Category Archives: Forum

Islamophobia Talk at Congregational Church of Pinehurst

Congregational Church of Pinehurst Hosts a Talk on Islamophobia

Manzoor Cheema from the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia spoke on the topic of “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at Congregational Church of Pinehurst, UCC, on May 22, 2016. Congregants from the church, Moore County NAACP members, grassroots activists and general community members attended the talk. This talk explored the roots of Islamophobia; how Islamophobia is connected to anti-Black racism, homophobia, anti-semitism and other forms of oppression; and how to build an intersectional movement to defeat all these oppressions. The talk was followed by Q&A session and photo-op with a banner titled “United Against Racism and Islamophobia”.

About the Congregational Church of Pinehurst
“The Congregational Church of Pinehurst, UCC an official ONA church, celebrates the human spirit by welcoming all to its family of faith.
At Congregational Church of Pinehurst we seek to share God’s love and justice with the world. To that end we receive with respect, and nurture with intention, the gifts of all who come to us on their journey of faith. We also seek to be inclusive of all human diversity in the life of our church.
Our church’s energy is constantly renewed by Pastor Brent Bissette’s challenging and uplifting sermons, the beautiful music of our choir, our noisy and laughter-filled fellowship after church and the many mission-related community programs our members lead.
“The Congregational Church of Pinehurst, UCC, is called to follow Jesus’ way of love, justice and inclusion. We do this by:
• facing issues of faith openly and honestly
• nourishing the spirit of God within us all
• creating a caring community
• celebrating human diversity
• respecting the wisdom of other religious traditions
• working with others to create a just society
• promoting the sustainable and equitable use of the earth’s resources
We invite all to join us regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation.”

Learn more here:
http://youarewelcomehereorg.ipage.com

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Presentation on Islamophobia at UNC School of Social Work

MERI Makes Presentations on Islamophobia at UNC School of Social Work

Manzoor Cheema from Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia made two presentations titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work on May 20, 2016. These presentations were part of Field Instructors’ and Task Supervisors’ Appreciation Conference. These presentations explored the roots of Islamophobia; how it impacts Muslim students, patients, workers, immigrants and general community members; and tools social workers could use when dealign with Muslim clients.

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work
Founded in 1920, the UNC School of Social Work is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. Through innovative research that improves practice and enhances education, we search for solutions to the challenges of poverty, mental health, violence, and substance abuse. We prepare social workers to make a difference.

We are a graduate school offering M.S.W. and Ph.D. degrees.

Our Students
Our School has a tradition of excellence in producing practitioners and leaders who are committed to public, private and nonprofit services and to the development of policies and programs that strengthen individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Across the country and internationally, alumni serve in a variety of direct practice and management positions. Our graduates work with racially diverse communities in rural, urban and suburban settings. They assist children and the elderly and those who are ill or challenged by mental and physical disabilities. Our graduates build on the strengths inherent in at-risk populations and bring compassion and wisdom to the most intransigent social problems.

Our Faculty
Our faculty members are respected and recognized scholars and entrepreneurs who have produced a wide range of innovative research, including studies that address some of the most pressing problems of addiction, aging, at-risk youth, poverty, healthcare, family violence and affordable housing. The School has grown to include 27 tenured and tenure-track faculty members – seven of whom are chaired or distinguished professors – and more than 65 clinical and research faculty members. In 2011, social work faculty received more than $12 million in grant funding.

Learn more at:
http://ssw.unc.edu/about

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UNC Students Hosts Talk on Islamophobia

UNC Chapel Hill South Asian Students Host a Talk on Islamophobia

South Asian and People of Color students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  hosted a talk on Islamophobia and racism on April 18, 2016. MERI’s member, Manzoor Cheema, made the presentation. This talk took place in a class taught by Anisha Padma and Aisha Anwar. This talk explored rooted of Islamophobia in racism and colonialism, and identified action to defeat this oppression. This talk included discussion on structural and institutional basis of Islamophobia and what is required to abolish Islamophobia. Some of student organizations represented during the discussion included UNC Monsoon, Queer Trans People of Color and Campus Y.

