National Leadership Conference

October 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ahmad Al-Hilali

8477854DEARBORN– From September 30th to October 2nd, the National Leadership Conference took place in Dearborn as people from over 15 states came for this prestigious event. The conference was sponsored by the Arab American Institute and ACCESS. The main topic of discussion at the conference was the 2012 election, and how the election is going to affect Arab Immigrants, and Arab Americans Nationally. And there were workshops about many topics ranging from using social websites to Muslim’s advantage, to Islamophobia in America.  The speakers for the Islamophobia workshop were Wajahat Ali, and Matt Duss. “Mosques are considered to be Trojan Horses that house radical Islamists and terrorists,” says Wajahat Ali. “That is why there is such a tremendous amount of uproar about the Islamic Center scheduled to be built a few blocks away from the Ground Zero site. It is because of the Islamophobes. Examples include Zuhdi Jasser, Waleed Faris, Bridget Gabriel, Nonie Darwish, and Wafa Sultan and so forth,” There was also a session politically about the election, and why it is important for Arabs to vote. “You can control the elections because it is just like shopping,” one of the primary speakers, Mark Brewer, said on Sunday said” You look at the price, and no one forces you to buy it because you are the only one who knows your own budget. YOU choose.”  

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Yalla Change Event

October 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

AAI and NNAAC coordinate leadership conference in Dearborn

By Adil James, TMO

PA010135Dearborn–October 1–The aftermath of 9/11 has been a trial for Arabs and for Muslims, but Arabs and Muslims have responded by stepping vigorously into the public arena and a reflection of that trend is this weekend’s “Yalla Change” leadership conference in Dearborn.

The event was co-sponsored by the Arab American Institute and the National Network for Arab American Communities and was attended by about 200 guests and speakers.  The event was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn.  Those in attendance appeared to be mostly professionals who had experience working as leaders in the Muslim and especially Arab communities, and it seemed as though the focus of the leadership conference was in building the capacity of the Arab community for involvement in the arena of public service.

Discussions that contributed to this capacity were a discussion by the “Center for Arab American Philanthropy,” “Maximizing Earned-Income Endeavors,” “Tapping Employee and Volunteer Motivation to Minimize Burnout,” “Telling Your Financial Story to Funders,” and “Innovative Practices for Nonprofits,” among others.  Each of these sessions was a full multi-hour discussion designed to increase the effectiveness of Arab organizations–the majority of the seminars at the event focused on this area.

A few of the sessions focused on broader issues, namely the red herring issue of anti-Shariah legislation and a presentation by Wajahat Ali on the coterie of anti-Islam zealots such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who appeared recently on the national scene but who have garnered disproportionate influence in the wake of September 11th and have, amazingly, by the strength of only a few shrill voices, polarized the American climate in relation to Islam to attempt to deny Muslims even the peaceful enjoyment of good relations with their neighbors.

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