Recap of “I’m Muslim, Now What?” First Meeting and General Reflections

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Salaams everyone! As I had mentioned in my last post, I decided to embark on a new adventure through the initiation of a safe space for young Muslims like myself to talk about a variety of seemingly taboo topics. Prior to the meeting and afterward I felt a mixture of emotions ranging from excitement to fear of chastisement, which I feel comes with being out of step (hardcore reference intended) with any mainstream culture. Thankfully the response thus far have been overwhelmingly positive and reinforce the need for such conversations and spaces for individuals. It is my hope that in the long-term participants will assume a sense of ownership and investment in the group, in turn leading to a more vibrant community that tackles issues relevant to those living presently and not pretending like do not exist in the first place. Will there be instances of tension and near collapse? Umm…yes, but it is up to those who get involved to manage these occurrences and remember the potential for good to come out of this initiative, notably enabling those whose voices usually get suppressed to rise up and push back against the hydra that is bigotry. 

IMNW Meeting Minutes, 1.24.13

  1. Opening and Welcomes
    1. Participants introduced themselves and offered a check-in about why they decided to come to the group, as well as what has been on their minds lately
  2. Discussion of Possible Themes for Group
    1. Interfaith marriages
    2. Drinking
    3. Ethnic segregation
    4. Liberal, progressive Islam
    5. Gender segregation
    6. LBGTQ issues
    7. Threats of excommunication
    8. Sexism
    9. Racism: the preferential treatment of certain racial groups, e.g. brown, white
    10. Ableism
    11. Covering/devieling
    12. Varieties of marriages and partnerships
    13. Sexual behavior
    14. Sexual violence
    15. Dating
    16. Sexual orientation
  3. Defining the Purpose of the Group
    1. A safe space meant to provide young Muslims with the opportunity to share personal stories they may otherwise not out of fear of chastisement , harassment, or judgment by other Muslims
    2. Allow individuals to find kindred spirits
    3. Explore opportunities for social activism within the Muslim community and elsewhere
  4. Path Going Forward
    1. The group discussed the need for a code of conduct to be defined if this group is to be a safe space, which would include
      1. Suspension of judgment
      2. Confidentiality and non-attribution when talking about group members’ sharing elsewhere
      3. Participants encouraged to share from personal experiences, not cite dogma
    2. Group will be meeting every other Thursday evening at 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM with the possibility of extending the time if the group wishes
      1. The location for February 7th will be at Andrew’s house at 750 Columbia Rd, NW, Washington, DC 20001
        1. Thereafter the group will discuss who would be willing to host long-term
    3. Meetings’ structure will follow this format but the group will seek to keep it otherwise free-flowing
      1. Introduction/Check-Ins
      2. Discussion of Topic Selected by Group
      3.  Closing: group will decide whether to continue with this topic or select a new one
    4. Next meeting’s topic will be “Male Entitlement in the Muslim Community”
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