About MERI:
Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia is a network which stands and acts together against all forms of Islamophobia and racism. We are living in an environment in which the media and other forces are inciting prejudice and hatred against Islam and Muslims. This hate is being targeted against both Muslim individuals and entire groups perceived as Muslims. We understand both Islamophobia and racism within a framework that sees how discrimination based on race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion are part of multiple, interlocking forms of oppression that reinforce and sustain one another.
http://merinc.org/mission-statment/

About UNC Monsoon
Monsoon seeks to fight both the misrepresentation and underrepresentation of South Asia in mainstream media by producing original content that informs, entertains, and also fosters discussion. It provides a platform for South Asian voices to share real stories, revealing the immense diversity our community boasts.
http://monsoon.web.unc.edu/
https://www.facebook.com/uncmonsoon/info/?tab=page_info

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Meredith College Forum on Racism and Islamophobia

Meredith College Hosts a Forum on Islamophobia and Racism

A forum titled “Race, Fear and Faith: A Conversation About ‪Racism‬ and ‪Islamophobia‬” was organized at Meredith College on April 14, 2016. Rev. William J. Barber, II, President of North Carolina NAACP, provided a brilliant context of racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and other forms of oppression. Racism and “otherization” is essential for forces of hate and fear to ascend and maintain their power in a society that is changing ethnically, culturally and socio-economically. Rev. Barber emphasized the need for a Third Reconstruction and fusion politics to build a progressive society.

Other speakers included Mohamed AbuTaleb, Imam at Islamic Center of Raleigh, and Maryam Ahmed, member of Muslim Students Association at Meredith College. They offered important perspectives on how to respond to anti-Muslim bigotry. Rev. Nancy Petty, paster at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, gave opening statement, while Manzoor Cheema, founding member of MERI, gave closing statement. David Crabtree from WRAL TV moderated the event.

This event was organized by Islamophobia working group that includes members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, Islamic Association of Raleigh, As-Salaam Islamic Center – Raleigh, Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East, Triangle Interfaith Alliance and Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC.

Workshop on Islamophobia:

MERI offers workshops on Islamophobia to members of faith-based, peace and justice, educational and non-profit organizations. Our workshops on Islamophobia offer one-on-one interaction on how to defeat Islamophobia. Our workshops have the following objectives:

– define Islamophobia
– place Islamophobia in a larger context of racialized oppression
– address common myths and assumptions about Islam and Muslims
– identify how we are unintentionally participating
– identify how we can interrupt our own and others’ participation
– clarify action steps

For more information about these workshops, your organization’s particular needs, pricing of our workshop or other questions, please contact us at info@MeriNC.org. We will welcome you to subscribe to our newsletter to learn about activities against Islamophobia and racism organized in North Carolina and beyond.

Islamophobia is bigotry and oppression (individual or institutional) against Islam, Muslims and people perceived as Muslims. The Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI) is a network of North Carolina-based organizations with a mission to end racism and Islamophobia. Our goal is to build a movement that challenges all forms of oppression. We work with folks and organizations from every background to uplift all marginalized voices. Since we launched this network in early 2015, we have organized discussions and actions throughout North Carolina to defeat Islamophobia. Our partners include: Muslims for Social Justice
Jewish Voice for Peace - Triangle NC
Black Workers for Justice
AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East)
NC Justice Center
Methodist Federation for Social Action - NC Conference Chapter
Peace Committee of Chapel Hill Friends Meeting
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Balance and Accuracy in Journalism
Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist
The Orange County Peace Coalition
The Salam Shalom Committee of the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill
Quaker House (Fayetteville)
MAPAC (Muslims American Public Affairs Council)
Stop Torture Now. Check us on our website at: http://merinc.org

