Plan for the Campaign for Healing and Reconciliation is Set
The first meeting of the Task Force for the National Campaign for Healing and Reconciliation was held on June 27 at the Islamic Center of Long Island who hosted the event. The Campaign was initiated by MANA to build bridges of understanding and cooperation within the American Muslim community. One of the first things the Task Force did was to agree on the objective of the Campaign: “to foster among the various segments of our Muslim communities a greater sense of appreciation of each other, a common sense of purpose, and a higher level of cooperation.”
The Task Force consists of 18 members who represent the broad spectrum of the American Muslim community, including the major national organizations such as Mosque Cares, ISNA, CAIR, ICNA, etc, as well as two of the major city-wide Shura councils (Chicago and Southern California) and various Muslim leaders. A complete list of the members is found at the end of this article. The main purpose of this first meeting of the Task Force was to set a plan for the Campaign. Al-hamdulillah, the meeting was extremely successful in achieving its goal of agreeing on a plan.
The Task Force agreed that the Campaign would focus primarily on local communities and would revolve around three areas: promoting dialogue, initiating youth activities across cultural lines, and facilitating joint projects. The Task Force will develop a Tool Kit that will give local communities guidelines and best practices for implementing the Campaign in their area.
Promoting dialogue includes various possible activities such as (1) Town Hall meetings where the entire community can discuss the issue of relationships; (2) Dine Around where dinner meetings would be held of small yet diverse groups; (3) Pairing Masjids whereby masjids would work together over a period of time to build understanding; (4) Sharing Speakers and Khateebs in which local masjids would invite speakers and khateebs to address their community ; (5) Educational Programs that would focus on the history and culture of the various communities and (6) a Speakers’ Bureau that would provide possible speakers for educational programs.
The Task Force agreed that a special focus needs to be placed on youth. They need to be included in all aspects of the Campaign but special activities need to be organized for them. Possible activities include: (1) Community Café or open-mic sessions where youth across cultural lines can come together to express themselves; (2) Sports Activities that are area-wide or include certain masjids; (3) Joint Youth Group Activities whereby existing youth groups would work together to organize joint activities.
Healing and reconciliation can also be engendered by joint projects and the Task Force listed possible joint projects: (1) Community Service such as feeding the poor as exemplified in Humanitarian Day, Days of Dignity or Project Downtown; (2) Oral/Video History Project in which each masjid or community would be guided and trained to record their own history, and then that history would be shared and celebrated within the local area; (3) Zakah Initiative whereby masjid zakah committees would be trained in managing zakah and a joint area-wide zakah committee would be formed to better share zakah in the local area; (4) Specialized Networking Groups which would be various area-wide groups that would form around a specific interest.
Subcommittees were formed for all these areas. The goal is to launch the Campaign by Eid al-Adha of 2009.
Members (alphabetical order)
- Junaid Afeef (Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago)
- Qasim Ahmed (Association of Imam W. Deen Mohammed; MANA)
- Nadim Ali (National Umma)
- Debbie Almontaser (NY Educator)
- Usama Canon (Zaytuna Institute)
- Mohamed Elsanousi (ISNA)
- Altaf Husain (MANA)
- Basheer Jones, Radio Personality and Entertainer
- Faruque Khan (Islamic Center Long Island)
- Khurshid Khan (ICNA)
- Aliya Latif (CAIR National)
- MAS Representative
- Asma Mirza, (MSA National)
- Laila Muhammad (Mosque Cares)
- Ameen Omar (Islamic Shura Council of So Cal)
- Hamza Perez (Sankore Institute)
- Tayyibah Taylor (Azizah Magazine)
- Halima Toure (MANA)
- Hud Williams (MANA)