nour, an Ob/Gyn and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the African Women’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in Boston where she works with women who have suffered from female genital cutting, a practice that she is passionately dedicated to eradicating. These and her other extraordinary achievements will be celebrated at a ceremony held at Stanford University on May 12th attended by Stanford University administrators, professors, students, and the general public. Keynote speakers include Provost John Etchemendy and Human Biology Professor Anne Firth Murray. Congratulations to Dr. Nour for her dedication and outstanding accomplishments.

Deconstructing Islamophobia Conference at UC Berkeley

Looking at People’s Phobia of Muslims, Matthai Kuruvila, SF Chronicle, 4/26/08

“Does the fact that…Obama’s last name rhymes with that of the al Qaeda leader mean that he loves terrorists? Or how about that dangerous middle name? Should all women who wear head scarves be searched for weapons by airport security? Do we “know,” as some allege, what terrorists look like? The fear surrounding what makes a Muslim, from appearances to beliefs, has been defined in recent years as Islamophobia, an issue permeating politics, pop culture and even the price of gas. A group of professors and academics from around the nation are gathered this weekend at UC Berkeley to discuss what it means. At what is believed to be the first academic conference focused on Islamophobia as a concept, the professors aim to study and understand how a religious identity of 1.2 billion people around the world has become fused with a monolithic set of beliefs and racial category. . . . . . Just as black people, Jews and colonized groups have historically been defined as exceptionally dangerous “others,” Muslims are today . . . The professors hope to foster a new field of academic research. While Islam has been examined as a religion, and Muslim nations have been scrutinized in political science departments, it has not been placed within the context of ethnic studies. Those departments often focus on gender issues as well as specific ethnic groups…Placing Islamophobia within the context of ethnic studies would allow researchers to look more broadly at the confluence of race, culture, ethnicity and religion that define the American Muslim experience today.”

(For more)

Understanding and addressing this phenomenon is the first step in identifying some of its root causes, and addressing some of those causes through education, outreach, and implementing policies that guarantee the rights of all people.

Dialogue with Secular Franciscans at St. Leander Church, 4/24/08

An ING speaker dialogued on the similarity in tenets between Islam and Christianity at St. Leander’s Church in San Leandro with a group of Secular Franciscans at their monthly meeting on Thursday, April 24. During the two hour meeting which began with prayers and hymns, ING’s speaker went over the basics of what it means to be a Muslim, emphasizing the similarities in a both traditions, with a shared tradition of consecutive prophets, holy books, and other beliefs, and the common role of prayer, charity, and good works. The group peppered the talk with questions throughout, from details about theology and practices, to understanding Islam’s view of Jesus, and the typical questions about Muslim extremists and how they differ from the mainstream ideal that was described. Attendees left with a desire to learn more about a faith that they were exposed to for the first time through this presentation and dialogue.

Responding to and Preventing Hate in Public Schools, Pollicita MS in Daly City, 4/23/08

Joined by ADL’s Education Director, Nina Simone Grotch, ING’s president Maha Elgenaidi delivered a workshop for educators and administrators titled “Responding to and Preventing Hate in Public Schools” at Pollicita Middle School in Daly City on 4/23/08. ING offered the school the workshop after hearing that female Muslim students in hijab (the nun like covering some Muslim women wear) were being harassed by others students. Nina began the workshop by first defining and making a distinction between hate crimes and hate incidents, covering hate statics in California. Maha then gave an overview of Islamophobia and prevalent perceptions of Islam, their sources, issues affecting Muslim students post 9/11, and accommodations for religious practices. Nina followed by speaking about Anti-Semitism and steps for educators, and ended with a review of typical scenarios teachers may encounter during school hours and ways to handle them. The school staff was extremely pleased with the workshop and felt that it was very beneficial for their understanding of the issues and handling of future problems.

Health Care for the Muslim Patient, Pacific Medical Center, 4/23/08

An ING speaker delivered a presentation on Health Care for the Muslim Patient at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco on Wednesday, April
23. The event was sponsored by the California Pacific Medical Center and focused on Spiritual Medicine in Islam. The event was attended by over 200 people, mostly health care providers and religious leaders, and focused on the spiritual significance and healing powers of Islamic ritual practices for Muslim patients. ING’s health care presentation has become widely requested, not only by health providers, but by chaplains and other religious leaders who provide pastoral care for patients. Understanding the beliefs and practices of one’s patient can prove vital in providing appropriate services as well as spiritual support.

