Muslims from all parts of the world since 9/11 are facing discrimination and even threats of violence. For many young people, this post-9/11 world has sparked a new, if not confusing, relationship with their own identities as Muslims. While some young men and women may not have even identified themselves strongly as Muslim before 9/11, they have found that even just their last names may now trigger their being targeted, profiled, and even discriminated against. Others, who may have always had a close relationship to Islam and Islamic practices, have been suddenly forced to defend their religion to those who brand all Muslims as terrorists. These difficult times have led young Muslims all over the world to try and find answers, connect with other individuals in similar situations, debate issues, and even subvert commonly held notions of Islam. Networking has been significant for these youth, as many who feel isolated have come to find solace in these virtual communities, as well as a place where they establish their own presence and express themselves. As one young Muslim said, "Young Muslims are ‘resorting to this virtual world because we have no space in the actual world...'"
Our second event in this program will be a social networking event focused on how Muslim youth use new media as a way to network with like-minded individuals, find answers to difficult questions, challenge commonly held attitudes and stereotypes about Islam, and to also discuss "taboo" topics.
The speakers at this forum represent a diverse range of perspectives and are composed of practitioners and bloggers as well as journalists and scholars.
List of speakers:
- Shahed Amanullah, CEO of altmuslim.com
- Wajahat Ali, Associate Editor of altmuslim.com, author of Goatmilk blog, playwright, and lawyer
- Fatemeh Fakhraie, Editor of Muslimah Media Watch
- Zeba Iqbal, VP of Council for American Muslim Professionals who was recently accepted as an AMCLI fellow [American Muslim Civic Leader]. Zeba Iqbal has written several pieces on Wajahat Ali's Goatmilk blog about gender and dating in the Muslim context.
- Zeba Khan, a social media consultant and writer and founder of Muslim-Americans for Obama
- Monis Rahman, CEO of Naseeb.com
- Imam Suhaib Webb, a contemporary American Muslim activist and scholar. The blog that he runs under his own name suhaibwebb.com won the 2010 Brass Crescent award for, "the most indispensable, Muslim-authored blog there is. Period."
(Further details on the speakers may be viewed in the "Speakers" section of this event.)
Asia Society Northern California, Arab Cultural and Community Center, Naseeb.com, Center for Islamic Studies at GTU, Altmuslim.com