Islamophobia is bigotry and oppression (individual or institutional) against Islam, Muslims and people perceived as Muslims. The Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI) is a network of North Carolina-based organizations with a mission to end racism and Islamophobia. Our goal is to build a movement that challenges all forms of oppression. We work with folks and organizations from every background to uplift all marginalized voices. Since we launched this network in early 2015, we have organized discussions and actions throughout North Carolina to defeat Islamophobia. Our partners include: Muslims for Social Justice
Jewish Voice for Peace - Triangle NC
Black Workers for Justice
AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East)
NC Justice Center
Methodist Federation for Social Action - NC Conference Chapter
Peace Committee of Chapel Hill Friends Meeting
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Balance and Accuracy in Journalism
Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist
The Orange County Peace Coalition
The Salam Shalom Committee of the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill
Quaker House (Fayetteville)
MAPAC (Muslims American Public Affairs Council)
Stop Torture Now. Check us on our website at: http://merinc.org

Conference Explores Racism and White Privilege

Methodist Social Action Conference on Racism and White Privilege

We are witnessing a heightened awareness of racism in the recent years, especially with the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The nation is also witnessing a dramatic rise in bigotry against Muslims. Methodist Federation for Social Action – North Carolina Conference Chapter (MFSA-NCC) organized a conference titled “Dare to Hear: An Honest Conversation about Race and the End to White Privilege” in order to confront the issues of racism and Islamophobia. This conference took place on April 9, 2016, at Duke United Memorial Methodist Church in Durham. This conference was part of a conference series in the memory of the late Rev. Jack Crum who dedicated his life to the cause of social justice.

This conference featured speeches and workshops on the topic of racism, white privilege and Islamophobia. This conference explored the themes of challenging white privilege, reparations versus reconciliation, and Islamophobia as a form of racialized oppression. Some of the speakers included Rev. Chris Brady (Pastor at Wilson Temple United Methodist Church), Professor Jennifer Harvey (Professor of Religion Studies at Drake University), Rev. Leonard Fairley (Lead Pastor at St. Francis UMC in Cary) and Manzoor Cheema (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia).

About MFSA-NCC:

The North Carolina Conference chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action has been around since the 1980s. We worker such initiatives as open pulpits i.e. churches should open to receive a pastor regardless of race or gender as long as they have the graces to that congregation and issues of peace and social justice.

In 2008 we came up with the idea of hosting a conference that promote prophetic ministry in the conference and we named in honor of Reverend Jack Crum who fought against segregation in spite of the cost. The first Jack Crum Conference on Prophetic Ministry was held at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. Topics have included school diversity, child poverty, voting rights, and Amendment One.

Also we work closely with Reconciling United Methodists and Friends NC to promote full inclusion of LGBT persons and the life and ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Source:
http://mfsancc.org/about-us-2/

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National Lawyers Guild Conference Hosts Talk on Islamophobia

Islamophobia talk hosted by NLG Southern Regional Conference

National Lawyers Guild Southern Regional Conference hosted a panel titled “Combating the New Wave of Islamophobia and Xenophobia in the South” on March 19, 2016. This conference was organized at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Panelists included Azadeh Shahsahahani (legal and advocacy director of Project South), Dani Moore (NC Justice Center), Manzoor Cheema (MERI and Muslims for Social Justice), Zaid Kuseybi (Greensboro, NC, based activist). The panel was moderated by Ajamu Dillahunt, founding member of Black Workers for Justice. This panel explored Islamophobia and anti-immigrant assaults, connection between Islamophobia and anti-Black racism, and how to build a movement against Islamophobia and other forms of oppression.

About National Lawyers Guild:
“Our aim is to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, LGBTQ people, farmers, people with disabilities and people of color, upon whom the welfare of the entire nation depends; who seek actively to eliminate racism; who work to maintain and protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them; and who look upon the law as an instrument for the protection of the people, rather than for their repression.”

Learn more at:
https://www.nlg.org/about

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Islamophobia Talk Hosted by Durham People’s Alliance

Durham People’s Alliance Hosts a talk on Islamophobia

A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was organized by Durham-based People’s Alliance on March 10, 2016. Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) spoke at the event. This event explored roots of Islamophobia, how Islamophobia is connected to racism and other forms of oppressions, and how allies can build a movement against this oppressions.