Role of Women & Understanding Hijab, St. Mary’s College, 4/23/08

ING speaker, Ameena Jandali delivered an overview of the role of women in Islam, and specifically the modest dress known as hijab at St. Mary’s College on Wednesday, April 23 for a class on “Women in North America”. The students had watched a film on hijab and reasons why Muslim women choose to wear it, especially in a post 9/11 world, and were interested in learning about the religious reasons behind the hijab. After explaining Islam’s position regarding women and the relationships between the genders, the speaker explained the various reasons that women have embraced hijab in recent years. She pointed out that hijab is often over emphasized, and is merely a continuation of the modest dress that is encouraged in all faiths, citing specific references to covering the head in the Bible, and the practice of some Orthodox Jewish women to dress modestly including a head scarf. She also stressed that choosing to wear the hijab is a personal decision that should be motivated by spiritual reasons. She emphasized that many devout Muslim women who are more observant of other aspects of the faith may not wear hijab. After the talk she received dozens of questions about her own personal experience wearing hijab, particularly after 9/11, and some of the students shared personal stories about harassment of friends or relatives who were perceived to be Muslim.

Cultural Diversity Day, Independence High School, 4/22/08

Three ING speakers including Ismael an-Nass and Fouzi Husaini delivered a total of seven presentations on Cultural Diversity Day at Independence High School in San Jose on Monday, April 22nd. The event was organized by a teacher at the school who has been conducting the event for a few years as an opportunity for students to learn more about a faith that has been misunderstood and demonized in recent years, as well as to better understand their fellow Muslim students who attend the school.

Women in Islam, UC Davis, 4/22/08

ING Speaker, Ameena Jandali delivered an overview of the role and rights of women in Islam at UC Davis on Tuesday, April 22 as part of their week long program about Islam and Muslims. The event was co-sponsored by the Women’s Resource center, and mostly attended by female students. After the presentation, which focused on textual teachings and traditions of the rights and responsibilities of Muslim women, the audience plied the speaker with questions, mostly relating to their own practice of the faith, or questions they frequently receive about the subject. Many of the questions focused on the hijab, or modest Muslim dress, which includes covering the head and most of the body for the purpose of protection, identity and modesty, but which often takes an inordinate amount of attention due to the fact that it is a visual practice, unlike more central tenets like praying or fasting, which are private practices.

Orientation on Islam and Muslims in the Context of America’s Religious Pluralism, Los Altos Methodist Church, 4/21/08

ING speaker, Maha Elgenaidi provided an overview of Islam and Muslim culture in the context of America’s religious pluralism to members of the Los Altos United Methodist Church on Monday, April 21st. The topic focused around Islam’s theology of pluralism and its treatment of other religions and people of other faiths citing historical pre-modern examples of the treatment of people of other faiths under Islamic rule.

As Bernard Lewis states in his book, What Went Wrong, “Surely, the Ottomans did not offer equal rights to their subjects, a meaningless anachronism in the context of that time and place. They did however offer a degree of tolerance without precedent or parallel in Christian Europe. Each religious community – the Ottoman term was millet – was allowed the free practice of its religion. More remarkably, they had their own communal organizations, subject to the authority of their own religious chiefs, controlling their own education and social life, and enforcing their own laws, to the extent that they did not conflict with the basic laws of the Empire. While ultimate power – political and military – remained in Muslim hands, non-Muslims controlled much of the economy, and were even able to play a part of some importance in the political process.”

Mental Health Care for the Muslim Patient, Stanford University, 4/18/08

ING speaker and psychiatrist Dr. Ahsan Shaikh provided a cultural competency training session on Mental Health for Muslim patients to Stanford University’s pre and post-doctoral psychology student interns on Friday, April 18th. Dr. Shaikh currently works as a child and adolescent psychiatrist at EMQ Children and Family Services, and has been invaluable in not only delivering presentations for ING on related topics, but in developing content for ING’s Mental Health presentation. As this country becomes more and more multi-cultural, it is increasingly important that in fields such as psychiatry where traditionally Muslims have had little input or access, health care specialists are provided the tools and understanding to serve this community. Recognizing religious and cultural factors is vital in providing culturally sensitive and appropriate care, from areas such as gender interaction, to family relations and immigration issues. Culturally appropriate care can mean the difference between affective services and treatments and the lack thereof.

Thank You for Your Support!