Can Islam/Muslim Americans Offer A Way Forward?

The ISLAMIC THOUGHT INSTITUTE (ITI) of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures (IMMC), in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Center for the Study of African American Religious Life, along with other partners, and support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, hosts a National Conference that presents a candid conversation about race, class, and religious intersectionality—an on-going struggle for human dignity, in the American experiment.   It dares to go beyond the headlines to take a fresh and unbiased look at Islamic Thought, Worldview, ideas, and culture—its contribution to America and the role of Muslim Americans, past and present.  It’s a clarion call for Bold and Dynamic new leadership and ideas that’s intergenerational—in the context of this critical time in America’s history, and the world.  Such an examination requires a global lens and perspective, even as we think and act locally, with emphasis on Islam, and Muslims in America joining forces with others in building a diverse, pluralistic, multi-racial, multi-Ethnic, Intra-faith and interfaith movement in America and the world.

Two broad questions frame the conversation:  “Can Islam and Muslim Americans offer America a way forward out of a deepening culture of racism, classism, and denial of human dignity?  What’s Islam’s prescription for the promotion of human dignity, race and class within the human family—while in search of the answer—is there a Muslim American model?  These questions will be explored through examining Islam and its universal approach and practical application in fostering a culture of respect for human dignity, race and class, with Muslim Americans at the center.  Also, at the core of the issue, the group that is the most disenfranchised, and ranks lowest in most, if not all, the social indicators should appropriately be addressed first, as the foundation to build upon.  This is the African American more broadly, but also the Muslim African American, through the lens of one people, whose history of enslavement and dispossession, and divergent triumphant Civil and Human Rights struggle and restoral, provides a model.

The goal of the Conference is to bring out of the shadows to the forefront the important work of Muslim American individuals, institutions, and communities, and spur greater studies and support of this work, while at the same time challenging Muslim Americans to be more intentional about moving that model forward.

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