Newspaper, Islamic Group In Georgia, Portray Criticism of Islam as ‘Attacks’

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The Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta, (ISB) Georgia says it is working with young Muslim students to handle “attacks” against them or Islam, presumably by Americans, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The “attacks” cited by the newspaper include criticism and taunts against people who publicly associates themselves with Islam, but no physical attacks.

“We wanted to give [students] tools to handle these situations in a positive manner so that it becomes a sharing of information and not a confrontation,” Asif Saberi, an ISB board member said. “We don’t want kids to react in the wrong way.”

The ISB Atlanta has hosted two workshops to discuss issues facing Muslim students since the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

The workshops provided various presentations and breakout sessions for Muslim parents and students, including role-playing exercises of possible responses to situations Muslim students may encounter.

Saberi said the ISB is an educational organization that prepares individuals to speak about Islam throughout Atlanta, including in churches and other faith group meeting places.

Some of the presentations offered by ISB Atlanta include “American Muslims: Beliefs and Practices,” which provides an overview of “common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims,” and is a recommended presentation for “youth groups, Sunday study groups, Confirmation classes, women’s groups, civic groups.”

ISB Atlanta states its workshop on the “Roots and History of the American Muslims” is “a fascinating account of the rich and diverse lives and legacies of America’s earliest Muslims, including enslaved Africans, early converts to Islam, and Muslim immigrants.” The presentation is recommended during “Black History Month.”

Another ISB presentation is titled, “What the World Would Be Like Without Muslims,” and offers a review of “the many contributions of Muslims and their impact in the world we live in today.”

ISB invites women’s studies groups and classes to hear its presentation on “Muslim Women: Past, Present and Future,” in which it examines “the role of women in Islam and important Muslim women in history and the modern world.”

In a presentation titled “The Quran Explained,” ISB Atlanta offers an introduction to the Quran, including a “suggested approach to verses, which are considered controversial, such as ones pertaining to warfare.”

Other ISB Atlanta presentations include “Muhammad: Prophet of Islam,” “Ramadan Demystified,” “Muslim Holidays,” and “Hajj.”

On December 4, ISB Atlanta released a joint statement about the recent terrorist attacks with Interfaith Community Initiatives, the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta, Neshama Interfaith Center, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, the Anti-Defamation League of Atlanta, and Compassionate Atlanta.

A portion of the statement is as follows:

When we hear about so many mass shootings it brings great fear and our tendency is to immediately place blame. The rush to identify the enemy can help us feel momentarily in control of these unpredictable and horrific events. But the current trend of blaming immigrant populations will only breed more hatred and violence.

As leaders of Atlanta’s interfaith community we offer our prayers to all the people affected by yesterday’s horrific shootings in San Bernardino, California and in Savannah, Georgia. We grieve with the families and loved ones of those who perished and we offer the hope for complete recovery of the injured.

In times like these, we seek healing and strength through prayer. But our prayers must lead us to action. As a country steeped in diverse faith traditions, all of which believe in the sanctity of human life, we must address the alarming number of mass shootings and the seemingly endless stories of gun violence. We must work harder to create a society that deplores violence and seeks peaceful ways to solve conflicts.


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