|In This Issue
Board of Trustees
ING In Step with President Barack Obama's Vision of Inclusiveness
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth. And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
Those words spoken by President Barack Obama in his inauguration speech truly reflect the spirit of ING’s mission and work, which recognizes that America’s religious diversity provides us with a unique opportunity to increase our religious literacy, build mutual respect and serve as an example for the rest of the world. At ING, American Muslims are joining hands with American Jews, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and people of other faiths to learn and teach about our beliefs and practices, shared values, the role of religion in our lives and our perspectives on contemporary issues such as the environment, modernity and pluralism. Read more about ING’s Interfaith Speakers Bureau on page 3 of this newsletter.
Also consistent with the new administration’s agenda relating to the Muslim world, President Barack Obama stated in a recent interview that…
We are ready to initiate a new partnership [with the Muslim world] based on mutual respect and mutual interest… And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.
ING is pleased to be able to provide the knowledge, content, skills and network to make this vision a reality in an area where we’re making extraordinary strides through educational seminars and cultural competency trainings that increase awareness of Muslim practices. Regionally ING delivers over 700 educational programs that reach 35,000 people and nationally, 4000 programs that reach 200,000 Americans face to face. See the article below for more information on ING’s Speaker Bureau programs.
Join our team today by donating any amount at www.ing.org/donate. No amount is too small, or too great!
ING Increases Awareness of Muslim Practices
In the Fall of 2008, ING staff and speakers experienced another very busy season reaching hundreds of K-12 schools, colleges, law enforcement agencies, healthcare facilities, faith-based organizations and other community groups. Compared to a year ago, the total number of presentations and panels was 8% higher from Sept. 2008 through January 2009, and was primarily due to more speaker requests in middle and high schools.
Speaker volunteers from eight counties in the San Francisco Bay Area visited 170 sites, delivering hundreds of presentations and interfaith panels to more than 14,000 students and adults. Nearly two-thirds of the presentations were delivered at K-12 institutions and interfaith speaker panels accounted for 8% of total activity. The flurry of ING requests was generated by direct mail campaigns to K-12 public and private secondary schools, colleges and universities in early Fall. To learn more about the program activities of ING, visit our website at www.ing.org/celebrating.
Sponsor an ING Professional Development Seminar to Increase Awareness of Muslim Practices
To increase our outreach to adult audiences, ING invites you to sponsor our professional development program that will be targeted at high-impact professionals. These seminars will provide the perfect opportunity to increase the religious literacy of K-20 educators, healthcare administrators, law enforcement chiefs, corporate managers and media executives, and as a result, enable them to better meet the needs of American Muslims. In addition to delivering a specifically tailored presentation to each audience, there will be a Q&A session and teaching resources will be distributed to ensure that institutional impact is made when attendees return to their line of work. Led by ING veteran speakers, the courses will help participants improve their understanding of Muslim practices and raise their cultural competency skills.
Select one or more of the opportunities below to support this program. For questions and to sign up to sponsor a participant in the audience of your choice, contact Cyndee in the Marketing and Programs department at email@example.com. ING is open to accepting contributions immediately. All donations are tax deductible.
Each $100 donation will subsidize the registration fee for one professional to attend.
“Healthcare for the Muslim Patient” - for healthcare administrators
“Serving the American Muslim Community” - for law enforcement chiefs and managers
“Teaching and Interacting with Muslim Students” - for K-20 educators and administrators
“Increasing Cultural Competency for Managers” - for corporate managers
“Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith” - for media executives
As a sponsor, your contribution will help:
New Faces at ING
ING recently hired Ali Asghar Rangwala as Operations Director, responsible for directing operations, accounting and administration. Ali Asghar received his M.B.A. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University. He has over 25 years of experience in the areas of accounting & operations, working both in the U.S. and abroad. Ali joined ING primarily because of its vision and mission, which more than anything impacted his decision to take a job that was socially and personally fulfilling. Ali is inspired by ING’s work which he views as extremely important at this time, and is enthusiastic about being involved in an organization that is doing good for its community and country.
In order to fulfill its expanding demands in the area of content development, ING recently hired Dr. Kristy Coleman as Content Development Manager. Dr. Coleman has a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in Religion and Culture, and a M.A. from Harvard Divinity School in Religions of the World. She has extensive experience in the field of comparative religions, and has taught related courses at a variety of institutions in California. She is presently an adjunct professor at San Jose State University where she teaches comparative religious studies part-time. Underlying her breadth of interests as a scholar, Dr. Coleman advocates that a critical methodological lens be employed to standard scholarship in religion, which is a significant asset she brings to ING.