Learn more about Durham People’s Alliance:
What we want our community to be like:
A community can be more than a place where people live. It can be a place where people live well. We are committed to a community where all basic needs are met and each individual has the opportunity for a life of accomplishment, dignity and pride.
We envision our community, from local to global, as one which follows these principles:
Community Guarantee of Basic Needs
Our economy will provide full employment in safe workplace. In our community there will be affordable housing, health care, public transportation, quality childcare and education for our children, nutritious food available at reasonable prices, and recreational and cultural opportunities open to all. The cost of providing for basic needs will be distributed fairly within the community.
Celebration of Diversity
Our community will be a place where the perspectives of diverse groups such as different races, economic classes, genders, religious perspectives, sexual orientation, ages, and abilities, are respected. There will be an atmosphere of tolerance, good humor, and recognition of diverse cultural values.
Stewardship
Our economy will encourage local self-sufficiency through the use of renewable resources of both energy and goods. We will maintain clean air, water and a variety of natural environments.
Local Decision-Making
Citizens will participate in democratic decision-making within our neighborhoods and community. People affected by decisions will play a major role in those decisions.
Source: http://www.durhampa.org/vision_statement

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Islamophobia Talk at Fairmont United Methodist Church

Fairmont United Methodist Church Hosts  Talk on Islamophobia

A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was hosted by Raleigh-based Fairmont United Methodist Church on February 29, 2016. This talk was hosted by Social Justice Committee of Fairmont United Methodist Church. Manzoor Cheema, founding member of Muslims for Social Justice and Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, spoke at the event. This talk explored roots of Islamophobia, its connection to racism and other forms of oppression and how to defeat this oppression. The talk was followed by a lively Q&A session.

About Fairmont United Methodist Church:
The name “Fairmont” was selected because the North Carolina State Fair was located in this neighborhood, 1873-1922. The fair’s second location, it was well away from town – just like State College!
The church was established because of students, who continue to be integral to our life. The Raleigh Wesley Foundation began in 1942, and is among the state’s longest standing campus ministries.
The church was established because of students, who continue to be integral to our life. The Raleigh Wesley Foundation began in 1942, and is among the state’s longest standing campus ministries.
Social Justice Work:
Our social justice team grew out of our self-study during 2007, our 70th anniversary year. We have worked together in three key areas:  mental health reform, public education in Wake  County, and are just beginning a more concerted effort at befriending the environment.
Source: http://www.fairmontumc.org/

BAJ Organizes Talk on Islamophobia

BAJ Organizes a Talk Titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia”

Chapel Hill based BAJ (Balance & Accuracy in Journalism) organized a talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” on February 10, 2016. This talk was hosted by the Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU and sponsored by Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist . This talk was given by Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia). This talk explored roots of Islamophobia, its connection to racism and other forms of oppression, and how to build a movement to end this oppression.

BAJ is a twenty-five year old organization with a dedication to reform media. It is headed by veteran social justice and human rights activist Jerry Markatos.

More information about BAJ and Jerry Markatos:
“Markatos, a native of Wilmington, N.C., has served for many years on the boards of the Carolina Interfaith Taskforce on Central America and the Southeast chapter of Witness for Peace and as a former board member of the N.C. Editorial Forum. He has arranged travel to Fort Benning, Ga., for the annual protest against the School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. He hosts and organizes fundraising events each year for Pastors for Peace “to help them carry much-needed medical, educational and construction supplies to Cuba.”

In 1991 Markatos co-founded Balance and Accuracy in Journalism, a co-sponsor of many programs that have focused on human-rights abuses in the Middle East and in Latin America. He continues to chair BAJ.

“Jerry grasps the deepest connections and contradictions inherent in governmental policies and practices,” said Tana Hartman of Chapel Hill. “And he sees the enormous obstacles to turning the juggernaut around before it destroys us all. But so do many others.

“What makes Jerry absolutely unique in my experience,” Hartman continued, “is that, despite his tremendous knowledge and utter abhorrence of the inequities and injustices that continue unabated around the globe, he remains one of the most genuinely positive, humble, good-natured and compassionate individuals I have ever met.””

Source: http://bluenc.com/content/jerry-markatos

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