As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum (peace be unto you),
A Pennsylvania public high school teacher taught his students that Islam is inherently violent and that Shariah law prescribes barbaric punishments. Traumatized by this repeated exposure, a Muslim student in his class told her parents that she no longer wanted to be a Muslim. Sure, this does not happen every day, nor is it widespread, but when it does, who has the resources for a professional response and the ability to bring about lasting change? CAIR-PA does.
We immediately informed the school district and officials suspended the teacher. As we speak, CAIR-PA is currently working to include lessons on Islam and Muslims in that district’s diversity training workshops and the teacher has been mandated to attend.
But how do we Muslim Americans push back against the propaganda that leads to a public school teacher so grossly misinformed? How do we prevent such a thing happening in the first place? Through continuous, relentless outreach, dialogue and conversations with everyday Americans, that’s how. We regularly make presentations at schools, Masajid, public libraries, universities, churches, synagogues and community centers; often at the rate of one per week.
Our outreach department visited numerous Masajid across the region, helped organize the first-ever Philadelphia Children’s Interfaith Festival and participated in the Interfaith Peace Walk. Only by directly engaging the public can we have a direct impact on the public sentiment towards Islam and Muslims.
In 2010 alone, CAIR-PA appeared in over 30 unique media stories or interviews – via newspapers, television or radio. That’s 30 times when there otherwise would have been silence, or worse, someone else speaking about Muslims and Islam.
Most importantly, we are convinced that the best way to secure a better future for us all is to empower the next generation with the skills they need to make a difference. In 2009 and 2010, our dedicated staff and interns prepared and conducted 3 successful Muslim Youth Leadership Programs.
None of this can happen with you. We need your support to continue on.
I cordially invite you to CAIR-PA’s 5th Annual Banquet. Please come and celebrate with us, but also come to invest in us. CAIR-PA will be as successful as you allow it to be, and I am confident you are ready for the next level of advocacy on behalf of Muslim Americans. Please visit our website for banquet details, register as soon as possible, pass this along to friends and family and I look forward to meeting you on March 12, 2011!
CAIR-PA Philadelphia Chapter Executive Director