CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Amina Sharif and CAIR-Oklahoma Executive Director Razi Hashmi presented Monday at the Interfaith Youth Core’s (IFYC) annual conference, which took place at Northwestern University. The conference’s theme this year was “Leadership for a Religiously Diverse World” and featured speakers from all major faith traditions.
Sharif and Hashmi’s workshop, “Getting to Know Your Muslim Neighbors,” discussed how to engage the Muslim community in interfaith work. The two offered basic information on Islam that one should know in working with any Muslim community, including tenets of belief and the similarities and differences with other major religions. They also explained Islam’s emphasis on charity, community service, and social justice – values that all religions share.
The presentation illustrated research on the demographics of Muslims in America and across the globe. Attendees were surprised to learn that Muslims are the most racially diverse religious group in America and that Islam is practiced in every corner of the Earth by almost a quarter of the world’s population.
The presenters made the workshop interactive by asking audience members trivia questions on Islam and participants enjoyed the activity. The presentation also aimed to clear up common misconceptions of Islam and Muslims, particularly those regarding the status of women in Islam and the concept of jihad. These topics led to further discussion through questions from the audience.
Sharif and Hashmi shared information on several major American-Muslim organizations and offered resources on how one can find and contact the Mosques in their community in order to bolster interfaith activism. Books and educational resources were recommended for those who wanted to gain more in-depth knowledge on the religion and its followers.
The conference took place from October 25th-27th, and was hosted by Northwestern’s Center for Civic Engagement.