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In this Issue..

Presenting Islam Objectively: Nadim Bashir
Islamophobia and its Cure: Nicole Queen
Preparations in full Swing for ISB-DFW Dinner
Muslim Women's Who's Who?
ING Affiliates Meeting and Other Events

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." -- Confucius
 

Presenting Islam Objectively - By Imam Nadim Bashir

For the past 12 years, Muslims around the globe and the overall religion of Islam have been a constant target of hatred, animosity, propaganda, misunderstanding, misjudgment and open discrimination.

The Holy Quran which is the Holy and Sacred book of Islam, lays down very clear instructions that if anyone has any types of misunderstandings regarding the religion of Islam, then it is the overall responsibility of the Muslim community to stand up and help eliminate the misconceptions. It is for this very reason that several Muslims in all the major cities around North America decided to take a stand against all the false propaganda and the fabricated fear, which the media is filling the hearts with of the general American Public. Since then open houses and interfaith programs all over America are being conducted in order to bridge the gap between Muslims and people of other faiths.

Being an American born Imam and Religious Leader in North Texas, I repeatedly come in contact with many Americans who are completely ignorant about Islam. I, therefore personally took it up upon myself that not only will I make my Muslim community the focal point of teaching and education, I would love to utilize my skills in order to provide a clear picture to Non-Muslims regarding Islam.

In order to achieve this goal, I began looking for a well-established educationally based organization that was willing to present and provide content about Islam and Muslims without changing, fabricating, or distorting any aspect of the religion in order to make Islam very appealing to the audience. Unfortunately this has been the trend amongst many Muslims and even some sects of Islam as a whole. One of many important lessons I learnt from the Quran was that Islam should always be presented to others the way it is found in the sacred sources of Islamic law rather than making changes to make it appealing to others.

After a long search, I came in contact with an organization by the name of Islamic Speakers Bureau-Dallas/Ft. Worth or ISB-DFW. Initially, my reaction was that although the objective and mission of ISB-DFW was what I was searching for, I did not give much attention to it. Despite the initial dismissal nearly four months later, I became a certified speaker for ISB-DFW and have been using the content and methodology I was trained on regularly.

There are two primary reasons why I believed joining this organization would be beneficial for me:

[1] I quickly learned that all the Islamic information the organization provides in the content is completely accurate and is in exact accordance with the sacred sources of Islamic law which are the Holy Quran and the Hadith (sayings and actions of Prophet [PBUH]). None of the information has been fabricated or changed in order to misinform or wrongly educate anyone while still including diverse thoughts and scholarly opinions on topics that have been discussed over centuries.

[2] All the material, which each speaker of ISB-DFW must learn and master, was initially presented before many Imams and scholars in order to ensure that all information in the speakers guide is genuine and accurate. Therefore I knew that by joining ISB-DFW, not only will I be educating people about Islam but I will be able to deliver and provide credible and professional academic presentations about Islam.

I encourage anyone who is passionate about educating others about Islam academically to help relieve our community at large from the ignorance it faces, to sign up to be trained as an ISB-DFW speaker or volunteer in any capacity to help further the work of this worthwhile organization.


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Islamophobia and How to Address It? - By Nicole Queen

The term "phobia," stems from the Greek word Phobos, meaning "fear," or "morbid fear" and is described as a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities. This means that when a person suffers from "Islamophobia," then this person is acting irrationally and disproportionately towards the target of their fear…Islam. So why is that?

Well, let’s look at the word "Islam." It comes from the Arabic word 'Salam,' and is the form of an action. If we translate Islam into plain English, it means "make peace." So if we combine the meaning of "Islam" and the meaning of "phobia" into "Islamophobia," then we have a growing population of people who are developing a persistent fear of "making peace." I must say that I agree this is very disproportionate to the actual danger that "making peace" poses.

Although the definition of Islamophobia easily exposes the absurdity of such a word, it still exists and still very much defines the attitude towards those who follow and practice Islam on a daily basis. Islamophobia, just like any phobia, promotes a negative idea towards something that most likely would otherwise be harmless. In this case it's a set of negative ideals directed towards actual people and cultures living here in the US, trying to join the melting pot of American society in a peaceful manner. Examples of this type of behavior include graffiti on the walls of Mosques, places of worship for Muslims. Other examples include rioting and Anti-Muslim bigotry, as seen recently in the Park51 riots, against the construction of an Islamic organization near ground zero, in New York City. (From "Islamaphobia-Watch.com")

A small number of conservative foundations are propelling a handful of anti-Islamic activists who are fueling rising levels of Islamophobia, according to a report issued by the Center for American Progress. The 130-page report identifies seven conservative funders who between 2001 and 2009 gave $42.6 million to eight anti-Islamic causes, most of them headed by individuals who critics say form an organized network.

This type of reaction towards Muslims is shocking, dangerous, and completely against what America stands for. With so much Anti-Muslim sentiment in the media as well, there is an urgent need for a cure to Islamophobia and we need this cure now!

