Islamic Organizations Fight for Muslim Communities
Photo by Islamic Relief
by Amy Hensler/Arab America Contributing Writer
Today, an estimated 3.45 million Muslim Americans are living in an environment of hostility, where they are subjected to extremists, hate crimes, and discrimination in their everyday lives. Now more than ever, Muslims are in need of protection from community organizations dedicated to combating harmful political rhetoric. Many Islamic organizations were founded before 9/11 and their main goal then was to help create a safe environment for Muslims to practice their religion. Now, in a world fraught with Islamophobic sentiment, Islamic organizations are finding that they have to adapt to the new political environment.
Islamic organizations are now using their platforms to inform Muslim Americans of their rights, and they seek to provide a better world for Muslims to live in. Many organizations are directly fighting the political environment that Trump helped to create. Below is a list of some Islamic organizations that are attempting to combat Islamophobic narratives. However, this list does not include every organization, and there are many more that are doing amazing work to better their communities.
Islamic Circle of North America
Photo by ICNA
The Islamic Circle of North America was founded in 1968, and it is a grass-roots organization composed of immigrants and their descendants. ICNA has a diverse array of programs, from their youth division called Young Muslims, to disaster relief services. ICNA has a campaign called Why Islam?, which is a community outreach project that aims to provide accurate information about Islam. They are an organization dedicated to giving back to the community and standing up against Islamophobia.
Islamic Society of North America
Photo by ISNA
The Islamic Society of North America was founded in 1982. It is the largest Islamic organization with 27% of U.S. mosques associated with it. The organization is largely composed of immigrants, and it hosts an annual convention which is the largest gathering of Muslims in the United States. Their vision is to be “an exemplary and unifying Islamic organization in North America that contributes to the betterment of the Muslim community and society at large.”
Muslims Students’ Association
Photo by MSA
The Muslim Students’ Association was founded in 1963. They are dedicated to unify Muslim individuals on college campuses. MSA’s mission aims to provide college students with safe opportunities to practice their religion and hold social activities and events. They recently launched a campaign called United Against Islamophobia that seeks to build bridges between people of all faiths. They created this campaign because of “Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban and growing Islamophobia in the West today,” and they believe that intersectional allies can help address this growing bigotry.
Council on American Islamic Relations
Photo by CAIR
The Council on American Islamic Relations was founded in 1994. CAIR was founded to lead the mission for justice and mutual understanding in the Muslim community. They also seek to “enhance understandings of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.” CAIR comes out with an annual Civil Rights Report that documents anti-Muslim incidents and tracks anti-Muslim sentiments in the media. Their report is instrumental in the fight to help protect American Muslims.
Photo by Islamic Relief
Islamic Relief was founded in 1993, and their mission is to help create a world free of poverty. They seek to provide “relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world.” Their inspirational mission has empowered many Muslims across the United States. They work to help with disaster relief, empower children to get an education, increase access to food, water, and sanitation, and provide orphan support.
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Photo by MPAC
The Muslim Public Affairs Council was founded in 1988 under the belief “that America is enriched by the vital contributions of American Muslims.” They are a policy advocacy organization that seeks to shape public opinion through policy and politicians. They seek to protect their community from the dangerous stereotypes that the media paints Muslims with.