News Recap – Week of 03/01/2020 Article #3

News: Zahra Billoo and Hatem Bazian to Speak on Islamophobia

On Saturday, 3/7, Zahra Billoo, Dr. Hatem Bazian and Khalil Demir will be speaking on a panel on the topic, “Islamophobia and It’s Impact on Muslim Philanthropy”.  The conference aims to address a dilemma faced by American Muslims today: Their donations to Muslim charities is met with fear and mistrust by the larger American society. Additionally, Muslim nonprofits face more scrutiny from the government and potential donors than non-Muslim charities.

Studies have proven that the ever-increasing pressures of Islamophobia has had a profound effect on the American Muslim population and their willingness to stand up to those who attack their faith and their community. In an article entitled “Muslims Profess More Private Religious Devotion, Less Public Religious Assertiveness” by Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director of ISPU states, “Muslims are as likely as white Evangelicals to say their faith helped them forgive someone who hurt them deeply, illustrating not just mechanical devotion but the kind that overcomes the ego. And yet, they are as likely as the less personally devoted Catholics, and less likely than the more secular Jews to say they would stand up to defend their faith if the issue were unpopular.” 

Another think tank, the Yaqeen Institute led by Omar Suleiman stated in an infographic that “Insecurity often begets idleness. If young people are not confident in their faith and identity, their sense of contribution is either abolished, or motivated through other frameworks. The feeling is that the pursuit of greatness comes through breaking the shackles of Islam and the Muslim identity rather than embracing it.” Additional podcasts by Omar Suleiman on this subject and more can be found online at Muslim Central.

The following speakers will be attending:

  • Zahra Billoo currently serves as the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA) office. During her tenure, Zahra led the office to six-fold growth, and currently manages one of the largest CAIR offices in the country with a team of social justice and civil rights advocates dedicated to the empowerment of American Muslims through legal services, legislative advocacy, and community organizing.  Her office has filed lawsuits against the United States Department of Justice, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Southwest Airlines, representing American Muslims facing discriminatory treatment. 
  • Dr. Bazian is a Teaching Professor in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Bazian is an adviser to the Religion, Politics, and Globalization Center at UC Berkeley. In 2009, he founded the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at UC Berkeley, Editor-in-Chief of the Islamophobia Studies Journal and Founder and Director of the International Islamophobia Studies Consortium. Dr. Bazian is on the board of several organizations, including the Islamic Scholarship Fund, Muslim Legal Fund of America and Muslim Americans for Palestine, for which he is also the founding president.
  • Khalil Demir founded Zakat Foundation of America with a group of Muslims driven to improve the lives of the poor worldwide. Since then, he has overseen the establishment of schools, orphanages, vocational training programs, and health clinics around the world; the construction of water wells, mosques and community centers in Africa, USA, and the Navajo reservation; the delivery of millions of dollars in emergency humanitarian aid to survivors of wars, natural disasters and other catastrophes, including the Syrian conflict, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti among others.

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