How is a phobia cured?
Outreach with education about Islam and Muslims is the best cure for Islamophobia. Creating friendships, where there were none, creating understanding and acceptance, where there was confusion and fear, all of these go a long way in addressing the phobia. This is what the Islamic Speakers Bureau, Dallas/Fort Worth (ISB-DFW) is doing out there on a daily basis. ISB-DFW trains its speakers to present Islam objectively and reaches out to various public and private institutions to build bridges of understanding.

References:
Foa, E. B, & Kozak, M.J. (1986). Emotional processing of fear; Exposure to corrective information. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 20-35.
http://phobialist.com/treat.html
http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2011/8/27/new-report-details-roots-funding-of-islamophobia-machine.html
Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, Runnymede Trust, 1997


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ISB-DFW Benefit Dinner - Preparations in Full Swing

Islamic Speakers Bureau-DFW is all set to host the first ever benefit dinner on September 16th, 2012 at the Omni Hotel, Park West. The theme of the benefit dinner is "Strengthening the Bridge". The event is unique is a number of ways. ISB-DFW is emphasizing the significance of this timing and the context of the event, by making it the focal point of its campaign to support the education of Islam and to build bridges of understanding.

An impressive array of speakers will assemble to hold groundbreaking discussions. The speakers include prominent religious & community leaders, researchers, columnists and authors. This event also provides the perfect platform for those concerned about the rise of Islamophobia and the repercussions this holds for secular democracies such as the United States.

ISB-DFW Benefit Dinner - Sept. 16, 2012 (5 PM) at the Omni Hotel, Park West

For sponsorship and more information:
Phone: (972) 652-0786
E-Mail: info@isb-dfw.org

To register:
http://www.isb-dfw.org/register

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Muslim Women's Who's Who? A Journey through Time and Space by Dina Malki

Islamic Speakers Bureau-DFW invites you to a free presentation on Sunday, July 1st (2 - 4 PM) at the Islamic Association of Mid-Cities (Colleyville) by Hartford Seminary, Masters Candidate, Dina Malki. Dina will be delivering the presentation as a part of her Masters project. Dina is one of ISB-DFW’s newest Board Members who is halfway through her certification process to become an ISB certified speaker. This presentation will explore four historical eras and revives the legacy of Muslim women as contributors to society, as religious scholars, as activists, as philanthropists, and as faithful maidservants.

Muslim Women's Who's Who? Sunday, July 1 (2-4 PM) @ IAMC, Colleyville

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ISB-DFW Events Update

Affiliates Conference 2012: "Leaving Your Legacy - Building Capacity of Your Non-Profit Organization"
Date: June 8th – June 10th
ISB-DFW Representatives Present: Alia Salem, Board Member and Certified Speaker
Location: San Jose, California

Description: ISB-DFW Board Member Alia Salem at the ING Affiliates Conference
This conference was an amazing collection of scholars and experts all brought together to share the knowledge they had on such topics as Leadership from an Islamic Perspective, Mechanisms of Governance, Donor Development and the list goes on. Instructors included many well-known scholars from our community like Dr. Rafik Beekun and Alauddin El-Bakri who led the Friday Jummah Khutba and Salah as well as the keynote dinner address the first evening. 20 affiliates from across the country were represented. ISB-DFW was honored with an opportunity to share elements of our work in a formal presentation highlighting our inaugural year as they (ING) were very impressed with the quantity and quality of work by our organization over the last 12 months. See more pictures here.

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Disciples of Christ in the Southwest Youth Camp Presentation
Date: June 19th, 2012
Certified Speakers: Alia Salem (Also in attendance, speaker in training Rachel Elmalawany)
Location: Disciples Crossing Camp, Athens, TX (1 hour 45 min from Dallas)

Alia Salem and Rachel Elmalawany after a PresentationDescription: This presentation went off without a hitch and educated 140+ teens and chaperones using the presentation “Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith”. At one point a lady in the audience asked if the speaker (Alia Salem) or any Muslims friends and family members were ever treated poorly or given dirty looks. She replied in the affirmative and the lady replied humbly “I am so sorry”. However the majority of the presentation was extremely upbeat and Alia had the students either roaring with laughter or awe-inspired by the similarities shared by Islam and Christianity. The presentation ended on an extremely positive note when one instructor asked what advice Alia had as a Muslim for how to address hatred and bigotry and raise the level of tolerance in a pluralistic society. Alia’s response was simple, look at the examples of our shared prophets, their example is recorded and that’s what they are they for.

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Presentation for Ursuline Academy of Dallas
Date: June 19th, 2012
Certified Speakers: Tamer Desouky; Backup - Hazem Yassin
Location: Islamic Center of Irving

Tamer Desouky after delivering his first solo presentationDescription: A group of 10 ladies and their teacher visited the Islamic Center of Irving to receive the presentation “Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith”. They reached out to ICI to help supplement their knowledge on Islam in conjunction with the Comparatives Religion class. ICI turned to ISB to deliver the presentation and Tamer Desouky rose to the challenge. Tamer is ISB‘s newest fully certified speaker who just delivered his very first ISB presentation with skill and professionalism. Way to go Tamer!! A Big Shout Out to ICI for their continued trust and support in the services we offer.


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