Moderate Muslim Group Holds Training Sessions in Middle East

In 1991 Zainab al Suwaij escaped Iraq after participating in the tragic rebellion against Ba’athist rule. Today she leads the American Islamic Congress and is building a coalition around the agenda of unequivocal denunciation of terrorism, extremism, and hate speech.

A letter from Zainab al Suwaij and the American Islamic Congress:

Dear Friend:

I write to you to update you on some of the exciting programs the American Islamic Congress has implemented in recent months.

I just returned from a month-long trip to the Middle East, where we conducted three training conferences for young reformers in:

Amman, Jordan, where we brought together 25 young leaders from eight countries for in-depth training in techniques of non-violent activism;

Karbala, Iraq, where despite constant danger we taught 27 young Iraqis how to promote non-violent methods of conflict resolution and national reconciliation;

Ifrane, Morocco , where we joined with the student Human Rights Club of Al-Akhawayn University to host 45 young Middle Eastern leaders from 12 countries to lay the foundations for a region-wide civil rights movement.

While I enjoyed my trip, my experiences reminded me of the challenges before us. The day I arrived in Morocco from Iraq, for example, multiple suicide bombings rocked the country. I was instructing young activists on implementing nonviolent reform at one moment, only to find myself comforting Moroccans devastated by the tragic actions of radical fundamentalists. The attacks (repeated the next day in Algiers and four days later in Casablanca) provided a stark example of the crises – and opportunities – that stand before us. Radicals seek to dominate the Muslim community. Basic human rights are denied by unelected rulers. And terrorists threaten the safety of all of us, regardless of our religious beliefs.

But we will not be silent in the face of these challenges.

Entering our sixth year, the American Islamic Congress has been at the forefront in advancing a platform of tolerance and understanding by creating grassroots networks for reform in the Muslim world and by promoting the moderate Muslim voice to the American public. We rely on the support of kind people of all backgrounds who are committed to promoting peace and progress – and to helping us move forward a positive agenda for the Muslim community. Here are a few ways you can help us:

Join Arab and Muslim Voices for Darfur: Sunday, April 29, is the Global Day for Darfur. AIC, along with organizations around the world, will be protesting the on-going genocide in Darfur. In the Middle East, members of our network will be holding vigils in six countries to protest the silence of Arab governments. Join in solidarity with these reformers by lighting a candle to demand action.
Call for the universal right to Freedom of Speech on Friday, April 27, by protesting the jailing of 22 year-old Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman, recently sentenced to four years in jail for writing on his blog. Kareem attended one of our training workshops, and we ask you to join the Free Kareem campaign.
Support our growing movement of Muslim moderates trying to take back our faith from radical Islamists. Every gift helps protect freedom in the US and around the world.
We face an uphill struggle. But with your support, we will continue to make progress, one life at a time.

Ma’asalaama (“in peace”),

Zainab Al-Suwaij
Executive Director

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