Islamic Networks Group

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Islamic Networks Group is based in San Jose, California.

Islamic Networks Group (ING) is a non-profit organization that counters prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity, while building relations between American Muslims and other groups.

And all this is the product of one hour’s exposure to and interaction with an “ordinary” American Muslim in a classroom setting. (All ING presentations include substantial time for question and answer with the speaker.) ING has been doing this work since 1993 and both the content of its presentations and the training of its speakers has been honed over the years.

Dr. Henry Millstein is an ING Program Manager & Analyst. Maha Elgenaidi is ING founder and trustee.[1]

Islamic Speakers Bureau

ING’s Islamic Speakers Bureau sends speakers — all volunteers, ranging from housewives to high-tech entrepreneurs — into schools, colleges, community centers and other venues in the San Francisco Bay Area to deliver presentations on Islamic perspectives on a variety of issues, including how Islam is lived out by American Muslims, the place of women in Islam, Muslim contributions to civilization and the history of Muslims in the U.S.

Audience surveys conducted before and after ING presentations show that after a presentation, the number of students believing that Islam promotes peace rises by almost a third, while the number of those believing that the religion promotes terrorism falls by two-thirds. The number of those believing that Islam oppresses women falls by nearly two-thirds.

Likewise, ING presentations help students see Muslims as ordinary people integrated into American society. After an ING presentation, the number of those seeing Muslims as insular and foreign drops by nearly two-thirds, while that of those seeing Muslims as integrated into the community rises by almost a third. The number of those seeing Muslims as “Americans like myself” rises by almost a third, to 66 percent of respondents.[2]

San Jose Remembers the World War II Concentration Camps

According to Naomi Nakamura March 1, 2002, more than 200 people gathered at the Buddhist Church in San Jose's Japantown, Feb. 17, for the annual Day of Remembrance program. For more than twenty years, the Japanese American community has commemorated President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, which led to the removal of 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes on the west coast, and forced their imprisonment in U.S. concentration camps during World War II.

Jiro Saito told the audience how he was only three years old when his father was arrested in the days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Jim McEntee, of the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission, remembered how his Japanese American neighbors "just disappeared."

Susan Hayase spoke for the Nihomachi Outreach Committee, which organizes the Day of Remembrance program in San Jose. She reminded people how the Commission on Wartime Internment and Relocation of Civilians concluded that the World War II concentration camps were a result of "war hysteria, racism, and failure of political leadership," and how we can see the same today after Sept. 11.

Perhaps the most moving moments came during the speech of Maha Elgenaidi of the Islamic Networks Group. She stated that Muslims condemn terrorism, and thankedd the Catholic and the Japanese American communities for their support for the Muslim community in the days and weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center. El Genaidi ended with the warning that the U.S. "war on terrorism is becoming a war of terror itself."

In addition to speakers tying together the World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans and the current attacks on Arab, Muslim, and Asian immigrants, there were also speakers on the continuing struggle of Japanese Latin Americans to gain redress and representatives from the Buddhist and United Methodist Churches. There was a rousing performance of the Hawai'ian slack key guitar and by the San Jose Taiko (Japanese American drumming group). The program also included a candle lighting ceremony as a memorial to those interned in the concentration camps, followed by a candlelight procession through Japantown.[3]

"Is Islam taking the place of communism..."

According to Naomi Nakamura on June 2 2002, members of the San Jose Japanese American community met at the Yu-Ai-Kai (Japanese American Seniors' Center). They were there to learn more about the attacks on Arab Americans, Muslims and civil liberties following Sept. 11. Susan Hayase moderated the program on behalf of the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee. In her introduction, Hayase said, "It is happening again," and pointed the connection between the mass arrests of Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor and the detention of Arab and Muslim Americans today.

Fadi Saba, a member of the Coalition for Civil Liberties, said that the attacks on Arabs and Muslims today echo the Palmer Raids of the 1920's, where the U.S. government rounded up and deported thousands of immigrants suspected of being communists. Mark Schlosberg, of the American Civil Liberties Union, warned the audience about the USA Patriot Act, which expands police powers, labels civil disobedience as terrorism, and targets immigrants. Maha Elgenaidi, of the Islamic Networks Group, raised the question, "Is Islam taking the place of communism in a new cold war?" She also called on individuals to educate themselves and for the community to speak out as a group.

After the panel presentation, members of the audience shared web sites on civil liberties, the concentration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, and anti-war information. There was a discussion about the Arab Americans who had been fired by Cadence Designs and Macy's. Towards the end of the discussion, Masao Suzuki, a member of the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee, said there was a need to "build a base in the Japanese American community, build ties with Arab, Muslim, and South Asian Americans, and criticize U.S. foreign policy."[4]

Personnel

Board of Trustees

Members at Large – Scholars

Board of Directors

Board of Advisors

Staff

Interns

Reach

ING Presentations and Panels, 1993-Present

  • Middle and High Schools
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Corporations
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • K-12 School Districts Administrators and Staff
  • Evaluation Findings: Professional Development Workshops
  • Faith Based Organizations
  • Community Organizations
  • Media Agencies

Affiliates

Listed below are the affiliates of Islamic Networks Group.

Western States

South Western States

South Eastern States

Mid Western States

Eastern States

Canada

References