Bloomfield–April 19–ISPU has set its sights on apparently the two most important social problems in the Muslim community, namely marriage and child-rearing. Recently they held a series of informational meetings focusing on marriage–now they have turned their spotlight on child-rearing and this was the focus of their presentation Saturday evening at the Bloomfield Unity Center.
The keynote speech was by Edina Lekovic, Director of Policy & Programming at the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The theme of her speech was that she herself had come towards sincerely practicing Islam from a fairly secular place.
Some of the young people whose deeds and speech are shocking, she pointed out, may only be experimenting–they may come back to more proper behavior later in life.
She spoke well and long, but some of the issues she mentioned included that the Muslim community is a full 10 years younger than the average age of any other religious group, that the religiousness of the community is a huge benefit on many fronts, leading to more engagement in civic affairs, leading to less anger and stress; also, she argued that surveys have shown the Muslim community is less politically engaged than any other religious community–surprising in the light of the many political developments of the Muslim community in the past 10 years.
She argued that the rise of social media has vastly expanded the ability of Muslims who are not in leadership positions at mosques and other institutions (which leaders were traditionally able to limit the speech of those less prominent) giving them the ability to reach out and successfully intellectually engage their fellows from the non-Muslim community. This she argued had led to vast differences in the perception of Muslims by non-Muslims.
She also emphasized a Qur`anic verse (Tawba:41) that had been a touchstone for her in her efforts to support the community: â€œGo forth and strive and struggle, whether you are equipped lightly or heavily.â€
The event concluded with a successful fundraiser which garnered nearly $60,000 in pledges and direct contributions.