2012 Events

October 10, 2012

  • Outreach and Communications Director conducted an Islam 101 and Women in Islam presentation at Gwynedd-Mercy College. About 40 students and faculty attended, and found the presentation both enlightening and informative. She addressed common stereotypes of Muslim women while debunking myths about Islamic law.

October 5, 2012

  • Outreach and Communications Director conducted an anti-bullying presentation at the Muslim Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (MCCGP) on October 5th.  About 50 youth and their parents attended the presentation and learned how to identify and address school bullying.  Some youth talked about instances in which they were bullied or witnessed bullying in school. Parents received practical information on how to best advocate for their child.  Both youth and parents walked away with useful tips on countering bullying in school.  This workshop was organized by CAIR-Pittsburgh in collaboration with MCCGP.

July 19, 2012

  • Muslim Women, Spirituality & Contemporary Issues

Outreach and Communications Director conducted a presentation about Muslim Women, Spirituality and Contemporary issues at a Fielding Graduate University gathering last week in Alexandria, Virginia. About 30 to 45 students attended the presentation and asked questions relating to Islam, women in the Qur’an and how spirituality is viewed in Islam. It was a positive educational experience for students as they mentioned how they are bombarded with negative images of Muslim Women in mainstream media.

June 8, 2012

  • MYLP Workshop at MAS

CAIR-Philadelphia Outreach and Communications Director conducted a successful youth workshop on Friday, June 8, 2012.  About 25 students and their parents at Muslim American Society learned about religious rights in schools and how to counter and deal with bullying.

May 10, 2012

  • Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council Meeting Presentation

CAIR-Philadelphia Outreach and Communications Director, conducted a presentation on May 10th about Islamic Festivals and Holidays at the Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council Meeting. Members of the Multifaith Council have been comparing and discussing Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Islamic holy days and concepts of time at their meetings in order to foster understanding.

May 2, 2012

  • Presentation: The Muslim Community and Employment Discrimination

On May 2, 2012, Civil Rights Director and Staff Attorney Amara S. Chaudhry presented a program titled “The Muslim Community and Employment Discrimination” to the Philadelphia District Office of the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the federal agency charged with enforcing federal employment discrimination laws. The EEOC included CAIR as part of its community outreach efforts and hopes to provide future programs directly to the Muslim community so that individuals who suffer from employment discrimination understand their legal rights and the procedure for seeking justice.

April 25, 2012

  • Arguing about Islam: Between free speech and public pluralism (Temple University)

Moein Khawaja, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director, was a co-panelist at a panel discussion at Temple University, Arguing About Islam: Between Free Speech and Public Pluralism, attended by over 50 students. The event was put together in response to an appearance of anti-Muslim hate mongers Robert Spencer, Pamela Gellar and Nonie Darwish just two days before at Temple University. Panelists discussed how Islamophobes paint narratives that Islam itself is the problem using selective anecdotes and other faulty reasoning. Along with offering ideas and guidelines on how to criticize religions, cultures and traditions, the panel discussed the observable differences between hate speech, legitimate criticism and intellectual inquiry.

April 17, 2012

  • Understanding Islamophobia (St. Joseph’s University)

Executive Director Moein Khawaja presented Understanding Islamophobia lectures to St. Joseph’s University students.   Students learned where Islamophobia comes from, its consequences and belief systems. The lecture discussed anti-Muslim hate groups, the recycled talking points used by Islamophobes, anti-Sharia bills, biased law enforcement training and much more.  Students were given the tools to effectively challenge Islamophobia if they ever encounter it.

March 26, 2012

  • Tunisian National Constituent Assembly

On March 26, Amara S. Chaudhry, in her capacity as a member of the ACLU of Philadelphia’s Legal Committee, participated in a meeting with Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly, charged with writing the new Tunisian constitution. The Tunisian delegation’s two-day trip to D.C. and Philadelphia was arranged by the U.S. Department of State which specifically encouraged the delegation to meet with the ACLU – an agency known for its active role in petitioning the government for redress. Ms. Chaudhry was introduced to the Tunisian delegation as both a member of the ACLU’s Legal Committee and as Civil Rights Director & Staff Attorney for CAIR-Philadelphia. She spoke to the delegation about the primary civil rights issues affecting American Muslims and American Muslim support for democracy in the Muslim-majority world.

March 24, 2012

  • Big Brother is Watching You Conference Program

On March 24, Civil Rights Director & Staff Attorney Amara S. Chaudhry gave presented a program at the National Lawyers Guild Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. The program was titled “Big Brother is Watching You: NYPD Surveillance of the Northeastern United States” and was designed to educate lawyers, law students, and community activists about the legal issues relevant to the NYPD’s surveillance of Shiite mosques and Muslim student organizations from Pennsylvania to Connecticut. This year’s conference was held at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

March 10, 2012

  • CAIR-Philadelphia Sixth Annual Banquet – Unwavering Advocacy: Our Legacy, Our Promise

Over 800 community leaders and members from all over the Delaware Valley turned out for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Philadelphia (CAIR-Philadelphia) 6th annual Banquet on Saturday, March 10th.  An estimated $200,000 was raised to support CAIR-Philadelphia’s work in civil rights and advocacy, media, interfaith and education.

