ING Speaks at Antioch Mosque Vandalism March

ING News and Information – Update 9/25/07

  • ING Annual Supporters Dinner, Saturday, November 3rd, go to:
  • ING Newsletter, fall 2007, go to:
  • ING President Conducts Orientation for Jewish Community Center San Francisco Staff, 9/24/07
  • ING President Speaks at Antioch Mosque Vandalism March and Interfaith Event, 9/23/07
  • ING Speaker Participates in Albany’s First Annual Peace Day, 9/23/07
  • ING Speakers Addresses Two Bay Area Churches, 9/23/07
  • ING Interfaith Coordinator Participates in International Day of Peace Interfaith Prayer Service, 9/20/07
  • ING Speakers at Presentation High in San Jose and Encinal High in Alameda, 9/18-9/20/07
  • ING’s Interfaith Coordinator Participates in Interfaith Darfur Event, 9/16/07
  • ING Delivers Trainings to Different Branches of Law Enforcement, 9/11/ and 9/13/07
  • ING Speaker Explains Repentance in Islam to Progressive Jewish Alliance, 8/29/07

ING President Conducts Orientation for Jewish Community Center San Francisco Staff, 9/24/07

ING’s president, Maha Elgenaidi conducted an Orientation on Islam and Muslims for the Jewish Community Center, San Francisco staff on Monday, September 24th. This was part of a kick off for a fall/winter initiative called Salaam/Shalom, which explores the convergence of Judaism and Islam. The series will include a dozen classes, exhibits, lectures and performances, including a class in December called “A Shared Tradition: Jews and Muslims in Islam,” which will focus on references to Jews and Judaism in Muslim scriptures. The series will also feature an Arabic class; and a course of four classes taught by Maha Elgenaidi and Ameena Jandali from ING. A recent article in the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California highlighted the series, focusing on the goals behind the event: “There’s so much misunderstanding and fear that exists in popular culture about what Islam is, so we wanted to have an open dialogue that didn’t include politics,” said Rabbi Elisheva Salamo of the JCC. “This is a constructive way to create understanding and partnership.” The article also cites ING president, “Maha ElGenaidi, founder and director of the San Jose group, said her goal is for participants to gain a greater literacy in Islam. But she also wants to advance the Jewish-Muslim dialogue beyond the conflict in the Middle East.” To view the entire article, go to:
To learn more about the series, go to:

ING President Speaks at Antioch Mosque Vandalism March and Interfaith Event, 9/23/07

ING’s president, Maha Elgenaidi joined interfaith leaders from East Contra Costa county at a march and interfaith event in Antioch on Sunday, September 23rd. The event, titled, “Marching Together Against Hate and Violence in East Contra County” was organized in support of the Islamic Center of the East Bay (ICEB) after the August 12th arson vandalism of their building. The march and subsequent interfaith gathering was organized by the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, and was also in response to a recent hate crime/vandalism incident against an African American family in Brentwood.

The march, which was attended by about 500 local and Bay Area wide interfaith leaders and congregants, as well as local families followed a press conference with ICEB leaders and elected city and county officials. Following the march, participants gathered at Antioch High School for an interfaith program in the auditorium, where interfaith leaders from various faiths spoke of the need for tolerance and understanding and an end to prejudice and hate. Representing the Muslim community along with ICEB leaders were Maha Elgenaidi from ING, and Shafath Syed from CAIR. Maha spoke about Islam and it’s place in America emphasizing the roots of Islam in America, Muslim American demographics and Islam’s shared heritage and values with other faiths. (For a transcript of her full speech, go to: Shafath spoke about the civil rights of Muslims in America highlighting the correlation between American attitudes towards Islam and hate incidents.

Joining in the march and interfaith event were members of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the East Bay, one of ING’s interfaith partners, who have been actively involved in responding to the Antioch arson and organizing Sunday’s event. Sincere and heartfelt appreciation to all those of diverse faiths who have put countless hours into this important statement of solidarity and for their vision of a truly integrated faith community. This event was a testament to the labors of many years and the dedication of many people to peace, justice, and civil rights for all people.

As an article on the event states, “With religious strife rampant all over the world, one Contra Costa city made a vow Sunday that whatever pits community against community elsewhere, it must not and will not happen here. It was not a simple call for tolerance, organizers said. ‘It’s moving beyond tolerance to active respect — to stand together as a community,’ said Father Tom Bonacci of St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Antioch.” To see the entire Contra Costa Times article, go to:

ING Speaker Participates in Albany’s First Annual Peace Day, 9/23/07

Ameena Jandali joined other East Bay speakers including a representative from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office at Albany’s first Annual Peace Day on Sunday, September 23rd. The event was sponsored by the City of Albany’s Social and Economic Justice Committee and was the brainchild of Albany’s mayor, who proposed the idea last year as an event dedicated to preventing war.

Speakers stressed the need to work for peace both at home and abroad. Ameena’s talk focused on the importance of promoting peace at home, and emphasized that racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are all different sides of the same coin, and that the current vilification of Muslims is no different than similar treatment of other groups, such as Native Americans, African Americans, Irish, Jews, Italians, and Japanese during different periods of this nation’s history. For a transcript of her full speech, go to:

ING Speakers Address Two Bay Area Churches, 9/23/07

ING speakers addressed two Bay Area churches on Sunday, September 23rd. The first was the Calvary Episcopal Church in Santa Cruz where the speaker lead a discussion on Modern Women in Islam for the congregation’s adult discussion group. Later that day, another speaker, Uzma Husaini addressed a congregation at Piedmont Church in Alameda, where she presented an Orientation on Islam and Muslims and answered questions relating to extremism and women’s rights.

