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ISNA Rep Speaks at the Islamic Education Center

ISNA Rep Speaks at the Islamic Education Center
Over the weekend, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Government Relations and Program Coordinator Nadia Hassan addressed an audience of 500 at a Ramadan iftar hosted by the Islamic Education Center in Potomac, Maryland.

 

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(Plainfield, IN 6/30/15) Over the weekend, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Government Relations and Program Coordinator Nadia Hassan addressed an audience of 500 at a Ramadan iftar hosted by the Islamic Education Center in Potomac, Maryland.

The theme of the evening was “Combatting Islamophobia by Way of Bridging the Sunni and Shia divide.” Councilmember and President of the Montgomery County Council George Leventhal, joined Hassan to address the importance of unity among Muslims in order to abolish the negative media stereotyping in a post-9/11 era.

The evening focused on the need for the formation of many anti-hate coalitions and advocacy organizations triggered by a recent upsurge of irrational, anti-Muslim bigotry. Hassan shared her experience and success with the Villa Park Peace Coalition (VPPC) which she founded in 2011, to counter-act hate in Southern California. This coalition was formed after the hate speech of her own councilwomen and left the residents of Orange County feeling unsafe and insecure. This also showed the importance of intra-faith and interfaith bridge building and how interdependently woven they are to one another.

Nadia Hassan affirmed that in order to combat the adverse image of Muslims that has been painted by the media, it is crucial for Muslims to unite for a greater good, by setting aside their differences and finding a common ground. She also stressed the importance of being present, visible, in mainstream society, and simultaneously making significant contributions within their local community, starting with their neighbors, schools and attending city council meetings.

The key takeaway message from the evening was that Sunnis and Shias have more in common than differences and that we need to offer a counter-narrative of understanding and love in order to erase the discord and the divide. That is the first step toward progress. The evening concluded with audience introspectively reflecting upon the broader message of the Quran and what it is that God wants from us.  

“For centuries, we have been calling upon one another as brothers and sisters in Islam- but before we can truly consider each other brother and sisters, we must first act like and friends,” Hassan explained as she ended the evening.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.
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