Islamic Networks Group (ING) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to counter prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity, while building relations between American Muslims and other groups. Founded in 1993, ING achieves its mission through education and community engagement. We work though regional volunteers and affiliated organizations across the country who provide thousands of presentations, training seminars and workshops, and panel discussions annually in schools, colleges and universities, law enforcement agencies, corporations, healthcare facilities, and community organizations as part of cultural diversity curricula and programs. Reaching hundreds of groups and tens of thousands of individuals a year at the grassroots level, ING is building bridges among people of all backgrounds.
While ING's goal of challenging stereotypes and preventing prejudice through education has been important since its inception in 1993, in a post-9/11 world this work has become critical in combating the rising anti-Muslim sentiment that has become common fare in the media, government, and the public square. A few recent examples of this include the continuing effort to tarnish Barack Obama's image and prior to that his presidential campaign with the "Muslim Smear." Accusing someone of being a Muslim or even being sympathetic to Muslims has become a common tactic. Similarly, the recent Park51 controversy over the building of a mosque in New York City and the planned Qur'an burning by a Florida pastor illustrate the growing spread of Islamophobia. Read More.
ING operates four programs that promote intercultural understanding and mutual respect. The Islamic Speakers Bureau consists of speakers from the Islamic faith who supplement existing curriculum and cultural diversity programming relating to Islam and Muslims in public institutions. The Interfaith Speakers Bureau program consists of speakers from the Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Hindu traditions who speak together on panels to increase religious and cultural literacy and mutual respect in a way that reflects religious pluralism. The Affiliate program initiates and supports regional Islamic and Interfaith Speakers Bureaus all across the country. The Bullying Prevention program works to prevent teasing, harassment and bullying of minority students through student led programs. Read More.
ING was founded in 1993 to address the growing misconceptions about Islam and Muslims in the media and general public that increased as a result of political events and issues during and after the first Gulf War.
The organization was founded by Maha Elgenaidi, an American Muslim of Egyptian origin who migrated to the U.S. with her parents at a young age. Before founding ING, Maha worked in the corporate world in marketing and business management. She was inspired to establish this organization to counter the growing prejudice and vilification of Islam and Muslims that she noted had increased in the early 90’s. She herself had recently become better acquainted with her faith and felt the importance of providing that education to others through two means: religious literacy programs and American Muslim civic engagement. Read More.
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