ING Interfaith Coordinator Participates in International Day of Peace Interfaith Prayer Service, 9/20/07

Joining representatives from many faith traditions for this year’s Day of Peace prayer service in Santa Clara county, which focused on global peace and nonviolence in alignment with the United Nations International Day of Peace and global cease-fire, ING’s Interfaith Coordinator, Yasmine Khan, offered prayers for peace and joined in the procession of faiths at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose. Keynote speaker
s at the event were Rev. Paul Chaffee, Director of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, and Rev. Ellen Grace O’Brian, Director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment.

ING Speakers at Presentation High in San Jose and Encinal High in Alameda, 9/18-9/20/07

ING speakers at different ends of the Bay Area visited multiple classes a two different high schools last week. Uzma Husaini and Maha Elgenaidi addressed the topic of Women in Islam in a Global Women’s Issues class at Presentation High on September 18th and 19th, during which they addressed the many stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslim women. They also gave an Orientation on Islam and Muslims to a total of nine 9th grade World History classes between September 18 – 20 that addressed 270 students.

In the East Bay, ING speakers Adeel Iqbal and Ameena Jandali visited Encinal High in Alameda over a two day period on September 20th and 21st to deliver an Orientation on Islam and Muslims to five 10th grade world history classes. Students in the classes were extremely engaged in the presentations, particularly during a class with four Muslim students who were so enthusiastic and involved that their hands were in the air throughout most of the presentation! Providing religious literacy is important at this young age when religious students of all faiths often develop intolerant attitudes towards other faiths. This impact of these discussions was expressed by the teacher of the Global Women’s Issues class at Presentation High who remarked:

“Your presentation generated an entire day’s worth of discussion on the various points you brought up and I would even suggest it was the best discussion we had all year. We have been discussing Islam and women’s experiences within the context of Iran and Afghanistan, so your talk opened their eyes to a completely different perspective on the hijab and the relationship between Islam and feminism.” – Presentation High School Teacher

ING’s Interfaith Coordinator Participates in Interfaith Darfur Event, 9/16/07

ING’s Interfaith Coordinator, Yasmine Khan joined other interfaith and community leaders in a Global Day for Darfur event: Interfaith Prayer for Darfur & World Leaders on Sunday, September 16 at Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. The event, which was organized in coordination with a national campaign featured representatives from major faith groups emphasizing the importance of worldwide action to protect the citizens of Darfur.

In her brief yet powerful speech to the gathering (for a transcript of her full speech, go to, Yasmine emphasized the importance of speaking out for those who have no voice, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, especially during this holy time in various faiths, including Ramadan in Islam and the High Holy Days in Judaism. She reflected on some of the lessons of these holy days as they relate to helping those in need and reminded the audience of the billions of people in the world today who suffer a life of hunger, poverty, and oppression. She pointed out that all faiths teach the Golden Rule of loving for others what one loves for oneself, and even preferring others over oneself, and quoted from the prophetic traditions that “All of us came from Adam,” and a Quranic verse teaches that “Saving one life is like saving all of humanity.” She concluded with a prayer for the congregants to live up to their moral responsibility in following the Golden Rule, and for help in healing and bringing peace to the world.

ING Delivers Trainings to Different Branches of Law Enforcement, 9/11/ and 9/13/07

An ING speaker and trainer delivered ING’s Law Enforcement training to a special class on Hate Crimes Investigation at Napa Valley Community College on Tuesday, September 11. The special class was made up of hate crime investigators from around the state who were meeting for a three day intensive training. The instructor thought it was important to provide the class with a better understanding of Muslim Americans in light of the recent vandalism attack on the Antioch mosque in August. The trainees were particularly interested in learning about protocols for interacting with community members in a manner that was respectful and cognizant of their culture and religion. The dedication of law enforcement officers and trainers to respect is to be commended, as is their commitment to justice in the Antioch case.

On Thursday, September 13, an ING trainer delivered two four-hour trainings on Working with the Muslim American Community at the California Probation Parole and Corrections Association Conference in Lake Tahoe. The presentation covered the basics about Islam and Muslims, as well as a description of the Muslim American community, and suggested protocols for interacting with the community. The all day event was remarkable in both the length of the presentation, and the interest and enthusiasm it inspired. Each of the two sessions was attended by directors from around the state, who were especially interested in learning more about the faith, and in particular common stereotypes relating to terrorism and violence and the role of women. Audience members expressed a sincere interest and desire to better understand the faith and its adherents, and many of the attendees were so impressed by the presentation that they requested the speaker to deliver the same presentation to officers in their home departments across the state.

ING Speaker Explains Repentance in Islam to Progressive Jewish Alliance, 8/29/07

An ING speaker elaborated on the concept of repentance at a meeting of the Progressive Jewish Alliance on Wednesday, August 29th. The group meets regularly at their East Bay office, and chose this topic because of the upcoming Jewish holidays that emphasize repentance. After a brief introduction about the basics of Islam, the speaker explained that the concept of repentance or taubah is central to the Islamic belief that God is All-Merciful, All-Forgiving, and that humans are fallible, and that sinning is natural, and is not a cause for despair, but a reason to turn back to God, sincerely repent and seek forgiveness. The speaker narrated many verses and prophetic sayings that underline this important concept that many people often lost sight and impose a vision of perfection, which according to Islamic belief is only a characteristic of God. The group was struck by the similarities with Judaism and were interested in continuing the dialogue between faiths.

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