Generation Islam Forum established for American Born Muslims
generation Islam will be a widespread network of North American born Muslims, both second generation and converts, which will give that silent majority a voice in the continued evolution of Muslim society in North America, creating institutions which are genuinely inclusive and fostering an environment which is both authentically Muslim and comfortably North American.
To ascertain the needs of North American born or raised Muslims through open dialog and discussion
To give a platform for North American Muslims to connect, support one another, voice their concerns and take collective action in order to address these matters
To foster an environment where women are encouraged to take a spiritually equal and significant role in our masjids and communities and to assure prayer space for women that is conducive to Islam
To promote an environment that draws our youth into Islam through fellowship to stem the tide of alienation
To support critical Islamic study and scholarship for our homegrowns in order to ensure our future leaders are well equipped for the challenges we face as a community in North America
To bridge the gap between the generations through intercultural and intergenerational dialogue
To provide a springboard for identifying and defining the North American born or raised Muslim and to understand their challenges and needs
To transform the negative image that Muslims have in North American society by encouraging random acts of kindness and by creating initiatives that benefit the entire North American society
To provide guidance to receptive masjids on how to implement ideas and projects which address the needs of North Americans
To define the Model Masjid by understanding the context in which we live and through a critical study of history
To align ourselves with organizations which support our mission and objectives
To ultimately ensure the growth of widespread moderate centers/masjids for North American born or raised Muslims
This movement was formed in September 2006 by a chance meeting between co-founders Dr. Jeffrey Lang and Rabia Saeed. After reading Dr. Lang’s book, Losing My Religion- which outlines clearly what needs to be done in order to keep our next generations from “losing their religion”- Rabia approached Jeff about her own hopes and desires for her children and all generations to come. With hope and prayers, generation Islam was born.
In October 2006, a Yahoo Group was formed, inviting potential members to be part of the solution. Three months and 100 members later, generation Islam formed a board of directors, added an additional advisor, Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, and created a forum to help navigate open dialog to hear the concerns of Muslims born and raised in North America.
In February 2007, generation Islam actualized its goal of launching this website, and became an official non-profit corporation. It is only through the continuous efforts of our humble advisors, energetic board, dynamic members and God’s will that we reach all of our future goals not only for the benefit of this generation, but for future generations to come.
The mission of generation Islam is to support the needs of Muslims born or raised in North America. We will fulfill this mission by providing a network of open dialogue, communication and support in order to ascertain and address their specific needs at the local, regional and national levels.
If you are an American born Muslim visit the Generation Islam site at http://www.generationislam.com/index.php and sign up for the forum.
generation Islam is advised by cofounder Dr. Jeffrey Lang, author of “Losing My Religion”, and the highly respected Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl. Dr. Abou El Fadl writes extensively on universal themes of humanity, morality, human rights, justice, and mercy. Board member, Amy Hachem enthusiastically says that, “generation Islam is very blessed to have two great Advisors on board right from the start. While our Advisors are there for general guidance, ultimately, it is the generation Islam membership who shape and runs the organization.” She adds, “We are always looking for dynamic, energetic, and committed individuals to join in to the generation Islam movement and to jumpstart conversations on our forums, and work on various projects and events.”
The organization is rooted in it clear vision and values. The vision of generation Islam is to foster supportive and inclusive communities where all generations of Muslims interact in positive and mutually beneficial ways. The culture of generation Islam is to support and exemplify its values, not only as an organization, but for all its members. Some of these values are cooperation, perseverance, honesty, compassion, moderation and the value for this month, diversity.
Other goals for 2007 are: to connect with others who align with its mission, to hold a genI youth breakout session in the tri-state area, to hold Ramadan/Iftar gatherings sponsored at local levels, to send out an open letter to North American Masjids, a letter that will help to identify which Masjids will be receptive to the generation Islam movement, and the dollar for our scholar initiative.
The dollar for our scholar initiative is to support genI’s 2007 goal of encouraging Islamic study by North American born or raised Muslims and converts. The initiative is two-fold: the first part is to raise $1000 through fundraisers and donations to pay the (reduced) tuition costs. The second part of the initiative involves selecting ten generation Islam members to attend online classes in the Fall of 2007.
Board member Ray Lacina explains further, “This is just the first step in what genI hopes will be an ongoing program to provide sound education in Islam to North American born Muslims. In addition to offering foundational courses to new Muslims and second generation Muslims who are rediscovering their faith, the initiative will eventually help serious seekers of knowledge to pursue advanced degrees in Islamic studies. These homegrown scholars will play an essential role in helping us find ways to practice our faith in a way that is both authentic and appropriate to the North American environment.”
As generation Islam develops and grows, they hope to tackle many of the issues that second generation North Americans and converts face. Such as, women’s place in the masjid, youth programs, exploring American Muslim identity, convert support systems and community involvement. The thing that sets generation Islam apart from some of the other organizations out there already is that it is run for and by Second Generation North American Muslims and Converts to Islam living in North America. “First gens” (non North American born Muslims) are encouraged to participate in building generational bridges and in helping to ensure strong, vital Islamic communities for themselves, the future of their children and for future generations to come.