Interfaith Panels in Bay Area High Schools and Colleges Reach Over 2000 Students
The new ING Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB) has been very well received by secondary schools and higher education institutions. ING hosted panels at several high schools in the past four months, reaching over 2000 students. In November, a Muslim-Jewish panel was held at Homestead High School in Cupertino that addressed all 10th grade social studies classes during a two-hour assembly. At Silver Creek High School in San Jose, the teacher requested a four-faith panel for his Advanced Placement students in December. Assembling speakers from the Islamic, Jewish, Christian and Hindu religions, ING hosted a panel on “living the faith in the Bay Area” and answered numerous questions from the audience.
In January, working with ING, Independence High School in San Jose hosted seven interfaith panels in an all day inaugural event from 7:00AM to 3:00PM. Each panel included a Muslim speaker who co-presented with either a Jewish or Buddhist representative. Nearly 1600 students or about one-third of the school population participated. Visit our website to learn more about the Interfaith Speakers Bureau.
To continue to expand the successful IFSB program, ING will be kicking off another series of speakers training workshops in the spring. Starting on March 31, there will be three events to recruit additional panelists. If you or someone you know is interested in joining this program, register online for the workshop of your choice. For more information, contact Cyndee in ING Programs and Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ING Convenes Three Successful Speakers Trainings
ING convened three separate trainings for the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) recently, on January 17th in the South Bay, January 31st in the East Bay, and February 21st on the Peninsula. ING hosted the series to meet the growing demand for ING presentations. All three events were conducted by ING trainers who are veteran speakers in conjunction with ING’s program staff. The training format begins with an overview of the organization and its objectives, followed by a review of the First Amendment Center’s guidelines which are based on the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment that not only guarantee freedom of religious practice in the U.S., but also specify that religion cannot be preached or proselytized in schools.
Understanding how to present religion in the context of separation of church and state and within the framework of religious pluralism is a key component of the training which is emphasized throughout. Trainers then demonstrate ING’s main presentation, “Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith,” followed by the ten additional slides that make up the same presentation for faith-based venues. Speakers are also given tips for speaking as well as informed of the certification process which has made ING programs high quality and sought after. The last but extremely critical area covered are the over 150 frequently asked questions that ING has compiled and formulated answers to based on scholarly responses. Trainees are given an opportunity to try out both their speaking skills and their wits as they practice answering specific questions for the rest of the group. The training concludes with a quick and easy test that utilizes their skills in using the training manual. This is followed by a second test a couple weeks later based on the notes and FAQ’s in the manual. ING has gained a new group of speakers from this round of trainings, but can always use more to fill its growing demand. If you are interested in becoming an ING speaker or learning more about the ISB program, please contact ING Marketing & Programs Director, Grace Fong at Grace@ing.org.
Rob Davis: Why I am an ING Board Member
While I had a general understanding of the tenets of Islam, and while I believed I had a good grasp of the culture of Muslims, it was not until I was working as the Deputy Chief in charge of criminal investigations at the San Jose Police Department trying to reduce hate crimes being perpetrated against Muslims and others after 9-11 that I truly had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of Islam and its adherents.
Indeed, it was because of the outreach I conducted within the Muslim community to address and reduce the hate crimes and threats being perpetrated that I was afforded the opportunity to break bread with local Muslims and come to know so many of them on a much more personal level. What did I learn in this process? I learned that like almost all immigrant groups in America’s past, Muslims have come from all over the world to America, and Silicon Valley specifically, in search of a life that held more opportunities for their families. In essence, they too came to these shores in search of the American dream. I learned that the Muslims in our community are some of the most educated, hardworking, law-abiding, family-centered individuals in our community. I learned that they are an asset to our society, and that more could be done to help them get their own message out to the greater community about who they really are.
It is for this reason that I joined the board of ING, whose primary mission it is to have individuals who are followers of Islam as well as those of other faiths work together to increase religious literacy and build mutual respect. I believe that as the Chief of Police in San Jose it is part of my community responsibility to do this, and ING has afforded me that opportunity. I will be forever grateful to individuals like Imam Tahir Anwar and Maha Elgenaidi for their willingness to take leadership roles in this effort and for helping me understand the many diverse communities of the Bay Area. I look forward to our continued work in this important educational and outreach effort, for we will all be better off for it.
ING is a non-profit organization that promotes religious literacy and mutual respect through onsite
educational presentations to academic institutions, public agencies and private corporations.
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