We at ASMA are fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve our community, both here in the United States and around the world. Throughout 2009, we have focused on both cultivating new leaders and highlighting the important work of our existing leaders. We are heartened by a network of 1,000+ passion filled women and young leaders who strive daily to bring sustainable change to their communities. We want to introduce you to some of these pioneers and share the highlights of this year's work.
Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT)
In January, Doha, Qatar was host to 300 young Muslim leaders from 75 countries (see video). At the Doha forum, entitled "Change from Within: Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow Set the Agenda", the MLTs issued an Open letter to the World Leaders of Today, published in the Washington Post during President Obama's inauguration (read more and see letter).
In April, New York City welcomed 120 American and European MLTs for two intense days of media trainings (media conference in NYC).
MLTs met with prominent journalists to learn the nuance of Media interaction. See photo: open discussion with prominent journalists: Rachel Zoll(AP), Noreen Ahmed-Ullah (Chicago Tribune), Deborah Amos (NPR), Mohamad Bazzi (Newsday), Bobby Gosh (Time Magazine), Neil MacFarquhar (NY Times), Maria Ebrahimji (CNN), moderated by Daisy Khan. Skill-building included on camera and op-ed writing trainings, as well as visits to radio stations 1010 Wins and the American Jewish Committee Media Center.
Media trainings showed immediate results: after working with master Op-Ed trainer Catherine Orenstein (see op-ed training), Zeba Khan became the 2nd runner up amongst 4,000 entries in The Washington Post's "America's Next Great Pundit" competition.
Sharaf Mawjood, a journalism student at Columbia University and trained at the MLT conference, wrote a compelling story about the Muslim community's plan to establish a center near Ground Zero. The story was published on the front page of the New York Times with Sharaf as co-author.
In September, Anjum Babukhan spearheaded the launch of the India Chapter of the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, which was inaugurated by Mr. Salman Khurshid, Union Minister of Corporate Affairs and Minorities.
In November, Pakistan MLTs met to strategize on the opening of a Pakistan Chapter of the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.
In addition, below is just a small sampling of the remarkable achievements of our
MLTs from 2009. These leaders are truly changing their communities and world.
Naif Al-Mutawa of Kuwait publicly releases his superheroes dream: THE 99 Animation (see video).
Ethar El-Katatney of Egypt won the 2009 Anna Lindh Journalist Award for her article "Identity Crisis" (Egypt Today - Anna Lindh Media Award).
Azeem Ibrahim of the UK was awarded St. Andrew's Society's Distinguished Citizens Award.
Eboo Patel won the 2010 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion (see photo) and was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The first MLT "Spirit of Guidance" award was bestowed on Reza Aslan for his outstanding contribution to the American Muslim community (see photo).
The MLT "Spirit of Guidance" award was also given to Fatima Shama, appointed by Mayor Bloomber as Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, for her commitment to the New York City Muslim community (see photo).
American MLTs were featured in the U.S. press throughout the year. Hussein Rashid, Haroon Moghul, and Asim Rehman of the U.S. all responded to Obama's Cairo Speech. Reza Aslan was almost a regular during the Iran election crisis, Mona Eltahawy continued with her 700 word or less opinions in prominent newspapers and Arslan Ifthikar continued giving opinions on NPR's Barber shop.
Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE)
In July, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia was host to the 2nd WISE global conference entitled "Muslim Women: Building Institutions, Creating Change", attended by over 200 women from around the world. A few of the conference highlights are below.
Women signed the WISE Compact articulating their rights (see video and compact).
90% of the attendees at the WISE Conference signed on to the 'Jihad Against Violence' initiative (see poster)
- In response, an in-country partnership has been established with the Pakistani group Bedari. They have started an awareness campaign on the Domestic Violence Bill to end violence against women (Bedari website)
- In Afghanistan, an in-country partnership has been formed with the Noor Educational Center (NEC). NEC has started an Imam project to mobilize the community on women's rights and elimination of violence against women (Noor Educational Center website)
83% of the WISE conference attendees said that it was very important for Muslim women to take leadership roles in religious interpretation and spirituality; 74% voted that 'harmful religious interpretation' was the biggest barrier to Muslim women's advancement (see video).
First Muslim Women's Portal which portrays the lives of Muslim Women past and present was launched at WISE Conference (see www.wisemuslimwomen.org).
Interfaith & Community Education
Our most trusted allies are our friends in other faith communities. As has become tradition, we jointly celebrated our holidays together. A few highlights of our joint events are:
In September, we celebrated the harvest in the annual Fall Feast together at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrews.
Over 150 Muslims held Iftar at an ASMA event in a church on the eve of the Jewish New Year.
Daisy Khan addressed the congregation at the Society for Advancement of Judaism on Developing a Muslim-Jewish Exchange.
Sabeeha Rehman lectured at Manhattan Marymount College, Fellows of Humanity in Action, and visiting students from the U.K.
The media frenzy continues at ASMA. For the past year, ASMA has been featured in more than 75 national & international media. In this month alone, Imam Feisal and Daisy Khan were featured on the program "In God We Trust" on CNN and were featured on the front page of New York Times, Daisy Khan on ABC Nightly News (see video), CBS Radio and and the "O'Reilly Factor Show" on FoxTV (see video).
ASMA and Cordoba Initiative join Karen Armstrong
Daisy Khan, Imam Feisal with Karen Armstrong and TED promoting Charter of Compassion (see video and photos).
As always, we rely on your generosity to continue work. Please partner with us by contributing as much as your budget allows. To donate, click here or mail checks to:
ASMA or American Society for Muslim Advancement
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115
ASMA Society is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible.
With warm regards,
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan
American Society for Muslim Advancement
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 248
New York, NY 10115