Filmmaker Qasim “Q” Basir was presented with the Courage in Arts award for directing and writing the award-winning film “Mooz-Lum,” a coming of age story about a young Muslim’s struggle with identity and faith on a college campus during 9/11.  In his speech, Basir emphasized how honored he was to receive the award from the Muslim community, and detailed challenges in making an independent film.

Hamid Chaudhry, owner of two Dairy Queens in Reading, Penn., was recognized for his community service work with this year’s Martin Luther King Drum Major for Service award. Hamid was featured on CBS Evening News, “Assignment America” with Scott Pelley in October.

Keynote Speaker, Islamic Scholar Dr. Sherman Jackson, spoke about the extraordinary legacy of Muslims in America – from early Muslim explorers, African Muslims that were brought as slaves to America, the wave of immigration from Muslim majority countries in the 60s and 70s to the role of Muslims in civil rights in America.

Executive Director, Moein Khawaja, highlighted the organization’s yearly accomplishments including the hiring of CAIR-Philadelphia’s first Staff Attorney, Amara Chaudhry.

Imam Siraj Wahhaj, leader of At-Taqwa Mosque in New York, inspired American Muslims to continue to support CAIR-Philadelphia’s work that benefits not only Muslims but the American society at large.

CAIR-Philadelphia’s banquet is one of the largest gatherings of American Muslims and people of all faiths in Pennsylvania. Community members come to celebrate their participation in democracy, to hear from local leaders, to meet with elected officials, and to celebrate the accomplishments of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

February 27, 2012

  • Sharia: Friend or Foe?

Around 200 people attended and learned about the basics of sharia, the misconceptions surrounding it, the roots of the sharia fear sweeping the nation and the unconstitutionality of anti-sharia laws.  A lively Q&A discussion followed.  Stay tuned as we work to release the full video on YouTube.   CAIR-Philadelphia wishes to thank PhillyCAM (Community Access Media) for the video production.

February 25, 2012

  • Understanding and Challenging Islamophobia Seminar (Coatesville, PA)

Executive Director Moein Khawaja presented an Understanding and Challenging Islamophobia presentation at Masjid Ar-Rahman in Coatesville, PA.  The community learned how the phenomenon of Islamophobia originated with anti-Muslim pseudo-experts and how it has come to influence elected officials and some government policy.  The event was followed by a workshop on how to challenge Islamophobia in public discourse and mitigate its effects.

February 24, 2012

  • Muslims in America: Building Bridges in a Climate of Fear

On February 24, Peace Day Philly 2012 partnered with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Council on American-Islamic Relations Philadelphia (CAIR-Philadelphia), Nationalities Service Center (NSC) and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quakers) to lead a community discussion on creating welcoming communities. This event included a short film screening of Hawo’s Dinner Party and interfaith and cross cultural dialogue. Hawo’s Dinner Party, a 30 minute video based on the longer documentary Welcome to Shelbyville, tells the story of a small southern town grappling with new immigrants and refugees and issues relating to their integration. Three local Muslim community leaders, Lisa Abdelsalam, author of “A Song for Me, A Muslim Holiday Story,” Madina Hasson, president and founder of the Somali Community of Central PA and Bahjat Abdulwahed, Iraqi refugee and former journalist, tell personal accounts of their life and discussed what makes us feel truly welcomed.

  • Behind the Scenes at CAIR Lecture

On Friday February 24, 2012, Executive Director Moein Khawaja gave a “Behind the Scenes at CAIR” lecture to the University of Delaware Muslim Students Association. Audience participants learned about some of the strategies CAIR uses to combat Islamophobia, engage with media and handle civil rights issues. The presentation featured an in-depth look at what life is like at the CAIR office at any given day or week. Special emphasis was placed on CAIR-PA’s strategy in defeating PA House Bill 2029. A question and answer session followed and audience participants gained insight on how to be activists at the local level.

February 21, 2012

  • Presentation to UPenn MSA Regarding NYPD Surveillance

Executive Director Moein Khawaja gave a short presentation to the University of Pennsylvania Muslim Students Association, after the Associated Press Reported that the NYPD had been watching the activities of MSA’s across the northeast.  Moein discussed the reasons why such a thing would happen with the students, including Islamophobic law enforcement training.  Students later discussed how to assert their rights and creatively protest religious profiling.

January 21, 2012

  • Behind the Scenes at CAIR (ISGVF)

The CAIR-Philadelphia staff presented “Behind the Scenes at CAIR” at the Islamic Society of Greater Valley Forge.  Audience participants learned about some of the strategies CAIR uses to combat Islamophobia, engage with media and handle civil rights issues.  The presentation featured an in-depth look at what life is like at the CAIR office at any given day or week.  Special emphasis was placed on CAIR-PA’s strategy in defeating PA House Bill 2029.

January 16, 2012

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration (NewCORE Philadelphia)

CAIR-Philadelphia Outreach and Communications Director was a panelist for NewCORE’s Conversation of Kings that was held at Girard College King Day of Service on Monday, January 16.  The dialogue focused on race, ethnicity and religion in the post King era.  Participants and panelists talked about the importance of creating opportunities for honest, open conversation between people of different races and religions.

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